Installation of OpenStep 4.2 in
VMware 3.0 and VirtualBox
Version 1.12 - Oct 30th, 2009
Original page at http://www.moldus.org/GNUstep/OS42_Install.html
UPDATE #2:Thanks to astroboy for making the audio driver work again!
UPDATE #1:The instructions below have also been used successfully to install OpenStep
4.2 on a VirtualBox 2.1 virtual machine.
Being a GNUstep developer in the years 2000s I find it very handy to have the original
OpenStep software at hand to quickly check something about OpenStep
original look and feel or APIs. Having a second PC just for the purpose
of running OpenStep was not very practical: first because the hardware
supported by OpenStep 4.2 is now getting out of date and second because
interrupting your development work and reboot is really tedious. Of
course you also have the option of buying one of these wonderful
original NeXT black hardware... In this case I wish you good luck! (I
have one of these by the way ;-).
So one day I decided that it would be really cool and very handy if VMware could host OpenStep 4.2 for
Intel. A quick search in the comp.sys.next.* and vmware.* newsgroup did
not prove very useful and the various attempts apparently failed... This
is where I decide to try it by myself and after many hours of trial and
error I was able to make it work !!
Just to prove that it really works and before we jump into the
installation let's have a look at a couple of screenshots showing VMware
running OpenStep 4.2:
- Screenshot 1 showing
OpenStep 4.2 running with the default VGA driver (640x480 B&W)
- Screenshot 2 showing
OpenStep 4.2 running with the Bill Bereza's SVGA driver (800x600 true
The procedure below was documented using VMware 3.0 for Linux and
Windows. Ken Turner reported a successful installation with VMware 3.0
running on Windows XP. In any case I recommed that you also read
Ken's web page especially because it speaks about the installation of
OpenStep 4.2 in the Virtual PC
This page has been put together on a voluntary basis. I offer
absolutely no guarantee what soever that the installation will work for
you. I take no responsibility for loss of data or system corruption
caused by use or misuse of software cited on this page. Also note that
VMware does not support OpenStep 4.2 for Intel. If you have
questions send them to me (laurent AT moldus DOT org) or even better to
the vmware newsgroups (news.vmware.com)
A big thank to:
- the GNUstep project and its community for keeping me awake at
- Alex Protopopescu <lipi AT flounder DOT vmware DOT com>
from VMware who gave me the very last little trick to make VMware
- Uli Zappe <uli AT ritual DOT org> for posting a message
in the comp.sys.next.hardware newsgroup that helped me solved the
problem with the buggy OpenStep rc.cdrom script.
- Kent Adler <kadler AT vmware DOT com> from VMware Inc. who
has generously donated 4 VMware workstation 3.0 licenses to developers
working on GNUstep.
- Bill Bereza, Frederic Stark, Peter Rasmussen for developing an
Openstep SVGA driver for VMWare.
And now let's go !!
- Get the latest version of VirtualBox from www.virtualbox.org. I personally used
version 1.5.4 for Linux but astroboy reported a succesfull installation on version 3.0.8 as well so it seems that about any version of VirtualBox should do. If you find a version of VirtualBox that doesn't work then let us know.
- Get the latest version of VMware from www.vmware.com. I personally used
VMware Beta 3.0 (with an evaluation license) for Linux. It may work
with VMware 2.x but I've not tried It may also work for VMware
for Windows but I haven't tried that either (feedback welcome).
- OpenStep 4.2
- Of course you must have OpenStep 4.2 for Intel CDs at hand: the
User CD and possibly the Developer CD if you want to install the
- Then you need the OpenStep 4.2 Installation floppy (boot
floppy). Get it from the
Apple Support Site (Here is also a local copy)
- You also need the Device Drivers Floppy.
Problem is that the original floppy from the Apple FTP site does not
contain the drivers we need (the latest version of the EIDE (v4.03) and
EISA drivers (v4.05) are required). So it means I had to build my own.
Plus there is a bug in the /etc/rc.cdrom install script on the OpenStep
4.2 User CD which makes it impossible to install the PIIX variant of
the EIDE driver on the Hard Disk !!! So go and get my customized Device
Driver Floppy image or it won't work.
To build the floppies from the images, insert a blank floppy in
your floppy drive and type the following command:
dd if=name_of_the_floppy_image of=/dev/fd0
VMware Installation and Configuration
To install VMware just follow the normal procedure.
