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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Virtualizing Lion with VMWare Fusion

Long ago when Leopard was launched, the end-user license agreement allowed Leopard Server to be virtualized. Same applied for Snow Leopard Server.

However now with Lion's launch, things have changed:

(iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software.

As extracted from Mac OS X 10.7 end-user license agreement, that you can read here.

So now, beside that legal sentence is the meaning that you can run up to a maximum of three copies of Mac OS X Lion, one running real on bare hardware and two running inside a virtual machine.

VMWare Fusion added support to Mac OS X Server as a guest with Leopard Server, however it still has added no official support for Lion.

In this guide I'll explain you how to install it correctly.

Fusion 2  dragged

First of all you need to be sure you have the lastest version (3.1.3 as of this writing) installed. You can get it here.

I have tested this on both Snow Leopard and Lion hosts.

Second of all you need the Lion Emergency Startup Disk, in image, USB or burnt (you can see where it is, called InstallESD.dmg, here).

Third of all we'll create an installer image, so go to Utilities (Cmd+Shift+U on Finder), open Disk Utility and create a new image with the following parameters:

Screen shot 2011 07 26 at 1 30 36 AM

Now insert or mount Lion ESD. We need now to go to the Terminal (open it in Utilities) and start with command:

hdiutil mount "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install ESD/BaseSystem.dmg"

Now a new drive will appear mounted, called "Mac OS X Base System" and we return to disk utility to copy this volume to the disk image we created earlier.

Screen shot 2011 07 26 at 1 35 49 AM

Be sure to have marked "Erase destination". After a couple of minutes we will have two disks called "Mac OS X Base System", that should be unmounted. Then double click the LionVMInstaller.cdr image and go to Terminal.

First we will copy the kernel cache from ESD to our installer image:

sudo cp /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Install\ ESD/kernelcache /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Base\ System/

And now we instruct the prepared image to use it, editing boot parameters, using nano, a text editor in Terminal:

sudo nano /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Base\ System/Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

And we write

<key>Kernel Cache</key> 


Just before </dict> so it ends like this:

Screen shot 2011 07 26 at 1 43 11 AM

Now with pressing Ctrl+X keys it will ask to save, we press Y as in Yes and it's done.

Next step is copying installation packages from the ESD to the prepared image with the following two commands:

sudo rm /Volumes/Mac\ OS\ X\ Base\ System/System/Installation/Packages/

sudo cp -Rv "/Volumes/Mac OS X Install ESD/Packages" "/Volumes/Mac OS X Base System/System/Installation/Packages"

And now we create a file to make VMWare Fusion think this disk comes from a Server version, as it will expect.

sudo touch "/Volumes/Mac OS X Base System/System/Library/CoreServices/ServerVersion.plist"

And enough of the terminal for now. We unmount everything, start VMWare Fusion and create a new virtual machine.

We choose LionVMInstaller.cdr as the image to install from, and in case it does not detect it's Mac OS X, we choose as operating system "Apple Mac OS X" and as version "Mac OS X Server 10.6 64-bit".

Be sure to customize settings, then it will ask for the name. I named it "Mac OS X 10.7 Lion". Now choose Hard Disks and uncheck "Split into 2 Gb files" and Apply.

Go to Processors & RAM and put at least 2048 Mb and as more as you want and can.

Boot it.

It will crash, this is expected. For some reason the NVRAM values VMWare writes by default don't allow Lion to boot. Download a prepared NVRAM here.

In VMWare right click the virtual machine, "Show in Finder", right click it, "Show Package Contents", and replace the NVRAM file there with the one you just downloaded.

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Go to VMWare Fusion and boot it again.

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Now follow the installation instructions. When it finishes and reboots VMWare will complain it's not a server version, it's ok.

Reboot the virtual machine and as soon as the vmware logo appears in grey press the ESC key FAST!.

