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I've disabled the web server on Snow Leopard, and I'm using an emulated Ubuntu with Lighttpd web server.

In order to access to the web pages I need to specify the ip of the emulated machine. However I now need to associated such ip with "localhost" in Leopard environment.

When I type localhost in Leopard I actually want to visit the localhost on the Ubuntu machine.

Do I need apache on leopard to make the forward or can I change network settings in Leopard or what ?


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When you say "an emulated Ubuntu", I assume you mean that you're running Ubuntu in a virtual machine hosted on your Snow Leopard box, right? If that's right, which VM software are you using? VMWare Fusion? Parallels? VirtualBox? – Doug Harris Dec 30 '10 at 15:42
@Doug Harris VMWare Fusion – Patrick Dec 30 '10 at 15:42
Also a quick temporary shell solution is fine... (I mean, from shell to specify localhost= – Patrick Dec 30 '10 at 15:43
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I would not recommend changing your loopback address of your system. However, what you can do is define a human-friendly alias in /etc/hosts file on your OS X that will point to the IP of your Ubuntu box. For example:    ubuntu

You might be tempted to change the localhost alias in /etc/hosts but I would not recommend that; if you read the comments on top of that file, you will find a warning that will tell you not to change the localhost alias. I will quote the warning as is from the copy of /etc/hosts I have on Snow Leopard:

Host Database

localhost is used to configure the loopback interface when the system is booting. Do not change this entry.

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@ajaz I forgot to mention that since the ip of my virtual machine chenges, also a shell solution is acceptable. In other terms, I need anyway to set it everytime I restart the virtual machine, so could I set it from shell ? – Patrick Dec 30 '10 at 15:38
+1 for not changing the IP address for localhost. Seems like a really bad idea. – Doug Harris Dec 30 '10 at 15:42
Patrick, I've a very similar setup on my MacBook where I run Slackware inside VMware and access it from OS X via the hosts alias slackware. If you are usually connected to the same network, it might be a better trade-off to assign a static IP to your VMware host and define an alias for it in /etc/hosts – ayaz Dec 30 '10 at 16:13

Restating the problem: Your desired goal is to type "http://localhost" into your web browser and have that served by the virtual machine.

Possible solutions:

mod_proxy - Re-enable Apache under Snow Leopard, set up mod_proxy as a transparent proxy to the web server on your virtual machine.

port mapping - Rather than setting up your VMWare VM to use NAT-mode instead of bridged mode. This means that your VM doesn't have its own IP address on your main LAN but instead VMWare creates a pseudo network within your machine. From here, you can set up port mapping so that when your mac takes requests on port 80, they're forwarded to your VM. A quick Google search found one person's notes on doing something like this.

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