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You can now run Linux and Windows on the new Apple M1 Macs

Apple M1
(Image credit: Apple)
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Since you can already run Linux on ARM, it was only a matter of time before someone found a way to get the open source operating system working on the new Arm-based M1 Macs (opens in new tab)

Using the open source QEMU emulator and virtualizer, developers have now managed to run Linux and Windows.

It is reported that the process is not just a proof-of-concept and all basic functionality, including virtualized audio and network interfaces, work as they would on a native installation.

Near native performance

Alexander Graf, a software engineer at Amazon, was the first to adapt QEMU (opens in new tab) and achieve near-native performance running a Windows 10 Insider Preview for ARM on Apple Silicon. 

Graf's patches have now been used by Linux kernel developer Jon Masters to run Fedora 33 on a M1 MacBook Air (opens in new tab).

Using Graf’s patches to get QEMU to work on Apple Silicon (opens in new tab) takes some doing, though developers are working to simplify the process (opens in new tab)

We’ve already reported that Parallels is working on a new version of Parallels Desktop for Mac (opens in new tab) especially for the M1 Macs, which should further ease the process. Of course Parallels Desktop for Mac will be a paid proprietary virtualizer as opposed to the free and open source QEMU.

screenshot of Fedora 33 running on M1 MacBook Air

(Image credit: Jon Masters)

Linus Torvalds, the principal developer of Linux, has expressed interest (opens in new tab) in using the new MacBooks. Of course he wants the laptops to run Linux, which he perceives as a problem given Apple’s reluctance to share details about the hardware in its machines.

While Linux in a virtualized environment might not pass muster with Torvalds, he just might be in for a pleasant surprise. 

A crowdfunding campaign to port Linux to the M1 Macs (opens in new tab) is well on its way to achieving its target, having already completed one of its two crowdfunding goals. Setup by the developer who ported Linux to the PlayStation 4, Hector Martin, the campaign is for raising funds to allow Martin to work on the porting process full-time.

Via: MSPoweruser (opens in new tab)

Mayank Sharma
Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.