Xen on Intel Mac mini

mac mini

The Scalable Computing Laboratory has posted instructions on how to get Xen running on a Intel Mac mini. Xen is an open source virtualization system that lets multiple guest operating systems run on the same processor. The Mac mini is small, relatively inexpensive, and because it supports VT instructions you can run WindowsXP without modification. This makes the mini a really good choice for a hardware virtualization box. The install does have some quirks. You need a distro that uses lilo to boot because of Mac mini’s lack of an A20 gate. Once installed you switch to a patched version of grub because that’s what Xen requires.

[thanks steve, the good steve]

Comments

  1. brainwarp says:

    Guess now i have no more excuses not to get a mini. hehehehe

  2. lt.milo says:

    http://www.voodoopc.com/system/quotekitchen.aspx?productID=1088

    -thats the only reason i havnt bought a mini.

  3. Mesach says:

    What’s so special about the Voodoo Mini? for $40 less you can get the Apple Mac Mini in core duo, with more ram, and a bigger HD… Oh you want it red? well thats another $70 from http://www.fastmac.com/ProductPage/spicymini.html so I suppose that the total is $30 more than the Voodoo Mini… but, fuck I can run all major operating systems on the mini so i’ll take the MacMini…

    You can’t with the voodoo – well you can with the osx-86 project but why not run osx on its native platform and the other stuff just as fast.

  4. mahder pwned says:

    haha!
    “[thanks steve, the good steve]”
    that was hilarius eliot, good that people have a sence of humor!
    keep the good stuff coming eliot.

  5. Mesach says:

    What’s so special about the Voodoo Mini? for $40 less you can get the Apple Mac Mini in core duo, with more ram, and a bigger HD… Oh you want it red? well thats another $70 from http://www.fastmac.com/ProductPage/spicymini.html so I suppose that the total is $30 more than the Voodoo Mini… but, fuck I can run all major operating systems on the mini so i’ll take the MacMini…

    You can’t with the voodoo – well you can with the osx-86 project but why not run osx on its native platform and the other stuff just as fast.

  6. Mesach says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot the voodoo doesn’t come with an OS, so thats another $200 for Windows XP Pro bringing the the grand total to 1192.42 for the same machine with 1gb ram, and a 100GB hd, But a slower processor.

    Why are haven’t you bought the mini yet lt.milo?

  7. Orwell84 says:

    Ha, the Good Steve comment made me laugh, has he been banned yet?

  8. steve says:

    no i havent been bannded yet eliot what u up to realy nice project right up my street but ur having ago at me do u knot relize ur site is getting more hits because of me shame on u u should be paying me but knot in dollers
    pounds sterling e mail me with amount pmsl LOVE STEVE THE GOOD ONE

  9. BRENDAN says:

    The only reason i could think of to do this, would be to run windows xp. Seeing as ALL linux editions for mac do this automatically. If your installing windows, JUST USE BOOTCAMP its from apple, and is made for mini and provides all the drivers that windows needs to use all of the hardware in the mini.

  10. BRENDAN says:

    The only reason i could think of to do this, would be to run windows xp. Seeing as ALL linux editions for mac do this automatically. If your installing windows, JUST USE BOOTCAMP its from apple, and is made for mini and provides all the drivers that windows needs to use all of the hardware in the mini.

  11. Super_chris says:

    Ha, I misread the title of the article as Xeon on a Mac Mini. I was wondering why you would need to change the bootloader because of the CPU.

    Maybe someone should do a Xeon mod though.

  12. ... says:

    all of you complaining that you could have used boot camp to put on xp, or just put Linux on you clearly have no idea what the heck you are talking about. xen allows you to simultaneously run multiple operating systems at the same time. Google it for heavens sakes.

  13. gsham says:

    I refuse to buy a mini or that voodoo minipc until they have something other than Intel Integrated Graphics. I would think that intel would build a motherboard that would be able to support a laptop graphics chip. although, I suppose that using the mac mini in a Rackmount solution( like in here: http://www.markandjo.com/markblog/?p=3), you wouldn’t need fancy graphics chips.

    re post 6: your point is a moot one, since you would have to buy windows XP pro to run it on a mac mini as well. and your contention assumes people would buy windows operating systems at retail. I prefer getting the 100% discount at bittorrent emporium :)

  14. bp says:

    re 13 – Besides outright piracy I think that all of us who spend time in techy circuits stumble on cheap, legit winXP discs from time to time at conferences etc. Honestly I can’t think of the last time I payed anywhere near full price for an M$ product.

    Anyway, this rules! Virtualization is an absolutely amazing concept but seems hard to implement so this kind of guide truly rocks for people with minis. (Not I, unfortunately). It’s not what I usually expect to see on hack-a-day but still a pretty good bit of information.

    On that note… here’s a write up on getting Xen to work in ubuntu dapper (http://www.planetjoel.com/viewarticle/568/HOWTO%3A+Windows+XP+running+under+Xen+3.0+on+Ubuntu+Dapper+Drake) Haven’t tried it yet but it looks simple enough. (Famous last words.)

  15. giskard says:

    anybody know how transportable this would be to a macbook?

  16. bp says:

    @15

    My impression is that most of this will be more or less the same on a macbook. The one thing that I would assume would be changed is the config file mentioned about 2/3rds of the way through the file. But I believe there is a link to an explanitory guide for building the config file so I’ll bet you could pull it off with a little extra reading and maybe some experimentation.

  17. ex-parrot says:

    @ #14: I manage several Xen servers all running on Ubuntu. Works a treat. Have fun :)

    You should be able to go from blank HDD to working Ubuntu + Xen in about 45 minutes if you’ve done it a few times.

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