Installing Haiku Alpha1 in VirtualBox under OS X

VirtualBox is a Virtual Machine Manager. That means that it is a program that pretends to be a separate computer, onto which you can load different operating systems. Unlike Parallels or VMWare, it is free. Unlike Q, it has a gorgeous fullscreen display when running Haiku. Using VirtualBox enables you to try out Haiku Alpha1 without buying a new machine or partitioning a disk.
This is not necessarily the only way to install Haiku into VirtualBox. It is a way that worked for me, after much tinkering. Feel free to adapt these instructions to your own circumstances.

  • VirtualBox version: 3.0.6 r52128
  • Host OS: Mac Os X 10.5.8
  • Guest OS: Haiku R1 Alpha1

1. Install VirtualBox in Mac OSX.
2. Download the .ISO image of Haiku. Burn it to CD (This is optional. You could boot directly from the .ISO. I just like having a physical CD.)
3. Start up Virtualbox and create a new VM. In the Wizard, set the Operating System to Other and the Version to Other/Unknown. Name it Haiku.
4. 512 MB memory should be plenty for Haiku.
5. Create a new „hard disk“. Leave the „Boot hard disk“ box ticked. You can use a dynamic disk. Make it 4 GB or more if you can spare the disk space.
6 Now click on Settings and use the following:

  • General | Advanced: Disable the shared clipboard (won’t work anyway). Check Remember Runtime changes.
  • System | Motherboard: Make sure the CD/DVD is checked in the boot order. Uncheck Floppy.
  • System | Processor: If you have a Core2Duo processor, you can specify 2 cpu’s. If you have an 8-core Mac pro, well, I hate you. Don’t specify more cpu’s than you actually have. Enable PAE/NX, it doesn’t seem to hurt.
  • System | Acceleration: Enable everything.
  • Display | Video: Go on, be daring, give it 32Mb to play with. Enable 3d.
  • Display| Remote Display: Disable.
  • Storage| Select the host CD/DVD drive and enable passthrough.
  • Storage | Floppy: Don’t bother. I spent a whole day trying to make Haiku on VB see a floppy image.
  • Audio: If you get this working, leave a comment. Please.
  • Networking: The default PCNET-Fast adaptor does not work. There are three Intel Pro/1000 adapters available and they all seem to work. You have four slots available, so try all three and compare the speeds once in Haiku. In each case, use Attached to Bridged adapter and attach to either Airport or to your wired connection.
  • Ports: Don’t bother. VB will see all your USB stuff, but Haiku does not seem to pick them up. Like everything else here, this may change after Alpha1.
  • Shared Folders. Don’t even try. This requires VB to supply OS-specific Guest Additions. Which they certainly don’t have for Haiku.

7. Insert the CD you made in step 2. Now close Settings and press the Start icon on VB. Your VM will boot from the CD and start the install procedure. You will need to initialise the virtual hard disk. Don’t bother with a partition scheme, just put BeFs on it. Continue installing. Remove the CD and „reboot“ the VM. Welcome to Haiku! The only Setting that you really need to consider within Haiku is screen size. On my 20′ iMac, I find that 1280×1024 works best in fullscreen mode. If you are going to use windowed mode, you’ll want to use less.
8. Use Command-F to toggle between windowed and fullscreen modes. The Command key by itself will toggle the mouse and keyboard between Host and Guest OS.
FAQ: doesn’t a VMM impose a heavy performance penalty?
A: Yes, but on today’s machines, and with a lean Guest OS like Haiku, who cares? That teapot is spinning so fast I can’t really make out the framerate.


Comments: 5


Thank you for writing this, it was quite helpful.



Thanx for the information. Please provide download link to Haiku Alpha1 if possible. As I am new to OS X. I do not know much about it.



@r4_sdhc: You can find out all about Haiku at



I’ve got sound working with virtualbox and opensound



It works as mentioned on R1a2 also.



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