MacBook 6,1 (Late-2009) with Mac OS X on VirtualBox

*** Please read your EULA carefully prior to completing this installation. Note that I have not made use of any hacks or tools and have used only my Apple recovery DVD. OS X Server is allowed to be virtualized under certain conditions on Apple-branded hardware, and I am running an Apple machine. My intent is not to cheat Apple, as I have already purchased their hardware and, presumably, their software. ***

My main system is a MacBook 6,1 (late-2009) model on which I normally run Ubuntu. However, I have been trying to find a way to run OS X under emulation (to avoid bootloader issues and to simply have it ready all the time). After researching for quite some time, I decided that it might be worth a shot to simply try running the restore discs that came with the machine under VirtualBox.

First, I downloaded VirtualBox 4.0.4 from Oracle (, 64-bit version for Ubuntu 10.10. The version that is available through the repositories is missing some functionality as it is the open source version. I also downloaded the extension pack so that full USB capabilities would be available.

After installing VBox, I went ahead and setup a new virtual machine, selecting OS X Server 64-bit as the machine type, memory set to 2048 MB, and graphics memory set to 128 M (with 3D acceleration enabled). I also changed the networking to Bridged mode as this tends to work better for my purposes.

When first running the machine, insert the first disc that came with the machine and configure VBox to use that disc. You’ll see a lot of console information go by before the installation screens finally start. Once you’re in the GUI and at the point where you would normally select the drive to install to, there won’t be a drive available. Click on the Utilities menu and Disk Tools. With the correct drive selected, click the Partition tab and replace Current with 1 Partition. Make sure the partition is configured as HFS+ Journaled and then click the Partition button. Once complete, close the Disk Tool window. Your drive should now be visible as an option for installation.

Make sure you click Customize and select any additional software prior to continuing. Then click Install and find a few web sites to surf (

Amazingly, everything except video seems to work properly straight out of the box. The video works fine, I just haven’t found a way to change the resolution to 800×600 (at 1024×768, the default, it overflows the screen and I have to scroll). Sound seems to work, although it’s not great quality sometimes. The system is responsive and I haven’t encountered any problems thus far.

I’ll be installing all my normal Mac software over the next few days and will try to remember to post updates.

This marks the point of having Ubuntu 10.10 64-bit as my main O/S, with Windows 7 64-bit and Mac OS X 64-bit both available any time I need them. I recommend the 8 GB upgrade mentioned elsewhere, however, as 2 virtual machines will quickly eat up your available RAM if you want to have any kind of performance.

For those wondering, I enjoy the look and feel of Linux on a day to day basis better than Mac OS X and Windows. All 3 operating systems have their good and bad points and it’s really just a matter of personal choice. My main reason for purchasing the MacBook was to get a well-integrated platform to install Linux on, even if that turned out to be a pain in the derrier.

MacBook 6,1 and 640 GB Hard Drive

After my recent memory upgrade to 8 GB, I received my hard drive upgrade. Going from 250 GB to 640 GB was intended to provide sufficient space for several virtual machines for development and other purposes. I first connected the 640 GB drive via USB and used Carbon Copy Cloner to image the system drive. I then physically swapped the drives inside the MacBook. However, one step that I neglected to consider was setting the 640 GB drive to be the boot drive. I had to boot the MacBook from the original drive via USB (thankfully, the MacBooks are capable of doing that) and use System Preferences to change the boot drive.

I now have a white, polycarbonate body MacBook (6,1 or late-2009 model, whichever you prefer) up and running with 8 GB RAM and 640 GB hard drive. Works great!

MacBook 6,1 (Late 2009) and 8 GB RAM

In looking to upgrade my MacBook to a more robust machine (capable of running several VMs without coming to a standstill), I wanted to get the maximum memory possible. Although Apple supports a maximum configuration of 4 GB, I found several references for the 2009+ MacBooks indicating that there was really no reason why the system couldn’t work with 8 GB total. Several users indicated that their machines were running fine this way and I decided that it was worth a 20% restocking fee to give it a shot.

I ordered item #CT2KIT51264BC1067 from, which is a kit containing a pair of 4 GB, DDR3, PC-8500 memory sticks. These installed perfectly in the machine and resulted in OSX happily reporting 8 GB system memory available. I also have enough memory to comfortably support a Windows 7 or Ubuntu VM running with OS X rather than requiring me to halt all work except on the specific program I need on the VM.

