Asahi Linux devs merge effort to run Linux on Apple M1 silicon into kernel

Slated for inclusion in version 5.13, due about three months from now


The Asahi Linux project, an effort to bring the Linux kernel to Apple’s M1 silicon, has merged its work and is on track to have it accepted in version 5.13 of the kernel.

A merge from kernel hacker Arnd Bergmann of Linux-on-Arm outfit Linaro and a kernel mailing list post from Asahi Linux backer Hector Martin delivered the news.

Martin also tweeted an alert, while also acknowledging that Linux overlord Linus Torvalds could banish the effort.

The mailing list post details considerable difficulties making the port work, among them the need for a new bootloader, working with custom USB commands Apple includes on its devices.

“Currently, the easiest way to get a serial console on these machines is to use a second M1 box and a simple USB C cable,” Martin writes.

The alternative is to “build a DIY interface using an Arduino, a FUSB302 chip or board, and a 1.2V UART-TTL adapter.”

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“In the coming weeks we will be designing an open hardware project to provide serial/debug connectivity to these machines (and, hopefully, also support other UART-over-Type C setups from other vendors).”

Martin says the port works.

“This has been tested on an Apple M1 Mac Mini booting to a framebuffer and serial console, with SMP and KASLR, with an arm64 defconfig (+ CONFIG_FB_SIMPLE for the fb),” he wrote.

Instructions on how to boot Linux on an M1 box can be found here.

The code has been merged for the next version 5.13 of the Linux kernel. Linus Torvalds this week issued rc6 of version 5.12, and each release usually runs to eight weekly release candidates and then a two-week merge window. If all goes well, Asahi Linux could therefore be a reality in about 12 weeks. ®

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