The latest Linux 6.2 kernel release is the first version to ship with mainline support for devices powered by some of Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chips.
“Mainline” is the important qualifier here as it’s been possible to run custom Linux kernel builds on Apple silicon for a while, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Asahi Linux project.
Linux Apple silicon support is very much a work in progress. Not all devices using M-series chips are supported by Linux 6.2, and a clutch of core features lack anything but rudimentary support or in some cases, like speakers & touchpads, no support at all.
Even so this is significant milestone for Linux on Apple silicon.
That Linux is able to run at all on Apple’s new-fangled hardware is testament to the kernel’s adaptability and to the ingenuity and talent of Linux developers and the Asahi Linux project.
After all, Apple doesn’t directly support, document, or provide drivers to let alternative operating system run on its hardware. All of this effort is after-the-fact.
But with Linux 6.2 carrying support directly you don’t (technically) need to use Asahi Linux to run Linux on M1 computers. In theory, any Linux distribution that uses the Linux 6.2 kernel can, in theory, boot up and run.
However the reality isn’t quite so finessed and, for the moment, using Asahi Linux builds remains the only real way to get a practical, usable Linux experience on Applie Silicon – but those improvements are being upstreamed to benefit all Linux distros in time.
With growing support from app makers for Linux on ARM in general, and hints that some major Linux distributions are prepping Apple Silicon builds, the viability of Linux on these devices is only set to get better over the coming year.