So, when the first M1 Macs were released last year they were quickly recognised as some seriously impressive computers, with performance that blew rivals clean out of the water. Even some leading Linux people lamented that they’d be tempted to try an M1 Mac… but of course, Apple hasn’t bothered to make it easy for any other operating system to run on their new product line, and Linux’ll have to be ported from scratch. And as far as I know, Linux doesn’t even run without compromise on 2016-19 Macs yet.
So it was intriguing to come across a project aiming to achieve exactly this; Asahi Linux aims to develop a Linux distro (a variant of Arch) that will run on the M1 Macs, and run well. To quote their “About” page:
Our goal is not just to make Linux run on these machines but to polish it to the point where it can be used as a daily OS.
This might seem like an unlikely dream, but various Linux blogs have actually held out some optimism for it coming to pass, because the person spearheading the project is someone who might just have the technical chops to do it: Hector Martin has previously ported Linux to the PlayStation 4. There is also a Patreon page to make sure it’s financially viable for him to put in the work. From there I found the project’s January/February progress report (actually published less than a week ago)… to an interested layperson it’s not all comprehensible but that which is, is interesting enough 😅
I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on the project because a powerful computer that dual-boots macOS and Linux is, I think, my dream device. At this point I’ve racked up years of experience with both Linux and Windows, and one year with macOS. Linux is what we mostly used on our family computers growing up, and I guess it’s what feels most natural and intuitive to me. I used Windows mostly during the Windows 7 and 8 eras, partly to have MS Office access during VCE and uni and mostly to play The Sims 2. But each successive version annoyed me more and more and when I no longer really needed any Windows-only software I switched back. macOS I came to relatively recently, tempted by the Apple app ecosystem, and mostly I find it a lot like Linux with some improvements (iPhone integration, UI polish) and downsides (why does it go to such lengths to not store and display my files straightforwardly).
I really like both Linux (which I run on my desktop) and macOS (which powers my laptop), and I’m not going to make any new computer purchases any time soon. But one day in the future when I do, I think it would be much more convenient to dual boot and switch on the fly depending on what I want to do. Ultimately that either means Hackintosh or someone successfully porting Linux to Macintosh machines, and given the open-source nature of Linux honestly my bets’d be on the latter being a more stable long-term solution. If neither occurs, I’ll probably have to just settle in one camp or the other, so I’m definitely wishing this Asahi Linux project well.