Asahi Linux celebrates first triangle on the Apple M1 with fully open source driver

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While progress has been made with Mesa code targeting Apple M1 to perform basic testing like glmark2, that has traditionally been an effort performed under macOS with its kernel driver. This week, the Asahi Linux crew celebrated their first rendered triangle with a fully open-source driver stack.

As of last year, there has been early Apple M1 code in Mesa from the Asahi Linux developers, with Alyssa Rosenzweig in charge of that graphical reverse engineering effort. Much of that early OpenGL driver work was done under macOS because of the reverse engineering work going on there, with Apple not publishing specifications or drivers from other platforms. Plus for the Gallium3D/Mesa it is helpful to get the shader compiler to work and compare the results with the macOS driver stack, while using the macOS kernel driver to get a DRM/KMS Linux driver definitely is useful.

For those using Asahi Linux today, there is only a basic frame buffer driver and the OpenGL acceleration only uses LLVMpipe. But this week with the latest experimental Linux kernel and Mesa code being worked on by Asahi developers, they’ve now managed to successfully render their first triangle using that completely open-source driver stack. †Update: It turns out that this first triangle seems to come from their m1n1-based environment and isn’t quite a good Linux driver stack yet.)

Developer Asahi Lina shared the good news of the first triangle of this fully open driver.


Asahi Lina shows off the first Apple M1 rendered triangle on a fully open source driver stack — contrary to previous performance, not relying on the existing macOS kernel driver.

However, it will be a while before you can expect to be able to play OpenGL games on Apple M1 hardware with modern GL features and good performance, but nice progress is being made by the Asahi Linux crew and hopefully in the future a nice open source Vulkan driver in due course as well.

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