Shane Duffy

Ubuntu 7.10 Install guide – Parallels Macbook pro

Posted on: October 21, 2007

Here is how I got Ubuntu 7.10 installed and working on my parallels virtual machine, also you might find Ubuntu 7.10 Linux Unleashed a very useful book to read.

VM Memory: 512 HD size 6-10GB

1. Boot the install CD. When the menu screen comes up press F6 for boot options before it starts the install

2. Delete the ‘splash’ option and press the Return key to start up the installation. This will prevent the terminal window from being hidden by a splash screen so you can do the next steps.

3. The install system will begin to boot and the display server will die as before. However now it will go back and forth between the graphic display window and the terminal window. During the moments that it is in the terminal window you can type to the command shell. If it comes up with the window that says ‘The display server has been shut down about 6 times in the last 90 seconds’ go ahead and type Return to select the OK and you will again get the terminal window and in a few minutes get the dying display server again. Persevere and you can keep typing thing in the terminal window.

4. First type ctrl-c to kill the script and get you a shell prompt. Then using vi or pico as you prefer, edit xorg.conf as root:

sudo pico /etc/X11/xorg.conf

5. Scroll down to the Device section (not Input Device), and insert inside it the line

Option “LVDSBiosNativeMode” “false”
then save the file and exit the editor.

6. Start up the display server again by typing the command


This will bring up a window filled with a grey pattern. Have patience and wait, and in a minute or two you will get a real Ubuntu desktop with an Install icon on it. Double-click the Install icon to start up the install process.

7. The display server error will keep happening, but the install continues anyway. Whenever you get the ‘The display server has been shut down about 6 times in the last 90 seconds’ window you have to type Return again to get back to the install window. It is really annoying having to do that every few minutes, but eventually the install is completed.

8. However you are not yet done. If you reboot after the installation (remember to disconnect the install CD) you will still get that display server death problem. The next steps are to get rid of that:

9. Reboot the virtual machine and when it says to press ESC to get the boot menu, quickly press ESC to get the boot menu, scroll down, and boot in recovery mode. That gives you a root shell prompt in a terminal window.

10. Type the appropriate keys to get your mouse back and in Parallels’ Actions menu select Install Parallels Tools. That will show you instructions on how to install the tools, and will connect the tools CDROM image.

11. At the root shell prompt, type the commands that you were shown to install the tools

mount /media/cdrom
cd /media/cdrom
shutdown -r now

12. That last command reboots the virtual machine. When it comes back you should have a working Ubuntu 7.10

I would also recommend Ubuntu 7.10 Linux Unleashed, 3rd Edition


58 Responses to "Ubuntu 7.10 Install guide – Parallels Macbook pro"

[…] Updated: See Ubuntu 7.10 install guide parallels […]

[…] Updated: See Ubuntu 7.10 install guide parallels […]

Thanks for the info. With a little bit of work, I got it installed and it is working great! Thanks!

thx for the tutorial – it works! – alex

Thanks for posting these instructions, they worked perfectly! I know you posted elsewhere about it but I’ll reiterate that the 512MB VM memory limit is really something to watch out for — trying to set it higher results in modprode freaking out and you’ll never even get to step #3. I learned this lesson when I installed 7.04 under Parallels, and ran into the same issue, so I guess it’s a common limit/bug?

This didn’t work for me. After step 11, it gets stuck at “running local boot scripts” and just hangs… any ideas?

I didn’t follow any of these steps and got it working fine. The key is to use the “alternate” version of 7.10, and during the install process, when prompted, select the display resolutions that are compatible with your machine (use arrow keys to navigate to resolutions and press space to select, then return to complete the install).

If anyone could post a working parallels image to download it would be great for those of us that wants to try Ubuntu on our Macs without the hassle of the installing.

Thanks for the info. Your instructions worked great for me too.

An easier install method is to use the alternate install disk image (xubuntu-7.10-alternate-i386.iso). It ran smoothly without a hitch. This way you don’t have to futz with the command line or get those annoying display server notices.