- Install the VMware RPM and after installation run
- Then launch VMware and use the Configuration Wizard to create a
new virtual machine.
Allocate 32MB of memory (or more if you have plenty of RAM). Size
a virtual IDE disk of about 600 MB and finish the Wizard.
- Eventhough we are installing OpenStep 4.2 make sure you
choose Linux as the Guest OS for this virtual machine.
- For Windows users: choose the "Custom" configuration in the
Then click on the Settings->Configuration Editor. We are now
going to tune our Virtual machine settings
Go to the IDE section and open it.
- For Windows users: at the last step of the Configuration
Wizard, choose "Advanced>" and changed the hard drive to IDE 0:0.
That's it for the moment (I did not configure any ethernet,
serial or parallel port to start with). Save your virtual machine
- For Linux users: remove the CDROM device that is by default
configured as a master on the secondary IDE channel. Then re-create
the CDROM as a slave unit on the primary IDE channel (the same as the
one for the IDE disk). Make the CDROM point to /dev/hdc (or whatever
Linux device your CDROM is connected to). Check the Start
Connected box. Then Save.
- For Windows users: just modify the existing CDROM device to 0:1
IDE, and enable raw access. Then Save
OpenStep 4.2 Installation and Configuration
Part 1: Installation of the OS Basics
- Insert the OS 4.2 Installation in the floppy drive, the OS USer
CD in the CDROM drive and "Power On" your virtual machine. When the boot
prompt appears on the screen type -s to boot in single
user mode. Then answer a couple of questions about language, keyboard,
- When asked, insert the Device Drivers floppy (the customized one!)
- Then OS asks you to tell what driver must be used for your CDROM
drive. A list shows up. Type 7 twice to go to the end of the list and
choose driver #2 "Intel PIIX PCI EIDE/ATAPI Device Controller
- OS then asks the exact ssame question for your Hard disk. Do the
same as before. Type 7 twice and finally choose 2 again (yes I know it's
the same driver but don't worry)
- At that point you are asked if you want to load additional
drivers. Say yes : type 2, then 7 and finally choose the Floppy Disk
- Then type 1 to continue.
- At this point you should see the boot screen with loads of
messages. Verify that both the Hard disk and the CDROM are detected ok.
Then you get the shell prompt (#). Make sure the Device Driver floppy
a) is still in the floppy drive and b) is writable. Then type:
mount -n /dev/fd0a /install
- From there the installation should go smoothly, choose the entire
virtual hard disk for installation.
- At the end you of the installation you'll see a message
saying "Patching the EIDE driver....". Then 2 lines about problems
related to ejecting the floppy. Don't pay attention to it.
- DO NOT REMOVE THE FLOPPY YET. Press return as
requested and wait for the virtual machine to reboot. Then remove the
- End of the first phase.
Part 2: OS Configuration
- Shortly after restarting, you should see the OpenStep Welcome
Screen (loading Openstep, Reading Openstep Configuration,etc...)
- Then OS wants to load the EISA driver again. Insert the
Customized Device Driver Disk as requested and type 1
- Then you go through the Startup Phase (nothing asked and it
finally says startup complete)
- An alert box will show up asking you to load the EISA driver from
the floppy disk. Insert the floopy and click OK
- Then comes the Configure Panel
End of configuration phase
- Click on the Display icon and choose "Default VGA" as the
display driver if you are using VMWare. I tried the SVGA but it then gives a black scree so it
looks like VMware does not support the 0x6a VESA mode.
With VirtualBox you can choose the "Generic SVGA" driver down the list. It works well and will give you a more comfortable 800x600 screen resolution.
- Do not install other peripherals for the moment. Just click on
the Save button.
Part 3: Software components Installation
When you see the Install NextStep dialog box on the screen proceed as
for a normal OpenStep installation. Choose the software components you
want install. Then click on "Install". At the end of this installation
phase OS restarts and then you'll be automatically put in the OpenStep
desktop under the default "me" user.
From here do the following
- Run the Preference application (Double click on the clock icon)
- Click on the Lock icon and choose a password for the "me" user
- logout. The login screen should pop up on the screen this time
- Type root in the login field and no password.
