apple fusion upgrade

macOS Sierra and VMware Fusion 8

Hot off the heels of WWDC, Apple has made available the next major update to it’s flagship operating system for Mac. With a new name, macOS, Apple seems to be getting away from the OS X moniker and aligning with the rest of the OS’s that it has in it’s bag: tvOS, iOS, watchOS, and now macOS.

Users have been excited to run this in a VM to test, but it doesn’t “just work” in Fusion yet unfortunately. The reason is that Developer Preview builds have debugging code included which changes the memory layout of the installer. We specifically require a certain block layout of the .app to create the bootable install image, but because the layout is different due to debugging code, it fails with an ‘Internal Error’.

There are 2 ways to get around this:

  1. Install 10.11 and upgrade it to 10.12
  2. Manually create the bootable install image and attach it to an empty 10.11 VM.

The first one is pretty easy, and you can make an OS X 10.11 VM using the recovery partition with just a couple of clicks from File > New.

Once it’s up and you’ve installed VMware Tools, you can drag the ‘Install 10.12 Developer’ onto the desktop of your 10.11 VM, double-click it and begin the install.

For folks that don’t have the time or who want to walk through a fresh installation there is a multi-step method that I’ve written about here that will show you the way and explain what’s happening along the trip.

For folks who want to run Sierra on the Mac itself and use Fusion, there is a bit of a bug that we’re working on, but there’s an easy workaround.

Currently if you try to run a VM it will fail/crash with an ‘Internal Error’.

The simple work around for now is to disable 3D graphics acceleration (per-VM setting). 

It’s possible that this ‘goes away’ when Apple moves to the public beta branch (it has different debugging code enabled than the developer previews), but we’ll be keeping a close eye on things as they develop and share what we learn.

Overall, I’ve found that macOS Sierra as a Host and as a Guest work pretty well. Siri tends to work better on the Host in my experience, so we’ll be examining how to make it a smooth experience in a VM as well. For now, my advice is to speak slowly to her when she’s ‘trapped’ in a VM 😉

(talking about AI with ‘he’ and ‘she’ is weird… welcome to the future!)