Installing Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) to Virtual Box

I have a great love of Virtual Box, the free virtualization software that allows you to run other operating systems on top of a host operating system -in my case OS X Mountain Lion on a souped up Mac Mini from 2010 -RAM has been maxed to 8GB and the hard drive replaced from a pokey 160GB spinning at 5000 rpm to 750GB spinning at 7200 rpm. The only problem is since Snow Leopard was phased out to Lion, Rosetta -a feature of Snow Leopard, was dropped.

Rosetta was a critical piece of Apple’s migration from PowerPC chips to Intel chips, allowing for PowerPC programs to run on Intel based Macs. When Lion was introduced, Rosetta was killed off, and my favorite game from 1994, Spaceward Ho, was killed off with it. Spaceward Ho has been laying dormant awaiting a iOS upgrade but for some reason, Joe at Delta Tao has been sitting on it.

After putting it off for a while, I decided to give running Snow Leopard 10.6.0 out of the box without updates (to prevent killing Rosetta) a try. Here is a snapshot of it loading successfully -it required a little bit of tweaking and appears to be loading well!

The Crossdressing Mac

snc10088My Macbook Pro 15 inch (Santa Rosa Core-2 Duo Processor, LED backlit screen, 4Gb RAM, 160GB HD) which I purchased a year ago, is a dream to work on. It lets me stay productive for 3-5 hours at a stretch on a single battery -with the two extras I have, I can go a full 12 hours straight before I have to plug in. It does everything the Mac OS X operating system promises very well. Most PC laptops are pretty much obsolete after a year. Not so my Mac. It is likely to be three or four years before I even consider upgrading. My last three laptops have been Sony Vaio’s and they were a miserable lot -pretty to look at but expensive to purchase, they failed at many of the basic things that my Macbook does so well. Even with a Sony Digital Camcorder, none of the Sony Vaio Laptop’s could handle moviemaking, something my Macbook does with polish. I maintain a professional work-related blog with the built-in iWeb software, and all the basic things that I do are just easy and stress free.three-os

On occasion, I do need to go back into Windows. This is where the Macbook really shines. It is not well known by the average user, but the Intel chipped based Macs all run Windows very well -enough so that PC Magazine rated the Macbook Pro 17inch the fastest PC Laptop in 2007. You can run Windows in two different ways.

First, you can run Boot Camp -software that comes with the Mac, that lets you boot up (start the machine) directly into Windows. It reportedly gives you a 2-5% speed boost compared to running it the way that I do which is using virtualization software. Virtualization software lets you run Windows and Mac (and Linux, another operating system) side by side. I use Parallels 4.0, but there is also VMWare Fusion which does the same thing and is currently on sale. Of course, whether you run Boot Camp or virtualization software, you need a separate Windows license. I purchased a Windows XP Pro DVD last year, when you could still buy them, and loaded it onto my Mac, and I can access Windows-only software at work with no fuss. The image at top is the Mac running Windows in full screen mode -I’m updating to XP service pack 3 in the picture. 

The Mac is like a smart, well educated person who can speak several languages at once. The image on the right shows three windows -the top left is Windows XP updating to SP3, the right green window is Suse Linux booting up, and the bottom window is Safari on this blog page I am writing. The computer is running with no lag, no delay, and couldn’t care less. Try that on a Vista laptop. 

Why do I run Suse Linux? It’s because I’m at heart an incredible geek. It’s a very stable operating system which runs quickly on older hardware. If you have an older Windows laptop that is getting long in the tooth, you can download OpenSuse Linux for free, burn a bootable DVD and freshen your older hardware -it run quickly, quicker than Windows, is more stable, and lets you keep your laptop running a while longer. There is free office suite called OpenOffice that comes with the OpenSuse distribution. There are also other free Linux distributions available. I have OpenSuse in order to play with databases -another get rich quick scheme!