- Once on the desktop put the Developer CD if you have one in the
- Go into the Developer CD/NextCD/packages and install the
following packages (in this order):
Part 4: Fine tuning the drivers setup
Now that you have a working system, you can install a couple of other
drivers to enhance your OpenStep system:
- Network: From
Ken Tuner's Web page and the feedback I have from other users, it
sounds like the network interface works (sort of) ok using the AMD
PCnet-32 Ethernet driver. The networking setup is standard VMware
bridged network and standard OS42 network - AMDPCnet32NetworkDriver.
Peter Rasmussen <rasmus AT interactive-technology DOT com> however
reported packet loss problem with this driver. So any help/hint is
- Display: Out of the box, only the VGA (640x480 black and
white) OpenStep driver works ok with VMware. Fortunately Frederic Starck
and Peter Rasmussen put some code together and we now have a working
(though very alpha) OpenStep SVGA driver.
- Frederic Starck <fred AT almonde DOT com> has a Windows SVGA driver
that will work for OpenStep 4.2 installed on VMWare for Linux
- Peter Rasmussen <rasmus AT interactive-technology DOT
com> modified the original code and made a Linux SVGA driver that works
if you have VMware running on Linux
- Bill Bereza <billbereza@ AT tomicobject DOT com has also
developed a SVGA
driver for OpenStep that works with VMWare for Linux and Windows.
The driver works very well for Linux in full screen mode. It has some
glitches on Windows (like the other drivers) due to a problem in VMWare
for Windows. Detailed setup instructions are available on Bill's page.
To install these drivers, download one of the tar files above. Copy the
file in your OpenStep environment and you can either rebuilt it from
source or install the binary version of it directly in OpenStep. To do
so follow the steps below
- copy the *.config file to /usr/Devices
- open /NextAdmin/Configure.app
- select display drivers - it should be autodetected if this is
your first driver else just click Add and select it from the list
- save and reboot your virtual OpenStep machine
Alejandro Diaz Infante (aka astroboy) managed to make the OpenStep Sound Blaster driver work under VMWare and VirtualBox.
The solution: use the drivers created by University of Glasgow (Thanks, developer(s) of them, wherever you are, for drivers you never imagined would be so useful in the future).
That's it. Put those audio CD's and multimedia apps back!
- Download SBSoundMidi.I.b.tar.gz and SBMixer.I.tar.gz
- Install SBSoundMidi driver for either Vibra16Cpnp or AWE32pnp. Both work great! (I use the default irq and io, but the second DMA I put it on 7, 'cause it was the detected one when used VMWare to test Windoze. Anyway, I didn't detect any failure when using the second DMA in its default of 5, so I guess it could be up to you. In VirtualBox I didn't change any default setting, just select the driver "SoundBlaster 16" in VirtualBox audio setting before installing.
- Install SBMixer to have better control of your sound card.
- Serial Port: serial port
is an easy one. Follow theses steps as documented by astroboy (assuming you are using COM1 port aka /dev/ttyS0 on Linux):
- In VMWare setup COM1 in Serial Ports Section to Type: "Device",
Path: "/dev/ttyS0", and checked "Start connected"
- The IO Device Configuration of the first serial port in VMware
BIOS was set to "Auto"
- In Configure.app, OpenStep automatically added Serial Port v.
4.00 during setup, so I just added TTY Port Server.
- Others: astroboy has succeeded in installing a number of other drivers like PPP and printer drivers. If you succedeed in installing any other kind of
device drivers then let me know.
Hope you enjoyed the trip! And that you are now having fun with
OpenStep 4.2 in VMware. Pending problems where contribution would be
- It is a bit slow... Which I think is rather normal because:
- I was using VMware 3.0 beta which runs in Debug mode and is
said to be substantially slower than the final release. ( UPDATE: I do
confirm that the final version is much faster than the beta version.
Response time is good even on my modest Pentium III 400 Mhz laptop)
- There is no VMware tools to optimize OpenStep display, etc. as
there are for Linux or Windows guest OS.
- It would be great if sbdy could find a way to put the SVGA driver
to work... 640x480 is really small. Or if any other display driver works
please let us know.
UPDATE: we now have a SVGA
driver working! See device driver section just above
Comments, feedback, ideas welcome.
Laurent Julliard <laurent AT moldus DOT org>