Install Rhapsody DR2 on VMWare [How To]

Way back in December of 2010 I wrote a tutorial detailing how to get the NeXT OpenStep 4 OS loaded up in VMWare Fusion on the Macintosh. NeXT operating systems are full of nascent incarnations of OS X features, which makes them great fun for Macintosh geeks (myself included) to have a poke around in. Exploring OpenStep yields some interesting gems, but the trail really picks up in Rhapsody. Development of Rhapsody began when NeXT was purchased by Apple in late 1996; the OS itself takes the BSD underpinnings of NeXTSTEP/OpenStep and the desktop experience of the Macintosh, architecturally prototypical of what we now recognise as Mac OS X.

Needless to say, it’s a very interesting OS to explore, and can run pretty smoothly under VMWare. Here’s how:

1: Ingredients

VMWare Fusion

Whilst I used VMWare Fusion on Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in this guide, the instructions should equally apply to VMWare workstation for Linux or Windows as well.

Rhapsody DR2 (Boot diskettes & installer)

There were only two released versions of Rhapsody, DR1 & 2. This guide focuses on version 2 – ‘Titan’ – but both are available online at winworldpc. There are PowerPC and x86 builds of each – we’ll be working with DR2 x86.

OpenStep VMWare driver CD

Some very clever folks have written drivers for OpenStep/NeXTSTEP supporting VMWare’s virtual hardware, and I collected them together on one convenient CD which you can download here.

If all the necessary software and files are in place, we can begin the installation process.

2: Create a Virtual Machine

Open VMWare, click ‘File -> New’, and press ‘Continue without disc’. At the next screen select ‘Use an operating system installation disc image file’ and point it at the Rhapsody ISO image file.

At the next screen, VMWare will ask you to select the type of OS you wish to install. Select ‘Other’, ‘MS-DOS’ and press continue. We need to change a few of the default settings before the first boot, so hit ‘Customize Settings’. At this stage, you can call your VM whatever you like (I chose ‘Rhapsody DR2’, because I lack imagination).

On the settings page, you can change the virtual hardware properties of the VM. We need to increase the RAM, decrease the hard drive and add a floppy disk drive in order to install Rhapsody. First, click ‘Processors & RAM’ and treat the machine to 64MB using the slider.

Next, click ‘Hard Disks’. First, select the 8GB virtual hard drive that has been created automatically and remove it using the ‘-‘ button. To create a new disk, hit ‘+’.

The new disk needs to be 2GB in size and on an IDE bus. Uncheck ‘Split into 2 GB files’ as well, just to be on the safe side. (The disk settings should match the screenshot below)

Return to the Settings page and select ‘Other Devices’. At this page, click the ‘+’ button and select ‘Add Floppy’ from the menu. This needs to be pointed at the Installation Floppy .img file.

The VM is now ready for installation – again, check the settings against the screenshot below before proceeding to make certain that everything is in order.

3: Boot Up and Loading Drivers

We’re now ready to boot up the VM for the first time. The machine will boot from the Rhapsody installation floppy, which  will run a memory test and launch the installation process.

Press ‘1’ to set the keyboard language, and ‘1’ again to start the installation. Rhapsody will now request the device drivers disk. Click the floppy disk icon on your VMWare window, press ‘Choose Floppy Image…’ and point the browser to the Driver Disk .img file. Press ‘Return’ to proceed.

Before the OS installation can begin, we have to select the drivers for both your CD-ROM and hard disk host adapters. Make sure to follow this part carefully – it’s fairly straightforward, but any slight mistakes will cause the installation to fail later on.

Press ‘7’ to skip to the next page, and again to skip to the page after that. The driver we need to install is number 4 on the list – ‘Intel PIIX PCI EIDE/ATAPI Device Controller’ – as demonstrated in the screenshot below.

Select option 4 and press enter to proceed. The installer will now provide two options – ‘1’ to continue without loading more drivers and ‘2’ to load another driver. Select option ‘2’ to load more drivers. What isn’t made clear on the previous screen is that, although we’ve just loaded the IDE driver for the CD-ROM drive, we also need to do the same for the hard disk itself.

Select option ‘7’ three times to skip to the last page of drivers (it should match the screenshot below). We need to select the ‘Intel PIIX PCI EIDE/ATAPI Device Controller’ again, which this time is listed under option ‘2’. Once this driver is loaded, select option 1 to continue the installation.

4: Install the Base System

At the next stage of the installer things start looking a little less DOS and a little more UNIX, as the program detects the system hardware, clock etc… and prints lots of data to the console.

