Fedora Linux on M-powered Macs coming soon

Fedora Linux on M-powered Macs coming soon

Running Fedora Asahi Remix on Apple’s ARM-Based Computers: A Milestone for Linux

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A few months ago, the achievement of running Linux on Apple’s M1 and M2-powered Macs was hailed as a breakthrough. It required a significant amount of effort, but the collaboration between Asahi Linux developers and the Fedora Linux team has now culminated in the introduction of Fedora Asahi Remix – a mix of Fedora and Asahi Linux specifically designed for Apple’s ARM-based computers.

The project began in 2021 and progressed in tandem with the release of Arch ARM in 2022. Founder and project lead for Asahi Linux, Hector Martin, expressed the overarching intention of bringing full Linux support to Apple Silicon machines across all distributions. The initial focus was on the kernel and bootloaders, essential components that could be shared between distros. But as they progressed and achieved a functional system, it became clear that there was much work left to be done in integrating with different distributions.

The team recognized that for users to have a seamless experience with Linux on their Apple Silicon machines, all distributions would need to incorporate the necessary work carried out by the Asahi Linux and Fedora teams. In order to initiate this collaboration, they created their own distro – the Asahi Arch Linux ARM remix. While this served as an important stepping stone, the team acknowledged the limitations of maintaining unofficial remixes for different distros.

However, their efforts were soon vindicated when Neal Gompa and the Fedora team approached them. The partnership not only promised to make Linux on modern Macs more accessible, but it also allowed the Asahi team to focus on their expertise, which involves reverse engineering hardware and developing bespoke drivers and software. Gompa revealed that Fedora Workstation, in both GNOME and KDE versions, would be available for M1 and M2 hardware. This essentially involved slight adaptations to the existing spins for compatibility with Apple Silicon hardware. The new Fedora family Linux would also include server and minimal installations, with the Fedora KDE variant serving as the flagship.

With Fedora Asahi Remix, users can expect an improved experience for Linux on Apple Silicon machines. Gompa highlighted the practicality of using a Mac Mini with this new operating system, stating, “You can buy a Mac Mini and run it keep it in your bedroom, and not hate your life.” Cavalca added, “If you’re just doing simple stuff like browsing and working on documents, it’s actually in a good working state. I use it as a daily driver.”

While Apple is not directly involved in this porting effort, there are still considerations to be made. Gompa emphasized the lack of firmware support for Linux audio speakers in Apple devices, which could potentially lead to damage if not controlled properly by the operating system. Repairing a device with blown speakers may prove to be a daunting task, given Apple’s limited support for unofficial modifications.

In terms of development, the Asahi and Fedora teams discovered that Apple follows a standard platform for successive generations of their hardware, making the adaptation of drivers and enablement work relatively straightforward. Martin assured that they are continuously improving and refining their work and aim to officially release Fedora Asahi Remix by the end of August 2023. This release will bring new features, enhanced machine support, and more.

Looking ahead, Martin declared, “The new Asahi Linux flagship distribution will be Fedora Asahi Remix!” This marks a significant milestone for Linux enthusiasts using Apple’s ARM-based computers and reinforces the commitment of both Asahi Linux and Fedora to delivering a high-quality Linux experience. With the continued collaboration between these talented communities, the future looks bright for running Linux on Apple Silicon machines.