A caveat: be very careful with the screws on the bottom cover. They are easy to lose (I’m short 1 now as I’ve had the cover off about 3 times). Also, although they appear to be standard Philips (+) screws, they are actually machined screws and you must be very careful with standard screwdrivers as they do not properly contact the screw slots. The correct screwdriver is available but costly, so I used a regular jeweler’s Philips screwdriver and a lot of care.

Next time: upgrading from the 250 GB drive to 640 GB (to make room for full-blown Windows 7 and Linux developmentĀ  environments).

Xubuntu 10.10 and Windows Shares

Ubuntu offers a more direct method of connecting to Windows shares than that provided through Xubuntu. The Places -> Connect to Server menu item that everyone is familiar with in Ubuntu isn’t there in Xubuntu, but you can start Applications -> System -> Gigolo and get mostly the same functionality. Simply click the double computer icon (the left-most) and enter the correct information.

Now, you’re probably wondering where the hell the files are mounted… the same problem actually exists in Xubuntu as Ubuntu, if you are using the vanilla system. You can easily find the mounted files by navigating Places -> {Your home}. Right click in the file area and click View Hidden Files. Now, find a folder called .gvfs (gnome virtual file system, I believe). You should see any mounted shares in that location. Click and enjoy the goodness of uploading files via Firefox, etc. The love is there, you just have to look for it.

MacBook 6,1; Windows XP; and Windows Update

I finished installing Windows XP Pro (32-bit) along with Apple’s 3.0 Boot Camp drivers (included on the main DVD). Everything seemed to be working fine but my XP version was dated, so I ran Windows Update. I mistakenly allowed it to update the NVidia 9400M driver, which completely toasted my video. I had 640×480 resolution at 2-bit color, so had to go into the device manager and completely uninstall the NVidia display device. I’m now running with VESA only, which is pretty slow compared to the built-in graphics. Here’s hoping that running the Boot Camp update 3.1 fixes the issue.

Stop 7B after Moving a Machine with VMWare Converter Tool

I recently had to move a virtual machine from Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 to VMWare ESXi 4.0. The easiest way to perform this seemed to be the VMWare Converter Tool, which worked with no problems. The machine was a Windows Web Server 2008 SP1 (not R2). When the machine was fired up, however, I got a STOP 7B code. Well, the complete code was actually STOP 0x0000007B (0x80599BB0, 0xC0000034, 0x00000000, 0x00000000). Looking through various sites, I didn’t see anything specific for this migration, but several references to hard drives not found. Checking the settings, the original system was configured as a generic SCSI device, while VMWare had automatically imported as an SAS device.

To fix the problem, I first made sure the machine was powered off and then right-clicked it in the inventory list. Select Edit Settings and then click on the SCSI controller that is listed. If it’s listed as a LSI Logic Parallel SAS controller, click Change Type and select LSI Logic Parallel instead. Reboot and the machine goes through and sets up the correct drivers with no further problems.

Don’t forget to install VMWare Guest Additions. Even if you remote into your system from another machine most of the time, there are still some good drivers.

Systemax 4110 with Ubuntu 10.04, Part 2

Yesterday, I attempted to install Ubuntu 10.04 through the Alternative distribution in the hopes that it would give me more flexibility in selecting or manually editing the graphics driver for X to be used. Unfortunately, the results are less than stellar. In short, it appears that the drivers that come with Ubuntu are not going to function properly and I haven’t even been able to get a stable system boot to manually edit any files. I’ve essentially had to give up on Ubuntu 10.04 on the Systemax 4110 for now as I have too many other pressing concerns. I’ll be trying with Slackware to see how it performs and will try Ubuntu when 10.10 is released in the October-ish time-frame.

Systemax 4110 and AROS (Icaros 1.2.3)

I now have Icaros 1.2.3 setup to dual-boot with Windows XP on a Systemax 4110 (same thing as a Uniwill 223II0). I’m currently using the default VESA graphics and the wireless card (Intel 2200) doesn’t work as there are no wireless drivers available for AROS at this point, but so far the machine seems to be more stable than my desktop machine.

