How to install openSUSE 11 in OS X using Parallels – a complete walkthrough

This tutorial will take you every single step of the way through installing openSUSE 11 using Parallels Desktop 6.0 for MacParallels Desktop for Mac


This tutorial is for anyone with an Intel based Mac who is curious about Linux – specifically openSUSE, and has about an hour to kill (not including the time it takes to download openSUSE).

The steps and screenshots used for this tutorial are specific to an older version of Parallels Desktop 6.0 for MacParallels Desktop for Mac running on a MacBook Pro w/ OS X (10.5.5). With that said, they will be nearly identical if you have a Mac Pro, Mac Mini, MacBook or any other Intel based Apple Mac running Tiger or Leopard, and the actual process is still quite similar.

As you may have noticed, here at Simple Help we often recommend software, and 90-something percent of the time that software is free. Parallels isn’t free, but it really is worth the cost. It will allow you to run other operating systems (like openSUSE) on your Mac – without having to worry about any of your OS X settings, documents or files being accidentally deleted. And if you don’t like openSUSE you can trash it and carry on like it never happened.

One other (major) benefit of using Parallels is that you run the other operating system (in this case openSUSE) while OS X is running. You don’t need to restart your Mac each time you want to switch from OS X to openSUSE and vice-versa.

Read more about Parallels Desktop Parallels Desktop 6.0 for Machere.

About openSUSE

The openSUSE project is a worldwide community program sponsored by Novell that promotes the use of Linux everywhere. The program provides free and easy access to openSUSE. Here you can find and join a community of users and developers, who all have the same goal in mind — to create and distribute the world’s most usable Linux.

Installing openSUSE in Parallels Desktop

  1. First things first. You’ll need to download openSUSE 11.0. From the download page select the 32 Bit PC version (yes, even though you have a Mac). Choose the LiveCD installation medium – if you want all of the software included on the DVD you can always download it separately later. Finally, decide if you want to use the Gnome or KDE version. I opted for KDE, so the screenshots in this tutorial are specific to it, but you should have no problem following along if you prefer Gnome. Plus, you can always switch from one to the other later if you prefer. The download itself uses bittorrent – if you need help setting up and using a bittorrent client in OS X, see this tutorial.

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  3. Once the download has completed, you can burn the .iso file to a CD, or just boot from the .iso in Parallels. I’ll outline both methods in this tutorial. Launch Parallels Desktop and select File -> New to create a new virtual machine for openSUSE.
  4. Select Custom as the installation mode, and click Next.

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  6. From the OS Type: drop-down menu select Linux and from the OS Version: select SUSE Linux. Click Next.

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  8. Now you’ll have to decide how much memory (RAM) you want to allocate to openSUSE. I opted for 512MB, as I have 2GB of RAM on my MacBook Pro. If you have less memory on your Mac, I’d suggest sticking with the default of 256MB. If you have more, you can increase the memory for openSUSE. When you’ve set your preference, click Next.

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  10. Choose Create a new hard disk image and click Next to continue.

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  12. Decide how large you want your ‘virtual hard drive’ to be. As indicated by the screenshot below, I set mine at approximately 15GB. Select Expanding as the format for your virtual hard disk. This means that even if you allocated 15GB to openSUSE, it won’t actually use that much space until you “fill” the openSUSE drive. After you’ve completed the installation, your openSUSE virtual disk will be about 2GB in size, so if you set your drive to be 15GB, you’ll have about 13GB left to install additional programs etc. Once you’ve made your choice, click Next.

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  14. Select Shared Networking as your networking option, and click Next.

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  16. Give your virtual machine a name. Anything will do, but a descriptive name is ideal, especially if you plan on installing multiple virtual operating systems. Click the arrow next to More Options and decide if you want Parallels Desktop to create a shortcut to openSUSE on your Desktop. You can also change the location that your virtual machine is saved if you wish. When you’re done, click Next.

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  18. Select Virtual machine (recommended) as the one optimized for performance, and yet again, click Next.

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  20. If you burned the .iso file to a disk, insert it into your CD/DVD drive now. Make sure Start SUSE Linux installation is selected, and click Finish. Skip down to step #15 below.

    If you’re going to boot from the .iso file itself, continue with the next step.

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  22. Click the arrow next to More Options and select ISO image. Then click the Choose… button.

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  24. Navigate to your openSUSE .iso file, select it and click Open.

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  26. Make sure Start SUSE Linux installation is selected, and click Finish.

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  28. Parallels Desktop will now boot openSUSE. Right away you’ll be prompted to Load boot graphics. Click the y key on your keyboard to indicate “yes”.

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  30. Next you’ll be asked if you want openSUSE to Detect display size. Again, click the y key on your keyboard.

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  32. Hit any key on your keyboard when prompted.

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  34. Again, hit any key on your keyboard.

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  36. The openSUSE graphical welcome screen will load.

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  38. Make sure openSUSE-11.0 is highlighted (it should be by default) and click the enter key on your keyboard.
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  40. openSUSE will start up.

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    Continue to the second part of this tutorial on the next page

3 thoughts on “How to install openSUSE 11 in OS X using Parallels – a complete walkthrough”

  1. This helped me a lot, thanks!

    On my PC I have one partition with Mac OS X and Parallels. With Parallels I have Vista and now openSUSE. On my other partition I have Vista. I always wanted to have a third partition with SUSE but I also always encountered errors with my USB flash drive. So, at least for now, this will be the alternative . . . and that’s not at all bad!

    Again, thanks.

  2. Great help – thanks!

    I am using Parallels Desktop 4, so there was a bit of difference, but nothing confusing. I used the ISO image, 512MB RAM, 16GB expanding HD, and basically all the recommended settings on my MacBook Pro with 2GB RAM. Worked like a charm.

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