Asahi Linux for Mac Unlocks Apple’s Mac Platform For Gamers

Mac users looking for the best gaming performance from their Apple hardware will be excited to hear about the latest OpenGL drivers meeting industry standards. What will come as a bigger shock is that the drivers do not come from Apple… instead, they come from the Linux community who use Apple’s hardware to run Linux.

February’s release of the Linux 6.2 kernel saw the first mainline support for Apple Silicon, specifically the M1 family, although many Linux users working on Apple Silicon are using Asahi Linux.

The addition of OpenGL ES 3.1 drivers in Asahi is a key step in unlocking the potential of Apple’s hardware to act as a cutting-edge gaming platform when running Linux. The drivers themselves are open source and have been confirmed as conformant by the Khronos standards body.

Why is that important? Because these drivers are the only conformant graphics drivers available for the Mac hardware, and that includes Apple’s own drivers:

“…the manufacturer’s M1 drivers are unfortunately not conformant for any standard graphics API, whether Vulkan or OpenGL or OpenGL ES. That means that there is no guarantee that applications using the standards will work on your M1/M2 (if you’re not running Linux). This isn’t just a theoretical issue.”

Many of Apple’s users are happy to stay inside the velvet-lined walled garden of macOS. For those who would prefer to have more control over their own hardware, the addition of OpenGL support makes everything just a little bit more open.

The question is whether Apple will join this small project in having its graphics drivers signed off as meeting the expected standards. If it wants to pitch macOS as a platform for gamers and AAA titles, it’s hard to see why it would not follow the same path as Asahi Linux.

Now read the latest Mac, iPhone, and iPad headlines in Forbes weekly Apple Loop news digest…


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