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Mac cloud services provider MacStadium today unveiled Orka Desktop, a free virtualization tool that allows Mac users to create and manage macOS virtual machines locally via an easy-to-use admin panel.

orka-desktop.jpg

Orka users can create or download custom macOS images locally for their own personal use, or to collaborate with team members using a familiar workflow, versioning, audit, and review controls. The tool has been designed for iOS/macOS Developers, DevOps Engineers, and IT Admins, as well as students, hobbyists, technologists, and others.

MacStadium claims it is the "ideal tool" for those who want to learn more about Mac virtualization and learn how an image can be built and tested locally, then uploaded to the cloud.
"Orka Desktop provides the tools to allow developers to create many different macOS image versions locally, commit those into a shared repository, and pass them around for collaboration. Developers can also scale further by pulling those resources into an Orka Cluster at MacStadium where you can orchestrate workloads with cloud resources," said Chris Chapman, MacStadium's chief technology officer."
MacStadium says Orka Desktop achieves near-native performance on Apple Silicon, with virtualization overhead as low as 5% in most cases. Orka Desktop also wraps and compresses macOS images with an Open Container Initiative (OCI)-compliant specification, which allows it to reduce a 90GB image by as much as 80%, shrinking it to nearly 15GB, making it much easier to move around.

There are two options for creating a new VM in Orka: Clean Install, where the image is created from an existing IPSW file, and Pull Image, where the image is pulled from an Image Repository. There is also an option to pull the latest IPSW directly from Apple's servers. More information can be found in Orka's documentation.

orka-desktop-macos.jpg

The new VM application requires macOS Ventura or macOS Sonoma running on an Apple silicon Mac with at least 8GB of RAM and more than 50GB of free disk space. Orka Desktop can be downloaded for free from the MacStadium website.

Article Link: MacStadium Releases Free Orka Desktop macOS Virtualization Software
 
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heretiq

Contributor
Jan 31, 2014
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This looks promising for DevOps. I’m looking forward to experimenting with it as another way of keeping a pristine base Mac config while experimenting/prototyping/developing.
 

AdrianCobon

macrumors member
Apr 25, 2014
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Indianapolis, Indiana
I was tempted to use MacStadium back when I wanted to simplify my home office to just an iPad Air connected to a 27-inch 4K monitor. It would have served as the fall-back option for times I needed to access Mac-only software like Vellum and Publisher Rocket. But after doing the math, I came to the conclusion that it was vastly more affordable to just buy a M2 Mac mini and set up a RDP connection to it. Good heavens, what they charge per year (even if it is tax deductible as a business expense) was ridiculously high for what I would have been getting. A couple hundred bucks a month for something I would only spend 10-15 hours using? No way! (I thought about MacinCloud but the trial did not perform well enough for my purposes...)

Now, I have to agree with the #4 post by brofkand... this does precious little more than what UTM offers.
 
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Populus

macrumors 603
Aug 24, 2012
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Howard Oakley from eclecticlight.co has a free macOS VM as well. It's not open source though.

Viable

He also has a similar download for running Linux in a VM.

Liviable
Woah, does Liviable work well, reliably, smooth, with a Linux distro virtualization? Because if the answer is yes, I’m gonna invest in extra RAM and storage for my next Mac mini (M4 likely)
 

Populus

macrumors 603
Aug 24, 2012
5,179
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Spain, Europe
I don’t know if I dreamt it, but in the back my mind, Apple announced a simple virtualization tool that allowed to install another instance of OS X back in 2011… right? It was announced during the Lion unveiling. Or is it me the only one who remembers it (Mandela effect?).

After that, I tried to look for more info or even using it to install a second macOS on a virtual machine.

Does anyone else remember this Lion feature?
 

JosephAW

macrumors 603
May 14, 2012
6,114
8,193
I don’t know if I dreamt it, but in the back my mind, Apple announced a simple virtualization tool that allowed to install another instance of OS X back in 2011… right? It was announced during the Lion unveiling. Or is it me the only one who remembers it (Mandela effect?).

After that, I tried to look for more info or even using it to install a second macOS on a virtual machine.

Does anyone else remember this Lion feature?
I remember there was talk of red box to run Intel apps on PowerPC. :rolleyes:
 

jdb8167

macrumors 601
Nov 17, 2008
4,782
4,504
Woah, does Liviable work well, reliably, smooth, with a Linux distro virtualization? Because if the answer is yes, I’m gonna invest in extra RAM and storage for my next Mac mini (M4 likely)
I tested it with Ubuntu and it seemed to work pretty well. User interface is a bit odd but it works. I've been meaning to try out the latest version but haven't really had the need.
 

leapp

macrumors newbie
Oct 13, 2007
17
3


Mac cloud services provider MacStadium today unveiled Orka Desktop, a free virtualization tool that allows Mac users to create and manage macOS virtual machines locally via an easy-to-use admin panel.

orka-desktop.jpg

Orka users can create or download custom macOS images locally for their own personal use, or to collaborate with team members using a familiar workflow, versioning, audit, and review controls. The tool has been designed for iOS/macOS Developers, DevOps Engineers, and IT Admins, as well as students, hobbyists, technologists, and others.

MacStadium claims it is the "ideal tool" for those who want to learn more about Mac virtualization and learn how an image can be built and tested locally, then uploaded to the cloud.
MacStadium says Orka Desktop achieves near-native performance on Apple Silicon, with virtualization overhead as low as 5% in most cases. Orka Desktop also wraps and compresses macOS images with an Open Container Initiative (OCI)-compliant specification, which allows it to reduce a 90GB image by as much as 80%, shrinking it to nearly 15GB, making it much easier to move around.

There are two options for creating a new VM in Orka: Clean Install, where the image is created from an existing IPSW file, and Pull Image, where the image is pulled from an Image Repository. There is also an option to pull the latest IPSW directly from Apple's servers. More information can be found in Orka's documentation.

orka-desktop-macos.jpg

The new VM application requires macOS Ventura or macOS Sonoma running on an Apple silicon Mac with at least 8GB of RAM and more than 50GB of free disk space. Orka Desktop can be downloaded for free from the MacStadium website.

Article Link: MacStadium Releases Free Orka Desktop macOS Virtualization Software
This sounds promising. I hope they open it up to more than macOS with that small level of overhead.
 

eas

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2005
153
111
[...] But after doing the math, I came to the conclusion that it was vastly more affordable to just buy a M2 Mac mini and set up a RDP connection to it. Good heavens, what they charge per year (even if it is tax deductible as a business expense) was ridiculously high for what I would have been getting. A couple hundred bucks a month for something I would only spend 10-15 hours using? No way! (I thought about MacinCloud but the trial did not perform well enough for my purposes...)

Now, I have to agree with the #4 post by brofkand... this does precious little more than what UTM offers.

As I recall, Apple's licensing for "rented" access to Macs is billed per-user, per-day in increments of one day. So, if you only use it four times a month, on four separate days, for an hour each time, The service provider owes Apple for four full days of use. If 99 other users do the same thing, they owe Apple for 400 days of use.
 
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