Asahi Linux Released First Version of Apple GPU Driver (Alpha)

The Asahi Linux team released the first Apple GPU driver, and you can install it on your Apple M1 and M2 devices.

After two years of continuous reverse engineering work on Apple hardware, the Asahi Linux team released the first alpha version driver of the Apple GPU. The team (Alyssa R, Asahi Lina and team) promises that you can now use this driver via Asahi Linux in Apple M1 and M2 devices and experience a smooth desktop experience.

What’s supported in this alpha version?

As per the official announcement from Alyssa R, the current driver should work with modern GNOME, and KDE Plasma desktops with hardware cancellation enabled in Wayland. Furthermore, older games such as the popular Quake3 should also work smoothly with Wayland on Apple M-series devices.

The driver is currently conforming to the OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 versions. The team is currently working on the driver’s OpenGL (ES) 3 version, which would bring more advanced OpenGL features such as multiple render targets, multi-sampling, etc.

In addition to that, a huge set of work is underway for Vulcan, which is the more modern cross-platform API for graphics and 3D rendering. The code is being written with reusability in mind. That means the OpenGL codebase can be easily customized to work with modern Vulcan drivers with minimal; effort.

Timeline of OpenGL ES 3 and Vulcan support

There is no such timeline available at the moment. However, it would be soon since we have come a long way in just two years from the beginning of Asahi Linux.

As per the development, ever engineering, and bug-fixing velocity I am seeing in various social media from the team, I believe it should be soon unless we hit a roadblock related to Apple hardware’s specification.

Quake3 Running in Apple M1 with GNOME Wayland desktop with this alpha driver
Quake3 Running in Apple M1 with GNOME Wayland desktop with this alpha driver

How to get this driver?

If you have Apple M1 or M2 devices, first, you need to download and install Ashahi Linux on your Apple Mac.

After you install, open Konsole and run the following command to get this new drive.

sudo pacman -Syu
sudo pacman -S linux-asahi-edge mesa-asahi-edge
sudo update-grub

Wrapping Up

The progress of this project is commendable, considering how complex to ever engineer apple hardware. That, too, makes it work in a driver. The entire team of Ashai Linux is knowledgeable in these niche areas. This release is a tiny step for a greater future of the Linux desktop in Apple Macs.

Once Ashahi Linux and drivers are stable, they may merge upstream to the mainline Kernel. And once that is done, you can install any Linux distro on Apple devices.

A bright future awaits. If you want to follow this project or donate, visit the official website.

Cheers.

Via announcements. Image credit: Asahi Linux team


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