Once this process is complete, we are presented with the option to either install (‘1’) or cancel (‘2’). Feel free to select option ‘2’ if you like. As we (shockingly enough) actually want to install the OS, we’re going to choose option ‘1’.

At the next screen, choose option ‘1’ again to install to IDE disk 0. Unless you want to try and do some sort of vintage-hybrid dual-boot setup with MS-DOS, choose option ‘1’ again at the next screen to use the entire disk. Finally, confirm these choices with, you guessed it, option ‘1’. Rhapsody will proceed to format the drive and begin loading the installation files to the system.

Once the file copy process has completed, the installer will instruct you to remove any floppy disks and restart the computer. We’re going to deviate from the instructions now, so hold it for a second when you see the screen below.

5: Copy VMWare Drivers

Now that the drive has been formatted and the base system and installer files written, the installer is ready to enter the final stages of setup. Before this happens, though, we need to intervene – basically we need to equip the system with the drivers it needs to communicate with VMWare’s virtual hardware before the installer restarts.

Whilst the above screen is displayed, click the floppy disk icon on the VMWare window and disconnect the drive.

Once this is done, press enter to restart the machine. We’re going to start the machine in single-user mode, so when the message below is displayed (after the memory test), press any key to stop the OS from booting automatically.

At this stage we need to replace the Rhapsody install disc in the CDROM drive with the ‘openstep-vmware.iso’ driver disc downloaded earlier. (If you haven’t already got a copy, it’s available here.) Once the driver CD is in the drive, start the machine in single-user mode by using the ‘-s’ option (as shown in the above screenshot). The OS will now run through another verbose BSD boot sequence, before returning a command shell (below).

Before we get into the specific instructions, it’s important to fully understand the process:

We’re going to check and mount the file system, mount the CDROM in the drive and copy the files from it to the hard disk. Next, we expand the files and copy the drivers to the relevant folders on the boot drive, where they can be accessed by the next stage of the installer. Now the specifics:

1. Check and mount the file system: (if you encounter any errors, press ‘y’ to salvage. The ‘BAD SUPER BLOCK’ error pertains to the CDROM drive and can be ignored.)

# fsck

# mount -w /

2. Create a mount point for the CDROM

# mkdir /cd-drivers

3. Create a folder to store the driver files

# mkdir /drivers-tmp

4. Mount the CDROM drive

# mount -t cd9660 /dev/sd0a /cd-drivers

5. Copy the contents of the CD to the hard disk

# cp /cd-drivers/next_drivers/* /drivers-tmp

6. Untar the relevant drivers (VGA & mouse)

# cd /drivers-tmp

# gnutar xf vmmouse_1_1_i_bs.tar

# gnutar xf vmwarefb_config_1_1_1.tar

7. Move the .config (driver) files to the system’s drivers folder

# mv /drivers-tmp/VMWareFB.config /private/Devices

# mv /drivers-tmp/VMMouse/VMMouse.config /private/Devices

Once the drivers are copied, we can reboot the system by simply typing ‘reboot’ at the shell prompt. When the machine restarts, press a key to prevent the OS from automatically booting. We can now remove the driver CD and reconnect the virtual CDROM drive to the Rhapsody install disc. Once the installer is in the drive, press enter to continue to the next stage.

6: Select Drivers & Complete Setup

The first taste of Rhapsody in GUI mode will be in black and white. This part of the installer is the hardware configuration stage, and for anybody who has used NeXTSTEP or OpenStep before it will look very familiar.

The two devices which hinder Rhapsody’s usability are the display and mouse – you’ve probably noticed some pretty erratic mouse movement already, and nobody wants to work in black and white. It’s time to point Rhapsody to the correct drivers.

First, click the computer monitor icon. The ‘Add Display Devices’ window will appear, and populate itself with the Atomic Object VMWare Display Adapter driver. All that’s left to do is hit ‘add’.

Next, press the mouse icon. First, we need to remove the default ‘PS/2-Style Mouse (v5.00)’ using the ‘Remove’ button on the right of the pane.

Once it’s gone, press ‘Add’ to open the ‘Add Pointing Device Devices’ window. Yes, this is definitely Beta software.

As per the above screenshot, select ‘VMWare virtual mouse driver (v1.1)’ from the list and press ‘Add’. (If you receive an IRQ warning, it’s because you haven’t removed the PS/2 mouse from the list. Make sure you do so!)

The mouse driver defaults to a tracking area of 640×480, which is fine if that’s your display resolution, but if you’re working at 1024×768 – as we will be – it only allows you to actually use the top left corner of the screen, which is really not particularly useful.