A menu will appear, and here we will choose "Boot Manager", that will present us with a list of detected boot devices, mostly the HDD and the prepared image.

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Taking note that the first item "Mac OS X" contains the device path of the hard disk, we choose the "EFI SCSI Device" were PCI number or SCSI numbers changed (most probably, "EFI SCSI Device 1").

It will boot the installer again, but this time we will enter on Terminal. Utilities -> Terminal. Now here we write:

touch "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/System/Library/CoreServices/ServerVersion.plist"

IMPORTANT EDIT NOTICE: Some updates, specially Java runtime, will crash if you did this step. Doing this other one will solve it, and can be done in an already installed Lion VM:

sudo cp "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/System/Library/CoreServices/SystemVersion.plist" "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/System/Library/CoreServices/ServerVersion.plist"

When done, Apple menu -> Restart.

Screen shot 2011 07 26 at 2 11 25 AM

Now, enjoy it!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fourth iOS 5 impressions, beta 4

Ios5beta4 2  1

Today, iOS 5 beta 4 has been released to developers.

Mostly it includes bug corrections, huge stability corrections and the long awaited: iTunes Wi-Fi Sync for Windows.

However no iTunes 10.5 beta 4 for Windows has been seed as this writing.

For first time in the betas, you can simply update "over the air" (wifi required), without the need to install itunes at all for the update.

Long time still is in front of us before final iOS 5 arrives us in Fall, and with every beta more things are polished to perfection.

Ios5beta4 1  1

Friday, July 22, 2011

Lion gets updates, iWork, Apple Remote Desktop and iTunes

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Less than one day from Lion launch, Apple seeds new updates for iWork, Apple Remote Desktop and iTunes.

You can get them using Software Update or manually downloading from Apple Support.

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iWork 9.1

Long awaited by Lion users (ok, less than 48 hours of waiting, but LONG awaited) iWork now supports all the pretty good and beloved features of Lion.

Now we can simply sit in Pages Full Screen and forget all distractions while writing the last New York Times best-seller, having the confidence than in a catastrophic stop of electrical supply we will continue where we left Resuming in the same exact word.

And what if we saved just to say "oh oh! I deleted that important paragraph"! Lion to the rescue! We also get support for Versions, and in case we just forgot to save that new paragraph, Auto Save.

Of course all of this support is not just in Pages, but also in Numbers and Keynote.

I'm loving it! (and would love to have it on my iPad).

Little notice shown on this update improving compatibility with Microsoft Office documents and Keynote including two new builds.

More information on Apple Support.

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iTunes 10.4

Available also for Snow Leopard and Windows, iTunes gets Lionized.

Ok Versions and Resume and Auto Save are not so much of a sense in iTunes (and not implemented in 10.4), but Full Screen may be for some users.

This is not the only change, previous iTunes versions (including 10.3.1 that came with Lion) were 32 bit only, but this new 10.4 is a pure 64 bit Cocoa application. This means, that compression and decompression algorithms (converting your recently bought CD to AAC or playing your just bought movie) will benefit from huge performance improvements.

The bad thing is that any iTunes plugin you were using will not be compatible until the developer updates it.

Unfortunately for Windows users it's still 32 bit, but it's still compatible with PowerPC G4 and G5 (my PowerBook G4 is happy :D), also 32 bit only.

More information on


Apple Remote Desktop 3.5

Not so impressive, it mostly receives some reliability workouts, even if 3.4 worked flawlessly on Lion.

One new feature nonetheless is that when connection to a Lion client you can use the current logged in session, or open a new one in background invisible to current user.

One step toward "Apple Terminal Server" ?

More information on Apple Support.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hands-on Lion, Mac OS X 10.7


In this article I'll talk about everything new on Lion.

Some things were already on the developer previews and so I talked already about them, however, I'll do here again.

What's Lion?

Lion is the newest version of Mac OS X, Apple's operating system. It's also known as Mac OS X 10.7.

