Anyone experimented with Linux within a VM on Mac OS X Leopard?

I have VMware and Parallels, but I only use them to run Windows XP and Vista. I'd like to hear from a few people who are running Red Hat, Debian or some other flavor of Linux within Mac OS X Leopard, and what kind of results you're getting. What distro works best, for example? Does X interplay nicely with Mac?


Dave Taylor has been hacking shell scripts for over thirty years. Really.
He's the author of the popular "Wicked Cool Shell Scripts" and
can be found on Twitter as @DaveTaylor and more generally at


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kubuntu on Parallels

Ulrich's picture

I'm running kubuntu 7.10 (and WinXP) on Parallels on my MacBook Pro (still on 10.4.11).

The 7.10 installation wasn't as straight forward as I would've liked, there was some problem with the graphics. That's apparently resolved now and 8.04 installs without a problem.

X isn't an issue because running in the VM MacOS doesn't know anything about it.

Unfortunately Parallels doesn't support some of the nice things it does with Windows i.e. Coherence (making XP windows appear as native windows, i.e. not running inside the VM window but on the desktop) or Shared Folders. I didn't want to enable samba on MacOS X so I'm using sshfs over fuse to mount my Mac home directory under Linux. Works like a charm.

On Apple Leopard / VMware

Fred Roller's picture

On Apple Leopard / VMware Fusion the Ubuntu Desktop and Server both run without issue. Edubuntu Desktop, Workstation, and Server also run well on Apple Leopard / VMware Fusion. We develop cross-platform applications using a product named REALbasic. All of our applications run great in Ubuntu 7.10 on VMware Fusion 1.1 on Leopard OS X 10.5.1.

We selected Apple hardware and VMware Fusion to support our REALbasic cross-platform development for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Ubuntu is a very easy Linux distribution to install and manage. We highly recommend it for anyone that is not experienced with Linux. Even if you have Linux expertise, Ubuntu is a great product.

Best of of luck to you.

Virtual Penguins

gnome's picture

I've used parallels on my intel mac mini and qemu on my powerpc powerbook. I do NOT recommend trying to virtualize on an a G4 using qemu as it is slower than dog slow, but that's only common sense no? :-). I don't have any complaints about parallels on my mac mini virtualizing Linux distributions; I've virtualized Fedora and Debian. X seems to behave quite nicely after installation, even full screen it behaves well... I use it to test LFS builds and builds of my first attempt at making an embedded distribution. The only time I had major problems with parallels was when I tried to virtualize OpenSolaris; parallels works with OpenSolaris but I could only get it to run at a max 800x600. Hope that helps. Let me know if you have questions.

Adam Dutko is a Linux Journal Reader Advisory Panelist.
"...thanks for all the fish..."

VM machine and MacOS

Zardo Tagore's picture

Hello Dave, i works with Parallels, VMware and linux. Is very nice solution if u want tray your new apache installation or new software for network administration or only you want see new distro linux. Inside VM you can work with X well but the Parallels tool or VMware tool installetion is not always easy. Is my opinion Parallels is better but VMware have to interesting tools VMplayer, converter and exist for Linux. Only your fantasy can stop VM use, private surfing, vertical distro for security network, private filesystem and you can transport your works in other computer, or server. :-) Cya.