Ubuntu instead of, and in addition to, Mac OS X on a MacBook Pro
When I purchased my MacBook Pro, I bought it with the intention of dual-booting into Ubuntu to run VMware Server so that I could run VMware ESX inside of a virtual Machine. Shortly thereafter, VMware Fusion was released, rendering my original intent academic.
Nonetheless, earlier this week I decided to revisit Ubuntu, given that changes since I originally installed it have improved hardware support and the end-user experience significantly. In fact, I’m now running Mac OS X and Ubuntu via dual-boot and using the very same copy of Ubuntu inside of a VMware Fusion virtual machine when I need to run them both side-by-side. Want to do the same thing (or something similar)? Click “Continue reading” below…
Ubuntu on the MacBook Pro
In lieu of regurgitating the process of installing Ubuntu on the MacBook Pro (mine is the Santa Rosa model), I’ll refer you to KnoxWiki’s page on Debian GNU/Linux on Apple Macbook Pro and the MacBookPro/SantaRosa page on the Ubuntu Wiki, which collectively provide thorough details on the process. Once you’ve got Ubuntu running natively on your MacBook, come back here and I’ll show you how to get your real Ubuntu running inside of a virtual machine in VMware Fusion.
Creating a virtual machine to house your natively-installed Ubuntu installation
Note: This process is essentially the same if you’d prefer to run XP or Vista via Bootcamp and boot the same copy of Windows inside of a VMware Fusion virtual machine.
Ok, now that you’ve got Ubuntu successfully installed and running in it’s own partition, it’s time to make that partition available to a virtual machine in VMware Fusion, allowing you to boot the identical linux installation inside of osx.
First, you’ll need to create a new virtual machine, which you can do using Fusion’s New Virtual Machine Assistant. Assuming you used the 64-bit Ubuntu installer, it’s important that you select “Ubuntu 64-bit” on the Choose Operating System dialog. Keep the virtual disk small, as you won’t be needing it after setup. At the final dialog of the VM Assistant, uncheck the “Start virtual machine” box and click Finish.
Next, we’ll need to create a vmdk to represent the physical disk partition on which Ubuntu is installed. To do so, open up Terminal.app (or iTerm, or…), then:
- cd into the VMware Fusion app support directory:
cd “/Library/Application Support/VMware Fusion”
- List the partitions on your physical drive:
./vmware-rawdiskCreator print /dev/disk0
- Create the raw disk mapping for use in our virtual machine:
./vmware-rawdiskCreator create /dev/disk0 X /path.to/Ubuntu.vmwarevm/rdm.vmdk ide
(where X is the number of your linux partition, as identified in step 2, path.to is the path to your newly created VM, Ubuntu.vmwarevm is the VM’s container folder, and rdm.vmdk is the name given to the raw disk vmdk you are creating)
- Finally, add references to your newly created vmdk into your VM’s config file (i.e. Ubuntu.vmx):
ide0:0.present = “TRUE” ide0:0.fileName = “rdm.vmdk”
Voilà! Now power on the pseudo-VM, and revel in the glory of your new MacBook/PhysiVirtuBuntu!