Linux Expands Native M1 Mac Support With New 5.15 Kernel

Andrew Heinzman

Review Geek

Tux the Linux mascot with the M1 chip.

Apple, Linux

Bringing Apple Silicon support to Linux is a tricky task. But the new Linux 5.15 kernel greatly expands usability on M1 systems thanks to driver optimizations and a new driver developed in the open-source Asahi Linux project.

Just to be clear, we’re talking about native support. Linux runs fine on M1 if you use a virtual machine, but if you want to unlock the full power of M1 and turn your Mac into a Linux monster, you need to boot directly into Linux.

Technically speaking, Linux gained Apple Silicon support with the 15.3 Kernel release, but it’s still a major work in progress (Apple locks down a lot of its systems, and the company’s graphics drivers are confusing). Key features like accelerated graphics still aren’t supported by Linux on M1.

Today’s Linux 5.15 release should add support for Apple Silicon USB and PCI interfaces, greatly expanding the usability of Linux on M1 Macs. It should also get the display driver working—a small but significant milestone for running Linux distros natively on Apple’s latest computers.

If you’re a Linux fan itching to turn a powerful M1 Max MacBook Pro into a crazy open-source machine, you should probably wait. Running Linux natively on Apple Silicon isn’t an enjoyable experience yet. That said, today’s update is a sign of what’s to come. We expect Linux to support GPU acceleration and other key Apple Silicon features in an upcoming release.

Source: Linux (1, 2) via DebugPoint

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