Planning on installing Linux on your Apple silicon Mac? You can, and if you do it now you’ll get better GPU performance than ever before.
That’s after people working on the Asahi Linux project announced that they now have conformant OpenGL ES 3.1 drivers available for download. The news means that these are the very first conformant GPU drivers for Apple’s M1- and M2-series Macs running Linux.
Those who already have Asahi Linux installed can download the newly updated drivers right now.
So much testing
The news was announced via a blog post that explained that the « driver passed tens of thousands of tests to demonstrate correctness and is now recognized by the industry. »
That testing included a 30-day process to make sure that the new driver is as stable as can be before it could be considered to be conformant.
« To become conformant, an ‘implementation’ must pass the official conformance test suite, designed to verify every feature in the specification, » the explanation beings.
« The test results are submitted to Khronos, the standards body. After a 30-day review period, if no issues are found, the implementation becomes conformant. The Khronos website lists all conformant implementations, including our drivers for the M1, M1 Pro/Max/Ultra, M2, and M2 Pro/Max. »
The result is a new driver that should ensure faster gaming performance than previous iterations, and the fact that the driver is conformant is particularly interesting considering that Apple’s isn’t.
« Unlike ours, the manufacturer’s M1 drivers are unfortunately not conformant for any standard graphics API, whether Vulkan or OpenGL or OpenGL ES, » the blog post notes. « That means that there is no guarantee that applications using the standards will work on your M1/M2 (if you’re not running Linux). »
If you’re using a modern Mac and running Asahi Linux, and especially if you’re gaming, now might be the time to get this driver installed.