Fedora Linux now runs on all M-powered Macs - except one

The first full-fledged desktop distro for M-chip Macs, Fedora Asahi Linux is a giant step forward in bridging the gap between Linux and Apple silicon hardware.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Fedora Asahi Remix Linux
Fedora Asahi Remix Linux Project

If things had gone as planned, Apple Mac Linux fans would have been running Fedora Linux on their M-chip-powered Macs this summer. Oh well, better late than never! As of December 19, Fedora Asahi Remix 39 has been released. This makes Fedora Asahi Remix the first full M1/M2 Linux distribution to see the light of day.

Fedora-Asahi Linux runs on Apple's ARM-based computers. Specifically, you can now run the distro on all Apple M1 and M2 series MacBook, Mac Mini, Mac Studio, and iMac devices

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Mac Pros are not currently supported but will be in a future Fedora Linux 40 release, which also is expected to deliver OpenGL 4.x and Vulkan support as well as full Apple M1/M2 graphics support.

Programmers from the Fedora Project and Ashai Linux have worked toward this Linux release for years. As Asahi founder and project lead Hector Martin explained, "The Fedora Asahi project started in late 2021, and work began in 2022 alongside the Arch ARM release."

It all started with a plan "to bring full Linux support to Apple Silicon machines, across all distributions," said Martin. "Much of our initial work focused on the kernel and bootloaders, which can be shared between distros." Now, we finally have a full-fledged M1/M2 Linux distribution for daily use.

The Remix is based on Fedora Linux 39, which was released in November. This distro uses the Linux 6.5.6 kernel. 

For the desktop, Fedora Asahi uses the KDE Plasma 5.27 Long Term Support (LTS) desktop environment as its default environment. The developers said it gives you "a buttery smooth desktop, with absolutely no tearing or glitching, just like on macOS." Not a KDE fan? You can use GNOME 45 as your desktop instead. 

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Both desktop options employ the Wayland window system by default. For compatibility with legacy X11 applications, it incorporates XWayland. It also comes with OpenGL 3.3 support, featuring GPU-accelerated geometry shaders and transform feedback. Thus, Fedora Asahi Remix 39 boasts the world's first certified conformant OpenGL ES 3.1 implementation for Apple Silicon, a milestone in graphics support for these devices.

This new Linux distro uses a custom Calamares-based wizard to set it up, ensuring a seamless initial user experience. 

Thanks to an innovative integrated Digital Signal Processor (DSP) open-source project, speakersafetyd, this version significantly boosts audio quality. The Rust-based userspace daemon provides a safe and balanced sound profile with full loudness and dynamic range while maintaining efficient battery usage. This is a big deal because M1/M2 Macs don't come with speaker firmware, meaning all the audio work must be done in software. Fedora Asahi uses the new Pipewire 1.0 streaming software to integrate audio and video. 

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For users with server workloads or those interested in headless deployments, Fedora Asahi Remix also offers a Fedora Server variant. Furthermore, a Minimal image is available for those who prefer to customize their setup from scratch.

Fedora Ashai Remix 39 installation is straightforward. The Fedora Project also provides an issue tracker for reporting bugs, a Discourse forum for user support, and a Matrix room for talking with fellow users.

As with any new project, there are still some bugs. Even so, this release is a giant step forward in bridging the gap between Linux and Apple silicon hardware.

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