It's available from July 20, 2001 on the Mac App Store for 23,99 €, $29.99 or £20.99.

It comes as a download of 3,49 Gb, or for an extra premium cost you can buy it in an USB pendrive in Apple Stores.

You can also create your own DVD or USB pendrive once downloaded (but BEFORE installing) using my instructions. Also if you want to do a clean installation, you must do that or on reboot press Option key and choose "Recovery".

It's also the first version that the "family" pack (5 computers) comes for the price of 1, you just authorize with the same iTunes account up to five computers and it's legal to install it on all of them.

Officially Lion cannot support anything lower than a Core 2 Duo computer, however there are hacks you can do to install it. Same applies for Hackintoshes ;)

However system executables are only 64 bit and running on any kind of cpu without that support will simply not work.


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Once you have downloaded it, the installation application will load, make you choose destination hard disk and start preliminary checks prior to a reboot to the real installation.

The installation is slimmer, simpler and more elegant than previous ones and when it is finished there is no welcome video.

Considering its installing from hard disk to hard disk it's quite slow, taking more than one hour on my Mid-2009 MacBook Pro.

When you finish the installation you will be presented with a small tutorial about gestures.

Screen Shot 2011 07 20 at 20 18 14

System preferences


System Preferences get a little reordering (Universal Access is now a Personal thing not a System one) and the new "Mail, Contacts & Calendars" panel appears.


New pretty and real background pictures come with Lion, including but not limited to, Mount Fuji, M31 Andromeda Galaxy and a Lion (appropriate isn't it?).


Lion includes new system-wide languages: Arabic, Czech, Hungarian and Turkish.


It also includes new text-to-speech voices, not just for all system-wide available languages but also for variations (Latin-American and Spain's Spanish), and non-present ones (Romanian). The bad is that they are downloaded from Apple on installation, making that small, the good of that is this would allow new voices to be added in updates.


FileVault now encrypts the whole disk at once, not just the home folder, with a new and supposedly better algorithm (just another AES variation).

This adds a level of security (the whole disk is encrypted) and subtracts another level (another user can access your home).

But there is also another level of security (or of control by some paranoids). The encryption key can be stored in Apple for recovery in case of absolute loss using three (chosen from a list of a dozen options) secret questions.

Screen Shot 2011 07 20 at 20 23 36

Also you can now choose some privacy options, like sending or not anonymous usage statistics to Apple and what applications can access Location services.

Screen Shot 2011 07 20 at 20 29 25

There are now a lot of gestures, so you can move pages, move full screen apps (leftmost Dashboard, second-left non-full screen, rest on order of full screening), open Launchpad, open Mission Control, so on. Of course this requires an integrated or a Magic trackpad.

You can do some of the gestures with a Magic Mouse but that is anything but comfortable.

Screen Shot 2011 07 20 at 20 32 55

The new "Mail, Contacts & Calendars" preference panel allows an easy to access configuration of, mail, contacts and calendars services, like Google Mail, Yahoo!, MobileMe and iCloud.

It is plugin based, indeed iCloud must be installed separately right now (iCloud is expected to be ready on Fall) and MobileMe would disappear soon.

If you add your account to, for example, iChat, it automatically appears here (only instant messaging is enabled). If you add it here, you can enable it to appear on Address Book, iCal, iChat and Mail.

Screen Shot 2011 07 20 at 20 34 13

Mac OS X 10.7 Server accounts will also be supported here directly. Previous servers accounts should be added as CalDAV and LDAP.


FTP disappears on file sharing and SMB (windows sharing) gets substituted by a fresh, new, clean implementation of the lastest SMB version (SMB2, introduced with Windows Vista), providing a huge performance boost with other Lion or Vista or 7 computers. The previous SMB software was Samba, used also in Linux, limited to the 20 year old SMB1 version.


