Virtualizing Mac OS X on VMware Fusion

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

Mac OS X Snow Leopard

With the newest release of Apple’s Mac OS X Snow Leopard I raised the question if it was possible to install Mac OS X in a virtual machine, because that would be nice to test drive the new OS before updating my precious iMac.

When looking into VMware Fusion I noticed that I could select Mac OS X as an operating system, although experimental, but only OS X Server was listed. So I did some investigation and it appears that you can only virtualize Mac OS X Server and not the client version.

First I want to note that there is no technical limitation to this, but there is only a legal one. Let’s take a look at Apple’s Software License Agreement for Mac OS X Server

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.
A. Mac OS X Server Software.
Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install and use one copy of the Mac OS X Server software (the “Mac OS X Server Software”) on a single Apple-branded computer. You may also install and use other copies of Mac OS X Server Software on the same Apple-branded computer, provided that you acquire an individual and valid license from Apple for each of these other copies of Mac OS X Server Software. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Applebranded computer, or to enable others to do so.

This agreement clearly states that you are allowed to run multiple copies on the same Apple-branded computer.

Now let’s look at the very same Apple’s Software License Agreement except for Mac OS X (client version)

2. Permitted License Uses and Restrictions.
A. Single Use License.
Subject to the terms and conditions of this License, unless you have purchased a Family Pack or Upgrade license for the Apple Software, you are granted a limited non-exclusive license to install, use and run one (1) copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-branded computer at a time. You agree not to install, use or run the Apple Software on any non-Apple-branded computer, or to enable others to do so.

This version of the agreement clearly states that you are allowed to run only one copy on a single Apple-branded computer. So this is the real reason you can only virtualize Mac OS X Server. Also notice that Apple clearly states “Apple-branded computer” and that’s why VMware offers the OS selection on VMware Fusion only and not on Workstation or other VMware products.

Well just because you are not allowed to do something doesn’t mean that you can’t, so I created a new Virtual Machine on VMware Fusion and selected Mac OS X Server Leopard as the guest operating system. I inserted the Mac OS X Leopard installation DVD and fired up the VM, but shortly after I got an error message saying: “The guest operating system is not Mac OS X Server. This vm will power off.” Well as expected VMware made sure to check the version before letting you install the software, because they are not allowed to enable you to violate Apple’s Software License Agreement. So this lead me back to the good old Google and after digging through a lot of information I found a nifty workaround for this here.

Before you read on I must say to you that you are going to violate both VMware’s and Apple’s license agreements, so don’t do it. I certainly wouldn’t!

This blog offers two distinct methods to circumvent the installation restriction in VMware Fusion. The easiest method is to make a change to Fusion itself using the following shell script.

sudo bash
cd "/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion/isoimages"
mkdir original
mv darwin.iso tools-key.pub *.sig original
sed "s/ServerVersion.plist/SystemVersion.plist/g" < original/darwin.iso > darwin.iso
openssl genrsa -out tools-priv.pem 2048
openssl rsa -in tools-priv.pem -pubout -out tools-key.pub
openssl dgst -sha1 -sign tools-priv.pem < darwin.iso > darwin.iso.sig
for A in *.iso ; do openssl dgst -sha1 -sign tools-priv.pem < $A > $A.sig ; done
exit

Instead of sed (which seems to add an extra newline to the end of the iso) you might want to use

perl -n -p -e 's/ServerVersion.plist/SystemVersion.plist/g' < original/darwin.iso > darwin.iso

After this change the installation of Mac OS X Snow Leopard is said to be run without any problems. Also this modification and installation is said to be working on VMware Fusion 2.0.4. and 2.0.5.

The next question I raise is if it will be possible to move this VMware Fusion VM to VMware Workstation. If I read Apple’s Software License Agreement correctly I am not violating it when I boot my iMac with Windows or Linux and use VMware Workstation to run MAC OS X as a virtual machine, because in this case I run only one copy on a single Apple-branded computer. AFAIK the software license agreement does not specifically say that you are not allowed to run it virtualized.

Well I don’t know if it’s possible as I haven’t tried this, because I don’t have any bootcamp partition to try it on. As if I ever wanted to boot my iMac with something other than MAC OS X. duh!

For more information on using VMware Fusion in combination with Mac OS X Snow Leopard visit these links:

http://blogs.vmware.com/teamfusion/2009/08/vmware-fusion-2-and-max-os-x-snow-leopard-even-better.html

http://blogs.vmware.com/kb/2009/09/hot-snow-leopardvmware-fusion-kbs.html

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16 Comments on “Virtualizing Mac OS X on VMware Fusion”

  1. #1 Michael
    on Oct 20th, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I tried it, but not work on a hackintosh 10.5 with fusion 2.0.5 one.
    I’ll try it on a native mac with 10.6 and fusion 2.0.5

    cheers
    M

  2. #2 Jon
    on Oct 26th, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Works on native mac with 10.6 and fusion 2.0.6. Thanks!

  3. #3 ryan
    on Nov 1st, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Does not work.

    Host: Mac OS X v10.6.1, VMware Fusion 2.0.6

    Guest: Mac OS X v10.6.1, VMware Tools from Fusion 2.0.5

    Used MultiMac Helper on previous version, no longer works.

  4. #4 BDK
    on Dec 8th, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Does not work in VMWare Fusion 3

  5. #5 在VMware Fusion中安装Snow Leopard
    on Jan 28th, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    [...] 破解darwin.iso,见http://www.van-lieshout.com/2009/09/virtualizing-mac-os-x-on-vmware-fusion/ [...]

  6. #6 Blah
    on May 10th, 2011 at 1:34 am

    — don’t work on fusion 3

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    on Jul 3rd, 2011 at 8:42 pm

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    [...] having to supply Mac hardware on a one-to-one basis. While the vanilla version of Mac OS X has been theoretically virtualizable since the Intel transition (and in fact can be run on a virtual machine now under the right [...]

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    on Jul 4th, 2011 at 11:05 am

    [...] è stata fatta tanta. Sebbene infatti, almeno in teoria, OS X fosse tranquillamente virtualizzabile tanto su un computer Mac che Windows, di fatto l’accordo di licenza fornito fino a Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard non consentiva [...]

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  15. #15 Lion to allow two virtualized instances of Mac OS X per machine | Iphone 3G & 3GS
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