Asahi Linux Achieves Major Breathrough With Apple Silicon GPU Support

Apple Silicon Linux users can now run Quake3 with GPU acceleration. They can also watch development in real time on YouTube.

The developers of Asahi Linux have announced that the Linux distribution targeting Apple Silicon CPUs now natively supports graphics acceleration. This is a major breakthrough for the distro and Linux support on modern Apple hardware.

Asahi Linux Brings 3D Acceleration to Apple Silicon

Asahi Linux announced the support for 3D acceleration for Apple Silicon in an official blog post signed by developers Alyssa Rosenzweig and Asahi Lina, a VTuber who has attracted a following for livestreaming Asahi Linux development on YouTube.

“We’ve been working hard over the past two years to bring this new driver to everyone,” the blog post said, “and we’re really proud to finally be here. This is still an alpha driver, but it’s already good enough to run a smooth desktop experience and some games.”

While porting Linux to different architectures is routine, Asahi Lina is one of the first to do it with an audience, reaching over 12,000 viewers on YouTube with her live streams.

What Can Asahi Linux Run With Acceleration?

While Apple Silicon graphics acceleration doesn’t work with some newer libraries, Asahi Linux can run some games like Quake 3 and Neverball. It can also take advantage of the acceleration features that Linux desktop environments use to look smoother and enable eye candy like transparency to work.

Asahi Linux currently supports OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 acceleration on Apple Silicon. The developers are working on adding support for later versions of OpenGL as well as Vulkan. This will open up newer software for acceleration on the distro, including newer games.

What Does This Mean for Asahi Linux?

Asahi Linux homepage

The pace of the development of Asahi Linux shows how flexible Linux is.

The developers cited Linux’s open-source nature for making it easy to port to a new architecture. “Thanks to the power of free and open source software, we stand on the shoulders of FOSS giants,” the blog post said.

While most Mac users, even developers, will likely be content to run macOS, Asahi Linux will give users an alternative to Apple’s OS. The developers’ work will also benefit other distributions in the future that create Apple Silicon ports.

Linux Development Speeds On With Asahi

Asahi Linux continues with its rapid pace. While many PC Linux users can dual-boot between Windows and Linux, the ability to do the same thing on the Mac is less well-known. It’s possible to dual-boot macOS and Linux on an older Mac with the right know-how.

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