Also an option to automatically restart on a kernel panic (bluescreenofdeath for windows users) happens is added. In difference with Windows, the option is disabled by default, can be based on power source, and the information you obtain about the panic on reboot is some orders of magnitude better.


Now user accounts can be linked to any kind of Apple ID, not just a MobileMe one. It can be your iTunes Store account, your Find My iPhone account, your Apple Developer account, your Apple Forums account, you choose!

You can also allow your user password to be rest using your Apple ID, so if you forgot your user password but not your ID password, you can just reset it.



The most curious thing of Lion is Launchpad.

And what is Launchpad? Launchpad is an application menu for Lion. Indeed, it's the same one and old and touchy application menu used on iOS (called SpringBoard there), but now in Mac OS X.

You can create folders, delete applications, move them, have multiple screens, all in your fingers (integrated or Magic trackpad required).

It is also quite intelligent. If you add an application, it automatically appears there, if you move one to trash (in the old way, Finder-ish) it disappears, and if you install a folder that contains an application inside it (like Adobe Photoshop does) only the application icon appears here (if you delete it here the whole folder is deleted). Also it detects the Developer folder even if not being inside Applications.

And before starting with applications changes, let's see two things:

1.- Spaces has disappeared completely. I think no one will miss it.

2.- Applications can now run full screen (more or less same as in Snow Leopard having one app per space). NOTE: They CAN, you can choose to run them like before in a per-moment basis.

This fullscreen-ish does have some advantages (concentration on just one task), and some disadvantages (losing the ability to multitask). I have not tested fullscreen on multiple monitors, but it would be great to have the application you want fullscreened on the monitor you want.


iCal gets full screen. Aesthetic changes are small, but kind to the eye.

Yes only the upper part.


Safari also gets full screen. Gets better HTML5 compatibility (as with every update) and a new, non intrusive, see it everywhere downloads list that I'm loving.


Photo Booth also gets full screen. Adds new effects, specially interesting the ones that remove you from the video and adds a moving background.

That's my Pikachu, test subject on anything that requires camera :p


Preview gets full screen, allowing better reading of books or multi-page documents. However I still miss iBooks for Mac OS X.


Chess also gets full screen, so you can concentrate on the King without distractions from the desktop.


Dashboard is no more an overlay on the current view, but an always running full screen app that resides left-most in the list of full screen apps (more on the order below).


Address Book gets a radical aesthetic change to be more alike a, well, an address book.

Screen Shot 2011 07 20 at 21 33 30

Lion includes a couple of new system fonts, but the most important to note for all of us is Apple Color Emoji. This font includes all the Emoji icons as seen on the japanese iPhone (or in rest-of-world with a little hack or iOS 5), so now you can see them in notes, emails, contacts, wherever you used them on your iOS device, when synced with Lion.

This also means new features for font designers, like adding support for colored glyphs.


iChat now supports Yahoo! accounts out-of-the-box. And I say that, because now iChat support for messaging protocols is plugin base. So maybe in a future we'll see plugins for MSNP (Windows Live Messenger), Twitter, Gadu-Gadu and others. I hope this feature does not end in The Void.

It also joins all the contacts from all accounts in a single contacts list.


Mail gets full screen with an interface overhaul. It also joins conversations (dozens of "Re:" messages) in a single place so you can read them chronologically.

It also detects duplicates, and can hide the messages and/or folder list so you can concentrate on the email.


QuickTime 7 disappears, completely. There is no remaining of Carbon. Ok, there is, the Carbon framework is still there, you can execute Carbon applications. But none are included with the system.

QuickTime X gets more editing features, and a bigger "share" list, adding Vimeo, Flicker, Facebook and Mail.


Finder also receives an aesthetic overhaul, and adds a new section called "All My Files" that made me tremble in fear.

It also gets more intelligent when copying, so when you copy a folder (A) to another (B) that contains a folder with the same name (A') it doesn't delete A' with A, but combines A and A' contents.