Out-of-the-box, the Intel drivers on the live cd and on the installed version will not work. The 4110 has one of the older Intel chipsets and simply doesn’t work properly. However, the VESA drivers seem to work fine. Sound is improperly detected and will show up under Prefs -> AHI as Unit 0 blah blah blah. Sound doesn’t work on the default. However, if you scroll to the top of the list, you’ll hit the AC’97 sound setting, though, and this one works.

A USB connected (generic) mouse and the touchpad both seemed to work fine, as did the keyboard. Unfortunately, my built-in network card has been busted for several years so I couldn’t test it. However, it’s a Realtek 8139-based unit, so I see no reason why it wouldn’t work.

For those who might not be in the know, Icaros is a ready desktop distribution of the AROS project, which stands for Amiga Research Operating System. One primary goal is to duplicate the API of the Amiga OS 3.1 to the extent that software will cross-compile on either platform with no changes to the source code. There are many other goals and targets involved as well, though, and a full-blown UAE-based (Amiga 68k) emulator is included. Icaros is the preferred distribution as the AROS distributions from the web site are designed primarily for system developers and not for end-users.

AROS brings the look and feel of the Amiga workbench to a standard (x86) PC and is already nicely featured. Missing items include printing (unless you have the proper hardware, i.e., old printer with correct cabling), WiFi networking, and full-featured browsers. However, I’ve found that I can mostly live without oodles of Flash ads and popups, so the OWB browser has been working well. One other missing feature from OWB is the ability to properly login to a WordPress blog. I have to edit this on another machine.

You can find the main AROS site at This is the AROS system development site and is not really intended for end-users. The community site (lots of support, suggestions, bounties for features, etc) can be reached at Another site of interest is where a lot of 3rd-party software is already available. Finally, browse around the search engines and you’ll find many more sites catering to various aspects of AROS and Amigas in general.

Systemax 4110 with Ubuntu 10.04

I’ve been trying to get my trusty old Systemax 4110 (1.7 GHz CPU, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB drive) up and running with Ubuntu. Unfortunately, I have been unable to get 10.04 running so far from CD or USB due to an issue that’s occurring when the boot process switches from the normal splash screen and starts X. It looks like the Intel video driver is not compatible at some point, although Debian 5.05 loads without a hitch. Currently not sure what to make of this but I’m continuing to troubleshoot. I’ll post more when I figure out how to modify the driver being loaded during installation.

I like the 4110 (re-branded Uniwill 223II0) due to its small size and decent power. I’ve run Puppy, Vector, and several other flavors of Linux on the machine since I purchased it (2004) and have had great success with everything. This is actually the first Linux problem that I’ve encountered but rumor has it that there have been issues on certain old Intel GMA-type chipsets that are causing issues. This unit has the 855GM video in it and is probably having compatibility issues.

So far the only other real problem that I’m aware of with these PCs is the lack of SDHC support on the media card slot. I rarely have need of that function anyway, so it isn’t a showstopper for me.

Lexmark and Linux

A few weeks ago, I contacted Lexmark’s technical support to note my disappointment that no Linux drivers were available for the X6675 and other such consumer products. Many home offices use these types of machines and Linux (specifically Ubuntu) is starting to show up more. My point to their technical support group was that since they already had a fully developed Mac OS X driver, it should probably be a reasonably short cycle to also have a Linux driver.

In the past when I’ve contacted Lexmark about the lack of Linux support on their low-end and consumer machines, I’ve basically been told, “Sorry, we only support Linux on business-class products. Consumers do not run Linux.” That’s the gist of what is said, not a direct quote.

Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago when I was browsing Lexmark’s site and found a genuine driver for the X6675. Printing was now possible, although I’m not sure about scanning (I have a dedicated scanner for those needs). A huge bonus for those of us using Linux as I can now have a printer that is shared through the network with all the Windows machines and doesn’t require a serious hack to make it work. A couple of caveats, though. The driver is currently 32-bit only (just use the command-line options to force it to install anyway) and the system expects you to connect via USB cable during installation. Just exit at that point and possibly re-install the printer if necessary to get the wireless functionality. I use our X6675 with both 32 bit and 64 bit Linux using wireless (on both the PC end and the printer end) with no problems at all.

Kudos, Lexmark!