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I would like to run a virtualized OS X (VMWare or Virtualbox) and am willing to pay for the software, but don't see a way on the Apple Store to actually do that.

I understand that the sofware without the hardware is not "supported" and have read lots of blog post about hacked ISO images, but would like to be as legit as possible

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It is not just "not supported", but even "not allowed". :( –  Hennes Apr 4 '13 at 19:18
    
See this: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/9876/… –  Sachin Shekhar Apr 4 '13 at 19:27
    
If I remember, their server software can be virtualized. –  Joseph Apr 4 '13 at 19:42
1  
@Joseph - You can only run OS X within a virtual machine on Apple hardware. –  Ramhound Apr 5 '13 at 11:46
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can only buy OS X Mountain Lion through the Mac App Store, which again only runs on OS X 10.6 and above.

If you can get hold of any Mac, sign up for the App Store, then download OS X for installation on that machine, it will download an .app file which contains the installation disk image for OS X Mountain Lion.

For OS X Lion (10.7), you were able to buy a USB key with the software. This is not possible anymore for Mountain Lion.

Note that in any case, the license only permits you to run OS X on an Apple computer (and virtualization only when running OS X as a host), and in countries where software licenses are legally enforced, circumventing that may be considered illegal. But IANAL.

You have the right:

to download, install, use and run for personal, non-commercial use, one (1) copy of the Apple Software directly on each Apple-branded computer running OS X Lion or OS X Snow Leopard (“Mac Computer”) that you own or control;

[…]

to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software, for purposes of: (a) software development; (b) testing during software development; (c) using OS X Server; or (d) personal, non-commercial use

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I'm afraid there is no legal way to do that as far as I know.

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As legit as possible? The Mac OS X license only permits installation on Apple labelled hardware.

You could by a wrecked machine that came with install media for an older OS X, and the sale would be legal, but you still can't install it legally. If you did the install, you could upgrade through the App Store, but, alas, not legally.

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