– I used the alternate install disk image and things were fine, but the problem returned upon rebooting.
– When I choose Actions > Install Parallels Tools, nothing happens, and there is nothing at /media/cdrom. When I choose the Action menu item, the option has changed to Cancel Parallels Tools Installation, so it seems something should be happening.
– Is there something in, say, /etc/X11/xorg.conf that I can change to make this work?

Got it. Now I’m running at 800×600 anyway. ūüôā

Thanks a lot for posting this! Thanks to you, I got Ubuntu finally running!


Thanks for the great article.

Almost there, I’ve installed Ubuntu but now I’m trying to install the parallels tools…

When I try to mount the cdrom from Ubuntu Recovery Mode environment I get an error.

Here’s the command I run:
mount -t iso9660 -o ro /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom

mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/scd0, missing codepage or helper program, or other error In some cases useful info is found in syslog – try dmesg | tail or so

Could you suggest a fix?


I didn’t realize that I had to click “Actions” > “Install Parallels Tools” from the Parallels prior to running the mount command in Linux.

After I did the above, I then ran
mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
and it mounted.

I’m all up and working now.

Thanks again for the great article!

Shannon VanWagner

This worked flawlessly! Excellent work! Thanks!

AWESOME!!! you are the man! i don’t know how it works but it worked!!!! EVERYONE USE THIS GUIDE!!! much appreciate homie.

I tried to install Edubuntu 7.10 on Parallels 3.0 Build 5162 without a practical result. I did everything you wrote in your installation guide. The problem was that I got no Edubuntu desktop and I could not click on the install icon.

I found out that I should write more lines into the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf. I also added some lines in the configuration section “Screen” so that the default screen size is 1280×800. This worked for me on my iMac 20″. Perhaps it would be better to add a smaller size so that the installation works on every Mac display.

Regards, Ralf

Section “Device”
Identifier “Generic Video Card”
Driver “vesa”
BusID “PCI:0:2:0”
Option “LVDSBiosNativeMode” “false”


Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “Generic Video Card”
Monitor “Generic Monitor”
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes “1280×800”

Thank you for your guide … I forgot

Section “Device”
Identifier “Generic Video Card”
Driver “vesa”
BusID “PCI:0:2:0”
Option “LVDSBiosNativeMode” “false”


Section “Screen”
Identifier “Default Screen”
Device “Generic Video Card”
Monitor “Generic Monitor”
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection “Display”
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes “1280×800”

I added the subsection “Display” to the section “Screen”. The addition sets the display size to 1280×800. Without this addition I could not install Edubuntu 7.10 to Parallels 3.0 Build 5162

I noticed your link to my post on the parallels forum. Ralf’s comments here gave me some hints and after a bit more experimenting I’ve come up with an even easier and cleaner procedure for the installation.

See my post at for the details.

[…] install and I had to hack the /etc/X11/xorg.conf details are available on the parallels forum and Shane Duffy. Once the advice there was done, Ubuntu + Parallels seems stable and quite performant on my MacBook […]

To stop XOrg from trying to start every 2 minutes once you have a prompt, issue the command

sudo killall gdm

The editing process will be much easier if you’re a slow typer.

[…] in Parallels. But the Parallels Tools CD does have drivers to fix those problems. This blog post, Ubuntu 7.10 Install Guide, helps you get past the display server issues long enough to get the OS installed, and then gives […]

Extraordinary! This guide is THE one to install Ubuntu on Parallels. Thanks a lot!!! Cheers from Switzerland!

Worked like a charm, thanks for helping out!

perfect…works like a charm…Thanks.

[…] WordPress to the rescue!¬† I ran accross this article by Shane Duffy at (article link) which gives set by step instructions for installing ubuntu on parallels and avoiding the blackhole […]

[…] Since I’ve got a Mac, I had to install Ubuntu Linux 7.10 within a Parallels virtual machine. This is easier said than done, in itself, but once the X-server problems were sorted out it was […]

I had trouble installing Ubuntu Linux 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) through Parallels running on the latest version of Leopard (10.5.1). About 35% into the installation, I kept getting an I/O error for the CD-ROM. Although I found some tips online regarding possible solutions, I was unable to get it to work. So I decided to try installing 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) first and then upgrading to 7.10 — and it worked!

I figured it would be helpful to post the Parallels Virtual OS config file (.PVS) and the .HDD image online for those attempting to use the same setup.

