Native GPU Driver for Apple Silicon Is Nearly Here

Oct 05, 2022

Full-blown Linux on the Apple M1 and M2 chips is almost a reality.

The Asahi Linux Project has taken a giant leap toward getting full-blown graphical Linux running on Apple Silicon M1/M2 chips.

Although not ready for mainstream usage, thanks to a developer who goes by Asahi Lina, the project is getting very close to releasing a Rust-based GPU driver for Linux.

Asahi Lina only joined the project a couple of months ago and immediately began working on a prototype driver that would allow running GUI apps on Linux.

According to the Asahi Linux news from back in July 2022, "Asahi Lina joined our team and took on the challenge of reverse engineering the M1 GPU hardware interface and writing a driver for it." The announcement continues, "In this short time, she has already built a prototype driver good enough to run real graphics applications and benchmarks, building on top of the existing Mesa work."

Just a few short months later, Asahi Linux is now able to successfully run both Gnome and KDE apps as well as YouTube on Firefox. For those who want to see this in action, check out Asahi Lina's tweet which includes a mini stream where she shows off her work.

The one caveat to Lina's work is that it has, so far, only been tested on the M1 chips. 

Because she is writing this driver in Rust, chances are that we won't see a release until the 6.1 kernel is made available.

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