OS X Yosemite has introduced a Hypervisor framework to support user mode virtualization. xhyve is a lightweight virtualization tool that makes use of this to run Linux on OS X. The tool is a port of byhve (BSD Hypervisor) written as a KVM+QEMU alternative.
A Hypervisor or virtualization software is a collection of APIs which exposes underlying hardware (like timer, networking, block devices etc.) to a virtual machine.
- super lightweight, only 230 KB in size
- completely standalone, no dependencies
- the only BSD-licensed virtualizer on OS X
- does not require a kernel extension (bhyve’s kernel code was ported to user mode code calling into Hypervisor.framework)
- multi-CPU support
- networking support
- can run off-the-shelf Linux distributions (and could be extended to run other operating systems)
- exposes functionality to userspace
Running Tiny Core Linux
xhyve already integrates Tiny Core Linux in its repository and it’s very easy to test it out. Run:
$ git clone https://github.com/mist64/xhyve $ cd xhyve $ make $ ./xhyverun.sh
xhyve can also run Ubuntu but that involves some tricks as it does not come with a BIOS or UEFI bootloader of its own.
On GitHub: xhyve