Yes, you can natively run operating systems beyond macOS on Apple’s M1 Macs — if you’re willing to put in some extra work. As AppleInsider noted, the team at Corellium has outlined how it ported Ubuntu Linux to the M1 chip. While the M1 is a 64-bit ARM chip, the solution was anything but straightforward and will require some extra steps if you want to try it yourself.
Apple processors have a unique kernel boot, multi-core addressing and interrupt controller, among other non-standard tech that Linux doesn’t normally support. Corellium not only had to create a pre-load “wrapper,” but find an alternative just to attach USB peripherals to the machine.
You can repeat the process, but you’ll need at least a 16GB USB drive and more than a little comfort with command line interfaces and recovery modes. Suffice it to say you won’t want to try this if you absolutely depend on your Mac for work.
This is far from the dream of simply dual-booting Linux on an M1 Mac, and you might be better off using Parallels or other virtual machines (when they’re ready) to run other operating systems. Still, it’s a start — and it shows that the end of x86 Macs won’t necessarily shut down your OS options.