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Re: Supported VM environments under MacOS dom0

Thor Lancelot Simon <> wrote:

> On Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 12:24:10PM -0700, Phil Pennock wrote:
> > 
> > Tried: amd64 5.0.2 install; first time, the VM booted from the "CD"
> > (mapped the .iso); everything installed fine.  Since then, the VM has
> > been unable to boot from the disk and won't boot from the CD either.  It
> > hangs during kernel hardware probes, whether ACPI support is enabled or
> > disabled (ACPI just moves where it hangs).
> I think you'll find a uniprocessor kernel on a single-processor VM
> will work -- and just about nothing *else* will work under Parallels.
> Parallels is a steaming pile.  Just use something else -- VirtualBox
> works pretty well, if you don't want to pay for Fusion.

My experience of OS X virtualisation products for use with the *BSDs has
not been happy.  Linux and Windows seem safest; step outside those two
(or even use less common variants of those two) and you're in a world of
pain on OS X.

I completely concur with Thor about Parallels: forget both versions 4
and 5.  Frankly I think 5 is worse than 4 (other than being faster), and
the company was stupid enough to market to me after I've tried 5 and
rejected it and provided them with feedback as to why.  (That their ACPI
implementation isn't as good as a ten year old(!) Intel motherboard says
something, I think.)

My best success was with VirtualBox (although it didn't like 64 bit
FreeBSD, from memory) and as Mike Bowie recommended I'd go for NAT or
host only networking: when I was using bridged networking I saw strange
network errors and machines (real machines, not VMs) were falling off
the network.  Turning off TCP checksum offload and setting up various
cron jobs to run ping from time to time helped, but what a kludge ...

I know the general recommendation (other than Virtual Box) is for VMware
Fusion, but note that it doesn't claim support for NetBSD, and while I'm
willing to believe what they _do_ claim support will likely work (unlike
the other clowns' marketing claims) I'd be very very wary about trying
an unsupported OS: reports I've seen around the 'Net are not

My current solution was to drag an old P-III out of the cupboard and set
it up to boot multiple OSes.  Of course that means power consumption,
noise, and only one OS at a time, but it stabilised my OS X systems
nicely and works (32 bit only, of course) for every OS I've tried so

Virtualisation has been around long enough now that it shouldn't be
rocket science anymore, even on OS X, but at least on OS X it still
is.  Pity; and I'd pay for a working product, but I don't appear to
have that opportunity, and I've spent considerable time looking.

(Oh -- and I'm not _exactly_ a virtualisation novice: I've supported two
non-x86 products through their introductory release cycles and know a
bit about how such stuff works.)

Bah, humbug!

Good luck,


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