Canonical's new Multipass 1.8 runs Ubuntu Linux in a VM on M1 Macs

Macbook Air M1
Macbook Air M1 (Image credit: Daniel Bader / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Canonical, the publisher behind Ubuntu, has brought the Linux distro to M1 Macs via Multipass.
  • People can now run a new Ubuntu virtual machine on Apple silicon with launch times of just 20 seconds.

Canonical, the publisher behind the popular Linux distro Ubuntu, has announced that its new Multipass 1.8 gives people a way to run it on their M1 Mac with ease. In fact, they can get up and running in as little as 20 seconds, the outfit claims.

The move was announced via blog post and sees Ubuntu become one of the quickest and easiest ways to get Linux up and running on the latest Apple silicon machines.

On the heels of Apple's announcement of a new line of game-changing M1 MacBooks, Canonical is bringing fast and easy Linux to the M1 platform. Multipass, the quickest way to run Linux cross-platform, received an update last week allowing M1 users to run Ubuntu VMs with minimal set-up. Multipass can download and launch a virtual machine image with one command, and developers on M1 can now get running on Linux in as little as 20 seconds.

This all revolves around Multipass, Canonical's free VM software that makes it easier than ever to set up and configure systems that allow developers and other professionals to get up and running without the fuss normally associated with such apps. Multipass is now the best Mac app for running Linux virtual machines, especially on M1 and future chips.

Multipass 1.8 also adds Aliases, a way for users to attach commands inside VMs to commands on the host operating system.

Aliases allow Multipass users to tie commands within a VM to commands on the host OS. For those who only need a Linux environment for a few use cases, this is a paradigm shift. Instead of switching contexts to access the software they need, these users can now run software within their VMs directly from the host terminal. Aliases can give users a near-native experience for any linux program. For example, aliases could be an alternative to Docker Desktop for developers looking to run Docker on Windows or Mac.

Fancy taking Multipass for a spin? You can download it right now direct from the Canonical website.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.