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:
- Installing ESX 4.0 on VMware Fusion Tweet If you love VMware you have to love Apple and if you love ESX4.0 you have to love a Mac. Well, at least I know I do. Both companies...
- VMware virtualization – Where do I start? Tweet Occasionally I get the question “Hey, I’m new to VMware virtualization. Since you are the expert, can you please tell me where to start?” All right, if you really...
- VMware ESX(i) 3.5 Update4 released Tweet VMware has released ESX(i) 3.5 update4. Do not forget to read the release notes here or you can go to the download page here While going through the release notes...