[vbox-dev] Rosetta Support

Klaus Espenlaub klaus.espenlaub at oracle.com
Tue Oct 25 18:04:48 UTC 2022

Hello everyone,

keep in mind that the current target of the VirtualBox package for 
macOS/ARM (which is an unsupported developer preview at the moment due 
to its early state) is actually running VMs with Intel x86 or x64 
instruction set, initially through emulating one instruction after the 
other which means it has very modest performance (in less diplomatic 
wording one could call it painfully slow). Which implicitly does not 
need or benefit from Rosetta in any way.

Once the basics are working we hope to look into improving performance, 
which will be another significant project. The package for macOS/ARM 
will remain in unsupported developer preview state for the foreseeable 

To spell it out even more clearly: the target is creating and running 
'regular' Windows for x86/x64, and likewise Linux (and eventually 
Solaris, *BSD and other OSes) for x86/x64 in the VMs, i.e. what you 
might have done previously on macOS/Intel or other VirtualBox installs.

At the moment there is absolutely no way to run VMs using ARM code in 


On 2022-10-25 19:20, Hugo Huijser via vbox-dev wrote:
> Thanks Alexey,
> Since we'd be running a VM on an ARM OS, we'd only be interested in 
> translating our user space applications (which are mostly Inte 
> applications), not kernel space code.
> Right now, we cannot use Rosetta within any VM unless we build the VM 
> using the Apple Virtualization Framework.
> I believe that's what UTM solved in their latest version and was 
> hoping VirtualBox would do something similar.
> On Mon, Oct 24, 2022 at 1:21 PM Alexey Eromenko <al4321 at gmail.com> wrote:
>     supporting Rosetta will be very hard (or maybe impossible), because it
>     works with user-space applications only. It cannot virtualize
>     drivers/kernel-space code/VMs.
>     Also Apple may drop Rosetta support like they did for PowerPC Rosetta
>     3 years after Intel Macs were announced.
>     On Mon, Oct 24, 2022 at 8:34 PM Hugo Huijser via vbox-dev
>     <vbox-dev at virtualbox.org> wrote:
>     >
>     > Hi,
>     >
>     > We have been using VirtualBox for quite some time, and are in
>     the process of moving our Mac users to Macs with Apple silicon
>     processors.
>     > VirtualBox 7.0 is now supporting these new processors.
>     >
>     > My question is if there are plans to also support Rosetta in the
>     future (similar to how UTM is supporting virtualization and
>     Rosetta: https://docs.getutm.app/advanced/rosetta/)?
>     >
>     > Thanks,
>     >
>     > Hugo Huijser
>     > _______________________________________________
>     > vbox-dev mailing list
>     > vbox-dev at virtualbox.org
>     > https://www.virtualbox.org/mailman/listinfo/vbox-dev
>     -- 
>     -Alexey Eromenko "Technologov"
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