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macOS 13+

Rosetta allows you to run Intel Linux executables in an Apple Silicon Linux virtual machine (using Apple Virtualization backend).

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Enable Rosetta

You can enable Rosetta by checking “Enable Rosetta (x86_64 Emulation)” in the wizard when setting up a Linux virtual machine. If you did not do this, you can go to the Virtualization tab and check “Enable Rosetta on Linux (x86_64 Emulation)”.

Mounting Rosetta Runtime

The Rosetta runtime is shared in a VirtioFS mount named rosetta. You can mount it with the following command:

$ sudo mkdir /media/rosetta
$ sudo mount -t virtiofs rosetta /media/rosetta

Here, we chose /media/rosetta as the mount point. You can use any path but you must change the rest of the commands.

Mounting on Startup

In order to install the runtime, you need to have the share mounted at runtime. To do this, modify your /etc/fstab and add the following line:

rosetta	/media/rosetta	virtiofs	ro,nofail	0	0

Enabling Rosetta

You will need the update-binfmts command installed which is usually part of the binfmt-support package. Register Rosetta as a x86_64 ELF handler:

$ sudo /usr/sbin/update-binfmts --install rosetta /media/rosetta/rosetta \
     --magic "\x7fELF\x02\x01\x01\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x02\x00\x3e\x00" \
     --mask "\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xfe\xfe\x00\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xff\xfe\xff\xff\xff" \
     --credentials yes --preserve no --fix-binary yes

The magic parameter describes the first 20 bytes of the ELF header for x86_64 binaries. The Linux kernel performs a bitwise logical AND with the first 20 bytes of a binary a user attempts to run with the mask value. If it matches the magic value, the kernel uses the registered handler as the interpreter for that binary. If the system can’t find a handler for the specified binary, it reports an error. See Apple’s documentation for more details.

Installing Shared Libraries

In order to run x86_64 executables, you still need to install shared libraries for x86_64. The instructions vary for different distros but usually involve enabling “multiarch” or “multilib” support.