The Macs with M1 processors pose a challenge due to the ARM processor architecture if you want to use other operating systems. With Multipass 1.8, Canonical has released a technology that makes a VM with Ubuntu Linux very easy to make available on the new Macs as well.
Multipass starts a virtual machine with the native hypervisor of the host operating system – or optionally in VirtualBox. You don’t have to go through a lengthy Linux installation beforehand, you get direct access to a freshly set up operating system. To do this, the program downloads a fresh image the first time a VM is started. This takes a little longer once, depending on the bandwidth of your own Internet connection. After that, however, the downloaded image will be reused until it is out of date and replaced with a newer one.
With the Multipass call, commands can also be sent directly, which are called in the VM started in this way. Linux applications can be used almost like native apps.
So far, alternative operating systems to MacOS on Macs with the ARM instruction set-based M1 processor have been a tricky business. Virtualizers like Parallels or VirtualBox are not yet in their final status. And then only ARM versions of other operating systems can be used – Windows for ARM, for example, is also still in the preview status. Reaching Qemu would be conceivable, but it is also associated with a lot of manual work and the speed in the end is insufficient for practical purposes.
Canonical is now stepping into this gap and has presented an easy-to-use solution that allows native Linux apps to be used on these Macs as well.