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I’ve just signed up for Linode, and having set up my Linode server (from their Debian 7 image), I’m trying to download a copy of it to run on VMWare Fusion 5 on my Mac.

I’ve followed their instructions for copying my Linode’s disk image to my Mac, so I’ve got a .img file on my Mac now.

Can I use or convert that .img file to be the boot hard drive for a VMWare virtual machine on my Mac?

(I think an alternative is to set up a new VMWare Debian virtual machine locally, and then upload it to Linode, but as I’ve already got my Linode running, and uploading is much slower than downloading on my internet connection, I’m trying to figure out a way to run the existing Linode locally first)

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I ended up taking a different approach.

After setting up my Linode (noting down what I’d done), I downloaded the Debian 7 net install image:

I then used that to create a Debian 7 VMWare VM on my local machine. (I told VMWare Fusion the OS was “Other Linux 2.6 kernel”, as Debian 7 isn’t listed as an option yet. I believe Debian 7 uses the Linux 3.2 kernel, but it hasn’t caused me any problems so far.)

I then used dpkg to get a list of the packages installed on my Linode, and install them on my VMWare VM (tip from

My shell commands to do this from my VMWare VM (replace with your Linode’s IP address):

sudo dselect update
ssh dpkg --get-selections > packages.txt
sudo dpkg --set-selections < packages.txt
sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade
rm packages.txt

(First I made sure to install dselect on both VMs — sudo apt-get install dselect — so that they’re present for the dselect-upgrade line.)

In future, I can install new packages on my VMWare VM, and then sync up the Linode VM by copying the output of dpkg --get-selections to the Linode VM, and running the last three shell commands there.

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