Asahi Linux team issues promising update on efforts to conquer Apple Silicon

Good progress for penguinistas keen on Macs

The Asahi Linux team has followed up the release of Fedora Asahi Remix with a post detailing the progress of the project to bring Linux to Apple silicon.

First up is HDMI support and the chore of supporting Apple's M1 and M2 chips, including the Pro, Max, and Ultra variants. Apple tends to reuse most of the hardware logic between SoCs, yet the M2-series desktop devices took a while to display output. Getting display support running for the M2 Pro and Max laptops did not present too much of a problem but the desktop hardware, such as the M2 Mac Mini and Mac Studio, was more of a challenge.

The developers explained: "Unlike M1, HDMI output on M2+s is no longer managed by the DCP [Display Controller Processor] firmware, specifically DCP no longer handles the complete eDP -> DP2HDMI setup."

Although this introduces some flexibility, for example, in routing DCP on the M2 Mac Mini to the USB-C / Thunderbolt ports, the developers admitted it also added "quite a bit of complexity."

The good news is that it all works and even deals with HDMI output - but not Type-C DisplayPort output, which remains upcoming. It should support all chips, including the original M1 when released.

The Asahi Linux crew has also shipped a conformant OpenGL ES 3.1 implementation for M1 and M2-family graphics hardware, and has a work-in-progress OpenGL 3.3 implementation, "which unlocks more OpenGL applications and games to work on Asahi Linux."

It OS will not, however, run popular gaming platform Steam. At least not right now. Plans are afoot to get the requirements merged upstream and shipped in a future version of Fedora Asahi.

Speaker support is present and correct, and work continued to improve Wi-Fi support on newer M2 and M3 machines. "Apple Macs ship with Broadcom Wi-Fi hardware but Broadcom doesn't have the closest relationship with the open source community (to put it mildly.)" Challenges aside, newer Wi-Fi firmware is supported, and some of the longstanding issues have also been dealt with, notably an increase in throughput when connected to higher-speed access points.

Bluetooth support on newer hardware has also been tweaked, and a fix added for time-outs that the team said "took embarrassingly long to figure out, but the fix was trivial." And the fix? Increase the timeout.

The Asahi team is proud of their work to date. Installing and running the latest release build on Apple Silicon (in the case of this writer, a Mac Mini) is impressively straightforward. The choice of desktop might not be to everyone's taste, yet the support on offer makes this a viable alternative to MacOS on Apple silicon. ®

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