Also when you copy a file (A) to a folder that also contains a file (A) you get (A) and (A2) in that folder.


The system also adds support for vertical text. Not so useful for occidental languages, but for oriental ones (Chinese, Japanese, so on). Surely oriental writers will find more comfortable to write their texts in the way they're used to do calligraphic-ally.


One of the new features of Lion is called "Mission Control". It more or less substitutes Exposé.

The dock still appears on its place, the non-full screen apps on the middle, and the full screen ones (including Dashboard) on the top.


Resume and versioning.

When you shut down the system with opened applications and documents, they appear immediately on the next boot, in exactly the same place you left it, including the cursor position. That's resume. It also happens if you close a single application with new or modified documents. This must, however, be supported specifically in the application, so old non prepared applications will not get this functionality for free (d'oh!)

Also when you are working with the document versions are automatically saved periodically without user intervention, and when you save it, different versions are saved also separately. On disk you'll just see the last one, but you can access always to a restore versions screen, that similar to Time Machine shows you all the stored versions so you can choose to which one revert.

Also, you can duplicate it.

Ok, all of this features where in Lisa Office System (pre-Mac Apple's system) 28 years ago (1983), but from my filesystem-expertise I assure you it's not so easy to implement this things transparently for the user to a system not designed with this features from the start.

External and third-party applications

Most of the external applications are compatible as is, with some exceptions.

Little Snitch gets silently disabled, and requires to be updated to version 2.4 at least. Same applies for VMWare, VirtualBox and Parallels, requiring new versions with explicit Lion support.

Mono and applications that use it are currently unsupported, and the Mono team is working on this. Even MonoDevelop crashes.

Java applications will require downloading a Java runtime on first launch.

iTunes comes as 10.3.1, while on Snow Leopard it's 10.3, and is absolutely not Lion aware.

Most other applications simply work flawlessly.

Sadly iWork is not yet Lion-aware (it's time for iWork '11!!!) so nothing is autosaved.

Also Xcode 3 does not load, crashes with error -10658, so developers must migrate to Xcode 4 now.

EDIT: I installed Xcode 4 (that become free with Lion's launch) and then Xcode 3 is working again. Maybe just a Xcode 3 reinstallation would have solved it also.

Mac OS X Lion, burn to DVD or pendrive


Now, today, Mac OS X Lion is finally out.

On the Apple store it's available for 23,99 €, $29.99 or £20.99, but it's big.

3,49 Gb is not something you want to download three times, or even just twice.

This guide will explain you how to burn it to DVD, or copy to a pendrive, so you can install in more than one machine with just one download.

Start with one machine, that will download it. It will create an item called "Install Mac OS X Lion" in your Applications folder.

Captura de pantalla 2011 07 20 a las 19 14 26

Leave the installation on this machine for later (if you close it, you can reopen just doing double click on this item), and right click the item choosing "Show package contents" option.

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Now open Contents folder, SharedSupport and see the file called InstallESD.dmg. Leave this window opened.

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Go to Applications, Utilities, Disk Utility.

Burning to DVD

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If you want to burn it to DVD, click the Burn button. Drag the InstallESD.dmg item from the Finder to the "Select Image to Burn" dialog that Disk Utility just presented to you.

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Burn will then start, and you can boot from this DVD on the rest of machines to install Lion.

Copying to USB drive

If you want to copy it to a USB drive, like a pendrive or a hard disk, first connect it to the computer.

Then choose the item in Disk Utility, choose the Restore tab, drag the InstallESD.dmg item to Source and the USB drive to destination.

Be sure that you have chosen the correct one, "Erase destination" is marked and the drive is formatted with GUID partition table, or it won't boot.

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Wait, and when it finishes, the drive will be bootable to install Lion in other computers.

This will make installation on homes with multiple computers very easy.

Remember to read the EULA of Lion and not install it in more computers than the license allow you to!!!

Enjoy Lion while waiting for my review on it :p