frmo76
Contributor
Contributor

Fusion 12 and compatibility with M1 / Big Sur - not relevant any longer

Update : Ok, after some more digging, I finally understand that Fusion is not compatible with M1 chip for the time being. I'll have to find another way to run my old business application. Sorry for the trouble.

 

Hello,

I'm new at VMWare Fusion, I've downloaded the trial version of Fusion Pro for Mac OS to run an old version of Mac OS (10.6 server). The version 12 is said to be compatible with both Big Sur and M1 chip. I've 2 computers : one iMac Pro running Big Sur and one brand new MacBook Pro with M1 chip also running Big Sur.

The installation runs well on the iMac and the old Mac OS version is running smoothly.

When I try the same process on the MacBook, I get an error (in French) that translates like this: "Fail to activate /Users/myuser/Documents/MacOSX.vmwarevm/Mac OS X Server 10.6 64 bits.vmx'

I've tried to migrate the VM created on the iMac and to create a new VM from scratch using Apple MacOS 10.6 server installer. But it still crashes with the same error on my MacBook. I also tried to install earlier version of Mac OS and even Windows 10 but always get the same message.

Do you have any idea or any suggestion ? I'm glad I did not buy it yet since I tend to doubt the real compatibility of the product.

Thank you for your support

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68 Replies
AndrewP-2
Contributor
Contributor

Yes, I can confirm that despite falsely advertising on VMWares product page that it supports all macs since 2012, the product is indeed not compatible with the M1 chip. I'm currently working with @Mikero to get the marketing issues resolved on VMWares end.

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sleguyader
Contributor
Contributor

Hi 

Have you got an estimate date when Fusion 12 will be compatible with M1 processor and Big Sur OS (in particular on mac mini 2020) ?

thanks

best regards

  

wila
Leadership
Leadership

Hi,

VMware does normally not release time lines (and I do not work for VMware).
Having said that...

There's been mentions that M1 support will not be available this year, it will be somewhere next year (2021).

Also note that while you then will be able to run virtual machines on your M1 mac, it will still not run virtual machines that require an intel or amd processor.
There's some talk that intel processor emulation is being investigated by VMware, but if and when that happens is unsure.

Here's another thread on the subject:
https://communities.vmware.com/t5/VMware-Fusion-Discussions/VMware-Fusion-12-running-on-Apple-Silico...

hope this helps,
--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
rickaustin
Contributor
Contributor

Ah, Parallels then - they released a version today that works on Apple Silicon (M1)

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hohu67
Contributor
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The parallels version - a technical preview - does only work with ARM-Guest-OS. So no windows and no use of virtual machines, that have been created using an intel-mac or that are emulating an OS for Intel-chips.

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dlhotka
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Champion

And no suspend, no auto-shutdown, tons of other limitations - it's a very rudimentary option.

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IHateallWindows
Contributor
Contributor

I can confirm 100% that Parallels does not work on the M1 Chip Macs and Mac Minis. 

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savm
Contributor
Contributor

What about running Big Sur as a VM with Fusion 12 with M1 running on Big Sur? I get the same error as if I try to run Windows. I would think Big Sur would work as a VM. Please let me know what you think. Thank you

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dlhotka
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It simply won't work.  There is no virtualization of the ARM CPU in the current version of Fusion.  Until that changes, there's nothing to be done.

 

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philippeannet
Contributor
Contributor

I don't know why people are expecting this... it was already stated many times that an ARM version of Fusion will NOT run Intel guests. It would be nice, but as Apple is not ready to share its Intel emulator, nor Parallels, nor VMWare will do the huge (!!!!!!!) investments required to develop their own...

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BobDC
Contributor
Contributor

Someone's got to do it if they want these to live in Windows businesses.  It's not like it hasn't been done before, remember Virtual PC and various other emulator environments. (QEMU which runs on the M1 already, but is not feature complete.  I have run a couple different x86 Windows versions, but no working networking..)

And then there's another type, like Rosetta 2 for MacOS, translation, which is definitely a possibility.

It's not rocket science and I for one, need it occasionally.

