An alpha of Asahi Linux has been released for Apple’s M1, and the reviews are showing the potential it has, and the problems Apple has with macOS.
The Asahi Linux Project has been working to port Linux to the M1 chip. Asahi is based off of the Arm version of Arch Linux. The team has been working without any assistance from Apple, adding to both the challenge and reward of releasing a working Alpha.
Most impressive of all, however, is that Asahi is already proving to be much faster than macOS on the same hardware, in some cases as much as twice as fast, according to Lifewire.
“My initial impression of Asahi Linux with its Arch Linux Arm desktop version was that it works better than anticipated, at least on a Mac mini,” Michael Larabel, founder of computer hardware website, Phoronix, told Lifewire. “There [are] still areas where the performance is lacking, but [it’s] already much faster than, say, a Raspberry Pi 4 or other low-end Arm single-board computers running Linux.”
Other users have experienced similarly impressive performance.
Hugo on Asahi Linux composites all 275 pages of my website in less than half of the time (210ms) it takes the same build of Hugo within macOS on the same machine (557ms)
Jason W. Eckert (@the_unix_guru), March 20, 2022
In spite of the impressive performance, Asahi still has some major limitations. Unlike traditional Linux installers, Asahi’s installer must be run from macOS. There is also no GPU acceleration, although the M1’s raw performance makes up for it in everyday tasks.
Nonetheless, Asahi is clearly showing its potential, while raising some serious questions about why macOS is so much slower on hardware its ideally optimized for.