Press the ‘Expert’ button and scroll to the bottom of the page. We need to change the ‘X Size’ and ‘Y Size’ to 1024 and 768 respectively. Notice the reference to NEXTSTEP on this page – this is lifted directly from the NS installer.

With these settings changed, hit ‘OK’, ‘Done’ and then ‘Save’ to finish the hardware configuration.

Finally, we are required to customise the Rhapsody install by selecting which software packages we wish to load. The default selection is pretty comprehensive, and includes the Developer Tools (which are interesting to see for anyone who develops today in Xcode & Objective-C), so you probably don’t want to change any of these settings.

Interestingly, Japanese is included by default as it was in NeXTSTEP and OpenStep – the Canon corporation was a vital investor in the NeXT computer company, and deals between the two firms stipulated interoperability with existing Canon systems and support for the Japanese market.

When you’re happy, hit ‘Install’ and sit back while the OS setup completes.

Remove the disc and click ‘Restart’.

7: Rhapsody Setup

The installation process is now complete: when Rhapsody boots for the first time (in full color, no less) we’re presented with the Setup Assistant to guide us through keyboard configuration, location, network and user setup.

While the modern Mac OS X asks only for a username and password (and bestows administrative rights to that user), Rhapsody requires a separate password for root access.

This process is actually pretty polished and explains itself quite well (it’s a lot better than some modern Linux setup assistants, certainly). As we haven’t loaded the NIC driver yet, opt to configure the network separately, selecting ‘No network connection’ when given the choice.


Once the setup assistant is complete, you’re free to roam about Rhapsody. There are loads of cool and interesting features and programs to check out, and even a couple of games. If you want to install the VMX network driver, it is included on the CD, however I’ve found it to cause occasional instability so have omitted it from this tutorial. Similarly, the sound driver from OpenStep/NeXTSTEP will cause the system to freeze every time a sound is played if it is installed, so make sure not to install it.

I’ve posted a gallery of the setup assistant and with screenshots of many bundled applications, which you can find here.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed/found this tutorial interesting and useful – I might do a DR1 vs DR2 vs OpenStep side-by-side-by-side now that they’re all up and running.

Until then, though, enjoy Rhapsody!

33 Responses to “Install Rhapsody DR2 on VMWare [How To]”

  1. […] the time, Apple was building a next-generation operating system (Rhapsody, see my articles here and here) based on the Unix-derived NeXTSTEP. While this platform was in development, the classic […]

  2. Giancarlo says:

    Could you please upload the CD with the drivers again? Thanks!

    • Zebedee Pedersen says:

      Done – I think it’s the right copy.

      • Jacob says:

        Hello, I have tried this and 5 other blogs and none of them work, I am assuming it is something I have done.

        Could you please send me the Rhapsody VMWare hard disk, or refer me to someone who would have it? I would really appreciate it.


      • Joyousmicor says:

        help!!!!!!!!!!! cpu error while installing rhapsody dr2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in vmware Player!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HELP ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! D:

  3. Mike says:

    I cannot connect to winworldpc for the Rhapsody ISO. Is there another place I can find it?

  4. ampharos says:

    I’ve been trying this on VMware Player 4.0 on Linux amd64. It works up until the point where the graphical portion begins, where VMware pukes and kills the VM.

    • Evan says:

      If you use VMWare Fusion 4 you need to change a couple settings. First go to settings and then compatibility. Then choose the middle one, it says something like VMWare 2 or three or something like that. Then instead of using MS-DOS, use other. It should then work.

      • Richard Rankin says:

        On VMWare Fusion 8.5 Pro, you also have to use “Other” for “OS” in “General” in “System Settings”. I used the default settings in “Compatibility”.

    • Brian says:

      I had that issue too. To resolve it, I ended up editing /private/Devices/System.config/Default.table and adding VMMouse and VMWareFB to “Active Drivers”, and I also moved over the VMXNet.config too. After that, it the VM stopped hard crashing. See for more information.

  5. […] notamment grâce à cette page que j’ai pu installer dans une machine virtuelle, la version x86 de Rhapsody DR2, et en […]

  6. Nick Eff says:

    It keeps restarting itself when I install the VM additions. Help?

  7. Niggolai says:

    Very, very good instructions!
    But I’ve got a problem: Before it starts first, it gets in a boot loop (it’s always rebooting after “Startup complete”). I’m running it in VMware Workstaion 9 (Windows 7).

    Do you know, what the problem could be?

