Running Ubuntu Linux on Mac OS X with Parallels

Not only because I always have to have some Linux on my computer, but also because I often need a Linux system available for training and testing purposes, I installed Parallels Desktop for Mac on my Mac Mini yesterday. Parallels provides a virtual environment for installing other operating systems like Windows or Linux[1]. Its virtual harddisk files, its installation wizard as well as the start, stop and restart buttons on the guest OS window very much remind of VMware, but with a license fee of 79 Euro, there’s quite a price difference, isn’t it?

It took me 3 minutes to install Parallels — you have to love the OS X installation process — and then I tossed in the Ubuntu 6.06 server CD to install my first guest OS. After choosing Debian Linux” in the installation wizard, Parallels suggested appropriate environment settings and I only reduced the virtual harddisk size to 3 GB[2]. Ubuntu installed flawlessly, but after restarting the virtual machine, the boot process stopped at “loading the kernel”. A quick search on the “Parallels user forum unearthed that you have to install the Ubuntu 686 kernel to fix that problem. So, after booting into the Ubuntu rescue shell and issuing sudo apt-get install linux-686″ (as described in this “forum entry), Ubuntu started into the login prompt as desired.

I’m quite impressed how easy it is to install and maintain virtual machines on Mac OS X using Parallels. I have no doubt that I’ll gladly shell over the 79 Euro after the 2-week trial period is over.

fn1. Solaris, BSD and even OS/2 are supported, too.

fn2. I really need an additional harddrive.