Asahi Linux Alpha released enabling Linux installation on Apple M1 Macs

Since Apple announced the first Mac with the M1 chip, there has been talking and search for a way to run other operating systems on devices equipped with this chip, to take advantage of the great power of Apple's Silicon chips.

In November 2020, developer Hector Martin, a developer known for porting Linux to a variety of devices including the PlayStation 4, announced the opening of Patreon funding to help it port Linux to Apple Silicon chips to enable Linux to run natively on M1-powered Macs. The Linux community reacted positively to Martin Hector's initiative, and as a result, the developer created a project called Asahi Linux.

Asahi (旭りんご, asahi ringo) is the Japanese name for the McIntosh apple, the apple cultivar that gave the Mac its name.

Now, after more than a year of hard work, the Asahi Linux development team has announced the alpha version of the distribution, enabling enthusiastic users to run a full Linux operating system on their M1-powered Mac.

To install and use Asahi Linux, the distro requires a Mac with an M1, M1 Pro, or M1 Max chip (excluding Mac Studio) running macOS 12.3 or later (signed in as an administrator user), at least 53 GB of free disk space, and a working internet connection.

Of course, since the distro is in the alpha stage, it is not yet suitable for daily use, as some things are still unfinished and need more work to be completed. But, in general, the distro works well and is stable enough to be used for some basic tasks like browsing the web and editing documents.

Among the things that are working yet, and need more work to do are: DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, HDMI on the MacBooks, Bluetooth, GPU acceleration, Video codec acceleration, Neural Engine, CPU deep idle, Sleep mode, Camera, and Touch Bar.

Asahi Linux can be installed by opening a macOS terminal and running the following command: 


curl | sh  {codeBox}

 Enter your password, and then a series of steps will appear on the terminal, follow them carefully until you can install the Asahi Linux distribution on your Mac. The distro installer provides three options:

Asahi Linux Desktop:

A customized remix of Arch Linux ARM that comes with a full KDE Plasma desktop and all the basic packages to get you started with a desktop environment. It includes a graphical first-boot set-up wizard, so you won't have to dig around to change your settings or create your first user. No root password by default; use "sudo" to become root.

Asahi Linux Minimal (Arch Linux ARM):

A vanilla Arch Linux ARM environment, with only the minimal support packages to integrate with the boot process and hardware on Apple Silicon machines. 

Log in as root/root or alarm/alarm. Don't forget to change both passwords! SSH is disabled by default for security reasons, so you'll have to enable it manually.

UEFI environment only (m1n1 + U-Boot + ESP):

No distribution, just a minimal UEFI boot environment. With this, you can boot an OS installer from a USB drive and install whatever you want (as long as it supports these machines, of course).

Finally, and if you prefer to watch the installation steps before trying it, you can also watch the Nobel Tech video that shows the process of installing the Asahi Linux distribution on a MacBook Pro on the M1 Pro chip.

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