OpenGL 4.6 and OpenGL ES 3.2, Achievements on Apple M1 with Linux Driver: A Milestone for Open-Source Graphics

OpenGL 4.6 and OpenGL ES 3.2, Achievements on Apple M1 with Linux Driver

The open-source community has made significant progress in developing 3D graphics drivers for the Apple M1 GPU, marking a notable advancement in the compatibility and performance of graphics applications on Linux running on Apple Silicon. Spearheaded by developer Alyssa Rosenzweig, the project has culminated in the release of an initial version of the AGX driver, leveraging the Mesa userspace library and its Gallium3D infrastructure. This development not only enhances the capabilities of Linux on the M1 but also opens up new possibilities for OpenGL applications on Apple hardware.

Key Highlights:

  • Initial release of the AGX driver for Apple M1 GPU as open source.
  • Implementation of large parts of the OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 specifications.
  • Utilization of the Mesa library and Gallium3D infrastructure for development.
  • Examples of applications that can now run include Glxgears and scenes from Glmark2.
  • Future goals include simplifying Linux kernel driver implementation and achieving native Vulkan support through reverse engineering.

OpenGL 4.6 and OpenGL ES 3.2, Achievements on Apple M1 with Linux Driver

Rosenzweig and her team have navigated through the complexities of developing a driver that communicates effectively with the Apple GPU, focusing on the userspace part of the driver which is crucial for rendering graphics. The project aligns with the Asahi Linux initiative, which aims to bring Linux to Macs with Apple Silicon. The successful implementation of OpenGL and OpenGL ES specifications on the M1 showcases the potential for high-performance graphics applications on Linux-based systems, bridging the gap between proprietary and open-source software on cutting-edge hardware.

The development of an initial open-source OpenGL driver for the Apple M1 GPU, spearheaded by developer Alyssa Rosenzweig, marks a critical step forward. Utilizing the Mesa library and Gallium3D infrastructure, this driver enables the execution of simple OpenGL applications on Apple’s ARM-based M1 chips. Rosenzweig’s efforts are part of the broader Asahi Linux project, aiming to port Linux to Macs with Apple Silicon CPUs. This project’s achievements underscore the community’s commitment to enhancing graphics capabilities and developer flexibility on these modern computing platforms.

The progress represents a blend of technical prowess and collaborative spirit within the open-source community, addressing a significant gap left by Apple’s own software support. By enabling OpenGL 2.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 specifications on the M1, developers gain access to a broader range of tools and applications, fostering innovation and performance improvements across various use cases. However, challenges remain, including the need for further development of the Linux kernel driver and the implementation of native Vulkan support to fully leverage the M1’s graphics potential.

This development not only enhances the capabilities of Linux on Apple Silicon but also signifies a notable achievement in the open-source community’s efforts to ensure compatibility and performance across diverse hardware platforms. The continued focus on driver development and the push for broader standards support will undoubtedly play a crucial role in the future of Linux on Apple hardware, with implications for developers, end-users, and the broader ecosystem of open-source software.

In the realm of open-source development, this achievement stands as a testament to the collaborative effort and technical expertise within the community. It not only provides a viable solution for graphics applications on Apple’s M1 hardware but also sets the stage for future advancements in graphics rendering and compatibility across platforms. As the project progresses, the potential for native Vulkan support highlights the ongoing commitment to enhancing the graphics capabilities of Linux on Apple Silicon, offering a promising outlook for developers and users alike.

About the author


James Miller

Senior writer & Rumors Analyst, James is a postgraduate in biotechnology and has an immense interest in following technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. He is responsible for handling the office staff writers and providing them with the latest updates happenings in the world of technology. You can contact him at