distribution for Apple M1 works, albeit in test mode

, this is only a test assembly, which is intended for testing the system by developers. The distribution kit is not yet suitable for “household” use. Well, about what the distribution kit is, what “started up” there and what doesn’t, you can find out under the cut.

Details about Asahi Linux

According to Hector Martin, who is involved in this project, the system is based on Arch Linux and is able to work with the distribution’s regular repositories. Desktop – KDE Plasma. As for the specific elements of the distribution, they are placed in a separate repository with open access. These elements include the kernel, bootloader, installer, environment settings.

What does the word “Asahi” mean? This is a brand of Japanese beer, but in general it means “morning sun” in Japanese. Thus, the project team emphasized primacy in terms of mastering the Mac platform. Representatives of the team said that they are extremely pleased with the release of the new version, even if it is an alpha. In particular, because the system can be installed on a “clean” Mac without jailbreak. In addition, the installed distribution does not affect the security of the system in any way, so FileVault will work as usual.

In order to test the distribution, the user will need a system with M1, M1 Pro or M1 Max. Mac Studio isn’t on this list, so you’ll have to work with what’s there. In addition, the Mac must be running macOS version 12.3 or later. A user with administrative rights must be logged in to install.

The system requirements are also known. So, the disk must have at least 53 GB of free space. 15 GB is enough for the distribution, but macOS needs about 38 GB for its own needs. A backup is needed just in case, so that nothing bad happens during the installation process.

Well, you will also need a reliable Internet connection, which is able to provide a distribution download of 700 MB. During the installation process, Time Machine, if this function is activated, will take “snapshots” of the system, so it’s better to clean up the file space later.

Now about the installation itself

The installation process is as user friendly as possible. Despite the fact that the distribution is positioned as a system for geeks and technical specialists, the installation is simple. Throughout the process, prompts appear to help you complete the current step and move on to the next. You can even use the GUI to resize the MacOS disk partition to install a new system. The installer does not affect the already installed system in any way. The only thing he is capable of in this regard is changing the volume of the partition, as already mentioned above.

After all the steps are completed, you need to reboot in 1TR (One True recoveryOS) mode. Then again you need to look at what the installer advises there and follow all the tips, it is very desirable – strictly. The installer will offer three options:

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What, everything works great?

Not at all, about 50/50. Here is a detailed list of those supported by the new distribution

modules and systems


  • WiFi
  • USB2 (Thunderbolt ports)
  • USB3 (Mac Mini Type A ports)
  • Screen (not GPU)
  • NVMe
  • Switch caps
  • power button
  • Embedded screen (framebuffer only)
  • Keyboard and touchpad
  • Turning the backlight on and off
  • Battery management and battery information
  • RTC
  • Ethernet (desktops)
  • SD card reader (M1 Pro/Max)
  • CPU – frequency control

M1 (no Pro/Max):

  • Jack for headphones. May be buggy.

Mac Mini only:

Not working yet, but coming soon:

  • USB3
  • Speakers
  • Display controller (brightness control, V-Sync, DPMS)

What does not work

Everything else, here is what can be distinguished from this large list:

  • display port
  • Thunderbolt
  • HDMI on Macbooks
  • Bluetooth
  • Hardware and software video acceleration
  • Neural Engine
  • CPU deep idle
  • Sleep mode
  • Camera
  • touch bar

In general, you should not expect much from the distribution yet, but if the author manages to finish it, then we will get a great option for Mac with M1.

Once again, it is worth emphasizing that the installation of Asahi Linux does not affect the main system in any way, everything works in dual mode. At any time, you can download macOS and work in a familiar environment (for macOS, of course). In order to switch, you need to hold the power button, and then select the OS to boot. Moreover, the user can install additional supported hardware OS, after which you can boot into any of them at any time.

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