    • Indo-Pak Pax says:

      I had the same problem. To fix it do this:

      On the CPU in the vm’s settings, tick all the options that say like: “Virtualize Intel/Vt-x thing and the Virtual Performance Counters and the Disable acceleration binary translation”

      Then at the “boot:” prompt, type -v and enter. It starts with Diagnostic messages and fixes the problems.

  8. taco says:

    Where in hell can I find the boot diskettes?

    • Zhangty says:

      The Apple Rhapsody DR2 x86 iso with boo floppy and driver floppy and the Apple’s official guide can be download here:(From WinWorldPC,7z archive,it can boot up but however I am fail to install it.When it goes to “Rhapsody Mach Operating Sytem”from the black screen command line,it got a panic.T don’t know why.

  9. Simon says:

    I didn’t save the mouse settings – how do I get back into the setup configuration?

  10. De Roam Men says:

    Help please. No matter how many times I configure the display adapter according to the instruction, it still remains black and white.

  11. Dang065 says:

    can the video driver be used at 1280×800 w/ a 60 refresh rate?

  12. Zhangty says:

    Hello!I download the Rhapsody DR2 from winworldpc ,I tried to install on VM Fusion 6.0.3 Pro,there were no problems until it goes to “Apple Mach Operating System”window.I selected the drivers,and pressed 1,then it shows me in the cmd line window:
    physical memory = 256.00 megabytes.
    using 719 buffers containing 5.11 megabytes of memory.
    available memory = 245.48 megabytes.vm_page_free_count = 7abe
    minimum quantum is 10 ms
    But then ,it got a panic:
    panic:kmem_suballoc 1System panic:
    kmem_suballoc 1
    (Type “r” to reboot or “m” for monitor)
    Then is doesn’t work.Why’s this?I’m using vmware 6.0.3 on my 13” 2011 early mbp.

  13. PJMM says:

    Hey there – and thank you a thousand times for the instructions 🙂
    It works 100% – on Windows 7 x64 with VMware Workstation 10.0.2!
    Already set up something similar (NextSTEP 3.3 and OpenStep 4.0) under OSX and Linux as well – so I guess it works on all systems.

    Will test some stuff on it then – looking forward there 😀

    Thank you, again.

  14. Hello. I probably won’t get answered – anyway, I’m struggling to fix this, so I’ll just leave it here.

    I have installed OPENSTEP 4.2 on both VMware Player (Linux) and VMware Fusion, with VX-T virtualization disabled. The installer worked OK. Then, when booting from the hard disk drive, this happens:

    Anybody knows why? I just can’t understand what could avoid mounting everything…

  15. Chris says:

    Awesome guide for showing how to install Rhapsody on VMWare. I was all the way through to the command line process and when booting VMWare kept telling me “VMWare has encountered a problem and needs to restart”. So I converted the machine to a format for VirtualBox using instructions found here – I then finished the instructions of the guide running the VM in VirtualBox got to the finished boot. Since the drivers were for VMWare I exported the machine to OVA 1.0 format so VMWare would see it correctly. I then imported it to VMWare 11 again and I now have a fully built Rhapsody DR2 machine in VMWare.

    What might be the issue causing VMWare to crash at the install of Rhapsody from the CD?

    Again, great guide 🙂

  16. It Keeps Saying
    chgproccnt:lost user
    how do i fix this

  17. Davis says:

    It Keeps saying
    chg procent: lost user

  18. Bill says:

    In order for this to work for me, I had to change
    “# mv /drivers-tmp/VMWareFB.config /private/Devices”
    “# mv ./VMWareFB.config /private/Devices”
    “# mv /drivers-tmp/VMMouse/VMMouse.config /private/Devices”
    “# mv ./VMMouse/VMMouse.config /private/Devices”
    Without the change, the drivers were moved to /private/Devices/drivers-tmp

  19. Martin says:

    Hey, nice tutorial. Do you think it’s possible to do this with parallels 11 on OS X El Capitan?
    This blog is going to my favorites 🙂

  20. Marco says:

    reupload iso of drivers please

  21. SomeDood says:

    I can’t get it to work. it gets stuck trying to reset some sc0 or something.
    Can you upload/send your vwmare files that you generated

  22. Nayab says:

    Thanks. The instructions are very clear (Much kudos for clarity). This will be my first experience with an Apple since I owned the Apple II Europlus as a boy. Yes I really am that old!
    VMware Workstation Player 12 on Win10 x64 Home
    ISO from Winworld
    Nextstep from your link
    A little perseverance
    No other ingredients required.

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