An OS Within an OS: Installing Ubuntu Linux in Mac OS X

This post covers the installation of VirtualBox on a Mac, in this case, my 13″ Macbook Air.

Surprisingly, I found the procedure super easy to do, although somewhat lengthy, as you first have to install VirtualBox and get it going first. And then you have to install Ubuntu Linux, which is quite simple as well for a Linux distro, but is another rather lengthy and involved procedure.

The complete procedure on how to do all this can be found at

How to set up Ubuntu Linux on a Mac — it’s easy and free

Why would anyone want to do this?


  • If you are a software developer, you’ll definitely need to be savvy with the UNIX and Linux environments. And if you are on a Mac, what better way to become familiar with Linux by being able to use Linux within your more familiar Mac OS X environment.
  • If you are developing Mac applications you are best served to use the Xcode environment that is FREE by downloading it from the Apple Store. With Xcode you can easily create a Mac App in just a few steps. Of course, you’ll need to know how to code in Objective C in order to create the entire application. But getting the interface right with Xcode will make this that much easier.
  • Just the familiarity and opportunity to become familiar with not just one operating system, but to become more fluent in 2 or 3 (or more) operating systems will be a big plus.
  • And last but not least, because you can! But, for programmers and coders who want to have the best of all worlds and install different operating systems within a main operating system. Being able to do this with VirtualBox is an amazing feat!


  • Running more than one operating system on a laptop or desktop computer can obviously put more strain on your processor in the long run.
  • Your computer might run slower with multiple operating systems running at the same time.
  • Mac OS X already runs UNIX under the hood of the elegant Mac User Interface. So, running another UNIX-type OS like Linux might seem redundant, actually.

Video on How to Do It

Quick Conclusion

There are many benefits to running Linux on Mac OS X. But at the same time Mac OS X already is running UNIX underneath, and you can easily access the command line to do some highly technical tasks there.

Although, it would be good in general to have the capability to run multiple operating systems in one laptop.

So, VirtualBox is a great thing to have on Mac OS X in case you need it. If you are a software developer, chances are this is going to be a great thing to have, if you are not using it already.



Carlos Rull

Carlos Rull is a musician living in the San Diego area. His interests include Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Zen Buddhism, and Gardening. He plays drums, piano, and composes New Age & Ambient music, and his albums are available on iTunes and

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