This installation also addresses an issue regarding the X11 server crashing in Parallels, as described above.

The torrent is available on MacNBits (registration required):

Thanks for the info. Your solution worked perfectly. I appreciate the time and effort you put into this.

Hi Ralf,
I’ve also tried to install Edubuntu 7.10 on the same Parallels 3.0 build 5160 on my MacBook Pro 15″ using your xorg parameters, but it didn’t work: on recovery mode, it hangs on udevd-event [3163] run_program: ‘sbin/modprobe’ abnormal exit
few more lines and then it definitely hangs on
loop: module loaded

any clues?


Ok, I’ve tried to install the plain Ubuntu 7.10 Desktop on my MacBook Pro Santa Rosa 15″ following Shane’s instruction and the graphical installation hangs at 91%, hardware detection, ‘loading module aec62xx for IDE chipset…’ so I can’t reboot. I guess I have no alternative but go for a 7.04 and then upgrade the distro, which sucks for me, since I have a slow connection.


Thank you. Simply, thank you. =D

[…] ¬†Io personalmente ho provato Parallels per utilizzare Windows Xp, Windows Vista e Ubuntu Linux. Tutti e tre girano alla perfezione, anche se con Ubuntu ho avuto un po’ di problemi relativi alla scheda video in fase di installazione.Nel caso anche voi vi troviate in una situazione simile, potete consultare¬†questa¬†guida. […]


[…] some googling, I found the fix on Shane Duffy’s blog – Ubuntu 7.10 Install guide – Parallels Macbook pro. The installation worked as expected. However, Unbuntu wasn’t able to connect to the internet […]

In order to get networking to work, just click on the computer icon in the upper right and select the wired connection. I figure this is kicking off an

ifconfig eth0 up

in the background…

Works great… excellent tutorial…
theres a similar guide to installing gOS (a crappy, stripped down ubuntu) in parallels as well. I haven’t tried using it to install Ubuntu 7.10 yet, but I believe what it says to do (which is very similar to this guide) will work as well.

Install worked great until I realized that I do not have a CD. I have the downloaded version of Parallels. Now what?

The Alternate iso file worked flawlessly from the beginning without any display issues or errors…. I found the version I wanted from the MIT FTP site (URL above). Thank you for the tip!

[…] Oficial | Parallels M√°s informaci√≥n | Gu√≠a para instalar Ubuntu 7.10 en Parallels […]

An easier method to get to a command line is to wait for that “6 times in 90 seconds” message to appear, then press Alt + F1.

Thanks a lot for this great tutorial!! Everything worked fine. Roman

how do i know when the installer is finished? it’s been at least an hour, and i’ve typed “return” with the display server error message appearing about 30 times now.

I first type ctrl-c and not kill the script

[…] as the guest operating system. The installation of Ubuntu on parallels is covered very nicely by Shane Duffy I, perhaps a little naively, attempted to change the graphics driver that was being used to attempt […]

You might want to update that you don’t have to deal with the ‚ÄėThe display server has been shut down about 6 times in the last 90 seconds‚Äô window during install. Instead of just pressing enter, press ctrl+alt+f7 (note that you might need to press fn to get F7 on a macbook). This will flip you back to x windows without restarting the annoying script.

I really like this stuff. I’ve just bought it last week form Amazon, someone told me I can find macbook air, macbook in there.

Wow, that’s insane. You’d think that parallels, or Ubuntu or _someone_ would be a little more considerate and make it easier.

I remember seeing a page some months ago that had some trick where you told parallels you were installing Solaris (I think) and the visual would be fine, then once you get thru the install you reset the paralles details to Linux 2.6.
I guess this doesn’t work for the new version of Ubuntu…?

Thank ou very much for the info my new macbook pro almost wen through the window I was So frustrated But not any more

[…] problema principale sorge dal modulo video. L’amico Shane Duffy ha pubblicato questa piccola guida: Ubuntu 7.10 Install guide – Parallels Macbook pro Shane Duffy Spero tu mastichi 1 pochino l’inglese… SennÚ fai come ha detto Max e scarica l’immagine da […]

cool links, thanks!,

interesting resources,

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