CPU emulators are teh suck

April 10, 2007 at 7:57 pm Leave a comment

I’ve been trying to install OpenSolaris on my Mac.

Short summary – arrrrrggggh!

Right, that’s off my chest now. Now I’ve “only” got a G4 Powerbook, i.e. it won’t run Intel binaries directly, like OpenSolaris x86. The only way to run Intel binaries is to use a CPU emulator, of which there are basically two.

1. Microsoft Virtual PC 2004

Although end-of-lifed, apparently Microsoft are still selling it for Macs. Bless their little capitalist socks. But you can get it for free via MSDN, so I tried the latest and “greatest” version 7.0.2. It doesn’t work.

Problem #1 is that it can’t use disk images bigger than 2GB, so forget about using that DVD disk image.

So you burn a DVD and try again. Actually, it starts pretty fast. But unfortunately early on in the OpenSolaris kernel initialization it panics. No way around this. Bug entered at opensolaris.org.


This is an open source emulator, and there’s a nice-ish Mac front-end to it called Q.app.

It boots. It is pretty slow. But it boots the Solaris Express (OpenSolaris b60) disk image! W00t! It starts installing!

A day later (I kid you not) it finishes installing. It reboots. It fails to start because it can’t read the filesystem on the disk image properly. Try rebooting again, and now it can’t even find the Solaris kernel. Jeez.

3. VMware Player

OK this was cheating, but I was desperate. I installed Solaris Express on VMware Player on a Windows box. It looks pretty good. I found a tool that would convert the VMware virtual disk image to a Virtual PC virtual disk image, and copied that across to my Mac.

Tried booting that in Virtual PC – identical kernel panic to the one described above, which wasn’t surprising.

Tried converting it to a QEMU disk image. Tried starting it in QEMU – no dice; same sort of wierd disk errors as before.


The only solution seems to be to get a new Intel machine just to run OpenSolaris.

Though come to think of it… isn’t there a PowerPC port of OpenSolaris around? Hm…


Entry filed under: Mac, OpenSolaris.

Bug 6531759 Another use for a Rock

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April 2007
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access(2) OpenSolaris

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