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dlhotka
Champion
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Actually, it *is* rocket science.  Getting an emulator right is extremely difficult, and what Apple's been able to do with Rosetta 2 is pretty impressive. But that's only a portion of the work required to be able to emulate a CPU for an entire operating system.  The best short term bet is Microsoft's x86 emulation inside of Windows ARM (which is akin to Rosetta) but it isn't very good at the moment.  It's a bit of a moot point as well, since it's only licensed to OEM's.

The open question is will Apple either enable/allow/support Fusion using Rosetta 2, or will VMWare decide they want to be in the emulation rather than virtualization business.  My crystal ball is pretty cloudy on that - the only thing it shows is that anyone who needs intel workloads for the foreseeable future needs to use an intel machine.  Hopefully we'll get a nice surprise at some point this year, but step one is Fusion for ARM guests.  I hope we'll see that in the next few weeks or months.  After that, well, best guess would be fall (maybe part of the new OS).

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BobDC
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No, it's not rocket science, far from it.  I've been working with emulators and virtualization for decades and on many platforms. (I was a Microsoft MVP in the virtual machine area with Virtual PC, and up through Hyper-V. And that wasn't the first I'd worked with emulators.)

Anyway, I have Windows on ARM running in Parallels on my M1 Mac.  It's not good enough for work, it just doesn't run well enough.  It's early beta level quality and I don't like the way it does the x86 code.  If you think Windows had a multiple dll versions problem before, you haven't seen nothing yet.  Like you say, they'd really have to license it for it to be useful. (and get a lot better!)

>The open question is will Apple either enable/allow/support Fusion using Rosetta 2, or will VMWare decide they want to be in the emulation rather >than virtualization business.

That is an interesting question, but I suspect it's way too much targeted at MacOS x86 for it to be useful to emulate x86 Windows in a VM. Really, the code is out there for x86(64) emulation in many different things.  All it would really take is the boot environment tweaking, and a set of drivers to run in the VM to get decent performance. QEMU already does the emulation part, even the boot environment, but it lacks the drivers for the VM's. 

Having worked with the Parallels beta, I can't say as I'm interested in M1 virtualization at all, so I doubt I'd buy anyone's version of it.  I do like my M1 based Macbook Air, it's fast and stable for Most MacOS stuff, but for work, ehhhhh. (And I doubt I'll buy another M1 machine until there's a decent emulator or translator for Windows x86 stuff.)  I live in a very Windows world. 😞

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philippeannet
Contributor
Contributor

I doubt that’s Apple’s strategy... if they were convinced that most of their users were dependent on x86 code, they wouldn’t have made the M1 move at all.

I guess their bet is that mature and performant Mx versions of 99% of all packages will be available by the time the move will be completed... and that x86 dependent users will stick to x86 Macs in the mean time. And the fact that Windows on ARM is likely to somehow catch up in that timeframe as well, won’t push Apple to further invest in full x86 backward compatibility...

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dlhotka
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Champion

You're referring to Mac apps - there's a ton of enterprise software that is windows x86 only, that people use either boot camp or a hypervisor to run. None of that will ever be ported to the Mx chipset.

I think you're right though, Windows ARM with x86 emulation is probably the only realistic hope, and that's going to be a year or so out.  

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Technogeezer
Expert
Expert

Something to think about: if you are part of a large organization and it's anything like mine, they're pushing the use of a Windows Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Instead of installing those "enterprise apps" on your Windows device, they set you up with a Windows virtual machine somewhere in the company. The applications run there instead of on your device and you access that VM with a thin client (examples: VMware Horizon or Microsoft Remote Desktop). Since these "thin clients" run on the Mac, the need to run Windows enterprise apps on a local Mac may not be necessary - at least in the eyes of your IT staff.

 

 

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dlhotka
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Yup, that works for some of them, but not all.  And for small business it's not an option.  There's lots of independent designers who use solidworks for example.

But, especially for games, I think that's the future of Mac gaming - it'll be in the cloud rather than on your own machine.

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BobDC
Contributor
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>None of that will ever be ported to the Mx

 

I have no doubt that we'll get a functional emulator for x86 Windows.  It wont come from Apple, but it'll come.

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BobDC
Contributor
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>if you are part of a large organization and it's anything like mine, they're pushing the use of a Windows Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

 

Very true.  Not for my size organization (cost prohibitive), but bigger, yep, that'd solve that problem. 

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