I just installed Ubuntu 10.10 on my Windows 7 box using Wubi and I'm loving it so far. One feature that I love is the fact that because I used Wubi it doesn't seem to create a separate partition. Through what I can only imagine is some VM magic Windows and Ubuntu live together on the same hard drive without a partition and you can even access Windows files from within Ubuntu and visa versa. I also have a MacBook and I would love to be able to install Ubuntu on the MacBook as well but I don't want to surrender a portion of my disk space to a different operating system. Is there currently a way to do the whole Wubi VM "virtual partition" on a Mac?


6 Answers 6


The development of a Mac Ubuntu installer is currently blocked by the lack of journalling write support in the HFS+ filesystem driver.

As Mubi obviously needs to write to the Mac filesystem, and most Macs come with HFS+ journalling turned on, this functionality needs to be present in the Linux kernel before development work on Mubi can begin in earnest.


This was originally planned as 'Mubi' , but I haven't seen any evidence it is being worked on.

If your Mac is reasonably fast you could try a virtualisation solution, for instance using VirtualBox - but this is unlikely to run as fast as with Wubi.

  • Thanks! I did a quick look up of VirtualBox and based on the screenshots it looks like it's running OS X with a VM window displaying the other OS (i.e. Ubuntu). Is it safe to assume that this approach won't give up any partitioned HD space to the VM operating system? If I understand it right, if I'm running the VM from within OS X then I'm within the OS X partition so I wouldn't need an extra partition for Ubuntu, right? If that's the case then it's just a matter of speed.
    – Adam
    Oct 15, 2010 at 16:32
  • You are completely correct in saying you won't need an extra partition. Virtualbox will create a 'virtual hard disc' that it stores as a file within your current (mac) filesystem.
    – 8128
    Oct 15, 2010 at 16:34
  • Do you know if you can boot to Ubuntu instead of running it from within Mac OS X to make it run faster?
    – Adam
    Oct 18, 2010 at 15:08
  • Not without partitioning I'm afraid (as far as I know)
    – 8128
    Oct 18, 2010 at 16:34
  • Just installed it and it is running a little slow on my machine (2 GHz Dual Core). I think I'm going to end up partitioning to make it faster but I'm marking this as the correct answer since it provided a way to install Ubuntu on a Mac without surrendering HD space to a partition (which was in fact the question). Thanks! Until Mubi...
    – Adam
    Oct 19, 2010 at 6:12

You can certainly run Ubuntu on the Virtualbox if you have it installed on Mac or Windows. you can allow sharing of files via "virtual networking" between the host and the VM.


You can always boot to a Live CD to try it out before investing time and effort with using Boot Camp Assistant. I've used it to install before and it worked just fine. Getting rid of the partitions wasn't fun. Luckily I had Time Machine so just erased all partitions and restored from Time Machine instead of finding a resolution :)


Unfortunately, there is no Mac version as yet, but developers are still working on Mubi

wubi faq says

Wubi will run on on all Windows versions from Windows 98 to Windows Vista except Windows ME. More platforms to come soon. Linux/*nix/*BSD are supported through Lubi, and Mac OSX will eventually be supported through Mubi (developers still needed).

Launchpad says

I'll try to reuse as much code as possible, while making things as mac-like as I can and use as much stuff available natively on the mac as possible. Please note however that due to lack of proper write support for journalized hfs+ in the linux kernel (which is the default file system on all new macs for some time now) it will try to use os x online resizing to make a partition that can be used for installation and set everything up to boot from a .iso and install. Failing that (because of low disk space or fragmentation (which for example can oocur if you have too low disk space and osx/hfs+' "auto-organization" doesn't work anymore) it won't work.

Means the project is not simple ,so try to install ubuntu as a dual boot or in vitualbox


I don't think there is a Wubi on Mac OS X. I have Ubuntu 11.10 on my 24" iMac and runs great. I burnt an Ubuntu CD. I installed rEFIt. I used 'Disk Utility' on my Mac to resize partition on HD. I shrunk Mac OS X to 100 gigs and made the other partition 399 gigs (type MSDOS and named LINUX) with a 1 gig swap. Or you can just resize the Mac OS X to 100 gigs and do the rest with the Ubuntu installer. I rebooted my Mac and at rEFIt menu I chose the disk to boot from. Once Ubuntu was at desktop, I did a normal install. At partition part, make sure to select your 399 gig partition, set it as '/' and continue. Don't do or change anything on any other partition. You are warned! After install, reboot into your new Ubuntu. The only problem I had was with sound and that was easily fixed here.


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