xhyve: Linux virtualization on OS X

OS X Yosemite has introduced a Hypervisor framework to support user mode virtualization. xhyve is a lightweight virtualization tool that makes use of this to run Linux on OS X. The tool is a port of byhve (BSD Hypervisor) written as a KVM+QEMU alternative.

A Hypervisor or virtualization software is a collection of APIs which exposes underlying hardware (like timer, networking, block devices etc.) to a virtual machine.


  • super lightweight, only 230 KB in size
  • completely standalone, no dependencies
  • the only BSD-licensed virtualizer on OS X
  • does not require a kernel extension (bhyve’s kernel code was ported to user mode code calling into Hypervisor.framework)
  • multi-CPU support
  • networking support
  • can run off-the-shelf Linux distributions (and could be extended to run other operating systems)
  • exposes functionality to userspace

Running Tiny Core Linux

xhyve already integrates Tiny Core Linux in its repository and it’s very easy to test it out. Run:

$ git clone https://github.com/mist64/xhyve
$ cd xhyve
$ make
$ ./xhyverun.sh

xhyve can also run Ubuntu but that involves some tricks as it does not come with a BIOS or UEFI bootloader of its own.

On GitHub: xhyve

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