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How to Install Linux (CentOS 8) on an Apple Mac

Do you want to install Linux on your Mac? Did you know, with virtualization you can run Linux alongside macOS and switch between operating systems without restarting your computer?

It’s easy to do, and this step-by-step tutorial will show you how.

Install VMware Fusion

VMware Fusion is a desktop virtualization program that lets you run multiple operating systems on your Mac at the same time. So for example, you can run Windows, Linux and FreeBSD and switch between them without restarting your Mac.

This is great, because you can test software on a machine similar to production without needing extra hardware. VMware also gives you the ability to create snapshots, which lets you reverse any configuration changes to the operating system, at the click of a button.

Download and install VMware Fusion* on your Mac, then we’ll go through the steps to create a CentOS Linux 8 virtual machine.

See also: How to Run Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL 8) on an Apple Mac

Download CentOS

Before we begin, you should have VMware Fusion* installed on your Mac and have downloaded the minimal CentOS Linux 8 ISO.

With that done, let’s begin.

Step 1: Create Virtual Machine

Open VMware Fusion, click + then New…

The Easy Install feature would not work for me with version 11.5.6 of VMware Fusion. I’m guessing there’s a problem with the kickstart script because the installation would fail with an error message at the end.

To get around this problem, I used the Create a custom virtual machine option.

Select CentOS 8 64-bit then click Continue.

Select Legacy BIOS then click Continue.

Select Create a virtual disk then click Continue.

Click Customize Settings.

Enter a name and location to save the VM, then click Save.

Click CD/DVD (IDE).

Select Choose a disc or image from the picker.

Browse to the CentOS minimal ISO image then click Open.

Connect the ISO by checking the Connect CD/DVD Drive option.

Close the Settings window then power on the VM.

Step 2: Install CentOS

Select Install CentOS Linux 8 then press Enter.

Wait for the graphical user interface installer to load.

Select your language then click Continue.

Select Installation Destination.

Select the VMware drive then click Done.

Click Begin Installation.

While the files are being copied assign a root password and create a user.

Once the installation is finished, click Reboot.

You are now ready to login with the user, you just created.

Step 3: Configure Network

Once you login to the system for the first time, you will notice the internet does not work. This is because the network needs to be configured. You can enable the network adapter by running the following command:

ifup ens33

You should now be able to ping Google:


Note: The network adapter will not be enabled after restarting the OS. In order to make the adapter enable when the OS boots, edit the /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-ens33 file so that the ONBOOT is set to yes.

Step 4: Install VMware Tools

Now that you have internet access, you can install VMware Tools with the following command:

yum install open-vm-tools

VMware Tools makes the VM run faster and it let’s you copy and paste between the Mac and VM when using a desktop operating system.


VMware Fusion* is a desktop virtualization program that lets you run multiple operating systems on a Mac at the same time. In this tutorial, you used it to create a CentOS Linux 8 virtual machine.