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I am trying to use the VMware Fusion Tech Preview on a Mac with Apple Silicon to install Ubuntu 18.04 Server for ARM64 (ISO found here).

Previously, I successfully installed Ubuntu 20.04 Server using the same method.

The virtual machine boots into the 18.04 installer and asks me about my keyboard, etc. but then fails to mount the installer files:

Your installation CD-ROM couldn't be mounted. This probably means that the CD-ROM was not in the drive. If so you can insert it and try again.

If I drop into a shell, I see that there is nothing mounted at /cdrom. The device /dev/sr0, which is the CD drive on the 20.04 VM, is not available on the 18.04 VM.

I have tried with the virtual CD drive in both SCSI and SATA modes with no difference.

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  • In the VMware Menu, VM, Removable Devices: Did you connect the CD there?
    – John
    Dec 10, 2021 at 0:07
  • Yes, VMware Fusion automatically attaches the CD drive containing the install media when you create a VM and select an installer ISO file.
    – rgov
    Dec 10, 2021 at 0:30

1 Answer 1

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Here is an incredibly hacky way to proceed with installation.

Both the virtual CD drive and virtual hard disk should be attached as SATA devices.

The Ubuntu 18.04.6 arm64 installer uses kernel version 4.15.0-156 so I prepared a tarball including additional kernel modules for this release. Specifically, I used a Docker container to download the modules for this version:

apt update
apt install -y --no-install-recommends linux-modules-4.15.0-156-generic linux-modules-extra-4.15.0-156-generic
tar cf /output/modules.tar /lib/modules/4.15.0-156-generic

Here /output was a volume mount to a FAT32 USB hard drive I had attached to macOS.

Then I attached the same hard drive to the virtual machine. The Ubuntu installer correctly enumerated this device so I mounted it:

mkdir /mnt/modules
mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/modules

Then I installed the drivers:

tar xf /mnt/modules/modules.tar -C /

It was a bit of guesswork to find the right drivers to load but I found these to be sufficient:

modprobe ahci isofs

This caused /dev/sr0 to appear, which I mounted:

mount -t iso9660 /dev/sr0 /cdrom

Then running exit got me back into the installer with the CD mounted.


The installer was a little quirky, and didn't allow me to select packages to install. After the base system is installed I had to manually proceed to the GRUB installation step.

The produced VM boots fine. Related to the package selection bug, the /etc/apt/sources.list file still installs packages from the installer CD (which works flawlessly). To install packages from the Internet, I copied over /etc/apt/sources.list from another system.

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