The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

OSX86 10.4.6 running on VMware Server

Posted by Deliverator on April 19th, 2006


At last week’s hacknight, I got to see OSX running on commodity Intel hardware. In particular, it was running on a Dell XPS M170 gaming notebook (one of the new XPS series ones that glow). Unofficial support for non-apple hardware has come along quite a bit, with support for more video cards, non-SSE3 machines (still requires SSE2 minimum), and in the very latest release, support for SATA hard drives. I decided to try it out for myself, so I downloaded an pre-patched image created by someone named Myzar. I ran into one problem after another, trying to install using this iso image in VMware. I managed to resolve one problem after another, but finally bumped into an haulting ACPI error that prevented the system from fully booting after install. I found that Myzar created a new image and had released a PPF differential patch update to patch the previous iso image to OSX version 10.4.6 and also added the option of using a recompiled SSE3 kernel. The default kernel didn’t work, but the recompiled one did the trick. OSX is now running happily in VMware. All the hardware is working (network, sound, usb, etc), except for the video card, which is running with the unaccelerated VGA driver. I ended up having to tweak a lot of VMware settings to get it OSX working properly. Here are some settings I would recommend if you choose to try this at home…

  • Added the line paevm=true to the virtual machine’s .vmx config file. By default, VMware disables support for PAE (physical address extension), a technique for accessing ram > 4 GB on 32 bit CPUs. OSX requires support for PAE to run.
  • Mount the OSX cd image (iso file) using Daemon Tools, and then tell VMware to use the virtual cd-rom created by Daemon Tools. Many PC optical drives have problems with the OSX cds and VMware’s own .iso image mounting doesn’t work well with the HFS+ format cd.
  • Allocate all the hard disk space for your virtual hard disk drive immediately (instead of choosing the option allowing it to grow as space is used).
  • Specify the guest OS type as FreeBSD.
  • Add a USB controller to the list of virtual hardware, but disable the autoconnect option
  • In “host settings” choose the option to fit all guest os memory into reserved memory, rather than allowing for swapping. Produces quite a speedup.

Here are some more pictures of OSX86 running in VMware, as well as some of the error messages I received.