Run FreeBSD on MacBook Pro alongside macOS
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Need to test FreeBSD on your Mac? This tutorial will show you how to install FreeBSD on a Mac using VMware Fusion*, a desktop virtualization program that lets you run multiple operating systems alongside macOS without rebooting.
Before you begin, you will need to have VMware Fusion* installed on your Mac and have download the FreeBSD 13.0 ISO.
Okay, let’s begin.
Step 1: Create the FreeBSD VM
Launch VMware Fusion, click File then New… to open the install wizard. Click Create a custom virtual machine then click Continue.
Select Other then FreeBSD 12 64-bit then click Continue.
Note: We will be installing FreeBSD 13 but the hardware version is not available in the installation wizard as of writing.
Select UEFI then click Continue.
Click Continue to create a 20 GB virtual hard disk.
Click Customize Settings.
Give the virtual machine a name, specify a location to store its files then click Save.
Click CD/DVD then select the FreeBSD ISO image you downloaded.
Click Processors and Memory and assign 1024 MB of RAM.
Click Add Device…, New Hard Disk then Add…
Assign 20 GB to the new hard disk and click Apply.
We are now ready to power on the Virtual Machine and install the FreeBSD operating system.
Step 2: Install FreeBSD
Click the Play button to power on the FreeBSD virtual machine.
Wait for FreeBSD to autoboot into the FreeBSD installer.
Press Enter or I to start the install.
Choose your keymap and make sure the @ and other special keys are mapped to the correct keys on your keyboard.
Assign a hostname for the virtual machine. For example, freebsd.
Select the system components to install. In the following example, I’ve selected everything.
Since the ISO image we downloaded is not the DVD image, extra components need to be downloaded from the web while installing. Press Enter to confirm you want to setup the network.
Select the network adapter that has NAT and DHCP enabled then press return on OK.
Choose Yes to configure IPv4.
Choose Yes too configure using DHCP.
Select both disks da0 and da1.
Confirm you want the destroy any content on the selected disks.
Wait for the files to be copied.
Assign a password for the root user.
Select your timezone.
Harden the operating system.
Click yes to create a new user. When following the wizard add the new user to the wheel group if you want the user to be able to login to root using su.
You can now power off the FreeBSD virtual machine.
Step 4: Boot FreeBSD Virtual Machine and Connect with SSH
Power on the virtual machine and wait for it to boot into multi user mode.
Login as the root user.
Run the ifconfig command to determine the IP address assigned by DHCP to the FreeBSD virtual machine.
As you can see from the screenshot above, my machine has been assigned the IP address 10.1.1.128. You can use this address and the user account you created to connect via SSH from your Mac.
Now switch to the root user with su - and install any extra packages you may need using the pkg utility. For example, you can install VMware tools with the command:
pkg install open-vm-tools
In this tutorial we learned how to install and run FreeBSD 13 on a Mac using VMware Fusion*. VMware Fusion is a tool that makes it easy for sysadmins and developers to run multiple operating systems at the same time on a Mac.