It was reported last month that Linux was about to get official support for the new Macs with the M1 chip, which could potentially arrive in June with the upcoming Linux Kernel 5.13 release. The first RC build of Linux Kernel 5.13 was released this week, and Linus Torvalds himself confirmed that it supports Apple’s M1 chip.
As seen in the release notes of the latest Linux update, the new 5.13 Kernel adds support for several chips based on the ARM architecture — including the Apple M1. This means that users will finally be able to run Linux natively on the new M1 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and iMac.
It was already possible to run Linux on M1 Macs via virtual machines and even with a port from Corellium, but none of these alternatives run natively — which means they don’t take advantage of the maximum performance of the M1 chip. However, some developers had been working to include native support for M1 in the Linux Kernel, and now this has become a reality.
Despite having official support, Linux on M1 will still have limited functionality for a while because not all drivers have been implemented yet. For instance, hardware-accelerated video is not yet working in this version. More improvements are expected to come with future versions of the Linux Kernel.
By the way, the official M1 support doesn’t mean (at least for now) that Linux will run on the M1 iPad Pro since it has a more restricted system and boot loader than Macs.
It’s worth noting that, just as with Apple’s operating systems, “RC” stands for Release Candidate, which means that this is not yet the final version of the Linux Kernel 5.13. The official release is expected to become available sometime between June and July.