I am a 3d artist (animation/modeling/sculpting) and I have a dream.

I have licenses of zBrush the Autodesk and Adobe suites. My zBrush is a mac only licence; maya is both (I think), Adobe is for Windows, and my prefered OS is windows 7 (it would be linux if I can make this work). What I would like to do is run a minimal linux host for a variety of reasons - security, stability, being able to use zbrush on more capable hardware - that will allow me to run Windows and OSX without rebooting to switch.

What I would want: --Linux boots first from there I boot either OSX or Windows OR both(?) --I need the ability to run the aforementioned programs at full strength/speed as a native install would be. --Move files from any of the 3 OSs to any of the others seamlessly. --Eliminate any reboot need. Other than restarting the particular VM for OS updates etc.

The hardware I have: i7 4820k 16gb of ram(mb has max of 64gb which I will be getting to as money allows) 1TB hdd 640GB hdd and 140GB WD velociraptor split in half (I was planning on linux dual booting never finished)

What I would like to do: -- Get smaller sdd's for each of the os's and dedicate them to that os. -- use the larger HDD's as communal storage. -- Max system ram. -- GUI for linux (but i'd be fine with a CLI to make room for the other two) -- Play games in windows or OSX. This is more of a perfect world point. I'd be ok booting native for this.

I know of wine for linux but that doesn't get the support for the newest programs (that I currently have licenses for) and I'd rather not befoul my workflow with opensource alternatives until I have a job. Not to mention most of the work in my field uses either proprietary or in-house software. I know that what I am really looking for is a VM host but I am not sure if that will fully support the things I want it to do and if I need better hardware before it really will work the way I want.

TL;DR -- I want to run a mac zBrush license, Adobe and Autodesk windows licenses all on one machine with no reboots.

  • What you describe seems reasonable. Just use any Linux whatsoever and install the other OSs in virtual machines (I believe that's illegal for OSX since their EULA only allows installing on Mac hardware but I won't tell them if you don't).
    – terdon
    Mar 2, 2014 at 19:44
  • 2
    You can't actually run OSX in a VM. Not only is it against the EULA, but they seem to have code that detects the lack of actual Apple hardware.
    – Keith
    Mar 2, 2014 at 22:19
  • If you were to google the word "hackintosh" (which you didn't hear in this conversation), you might find a tunnel out of pain, although it's not a short tunnel last time I checked.
    – Stabledog
    Mar 2, 2014 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


For Windows guests, I use Debian Wheezy 64bit with the xfce-desktop and virtualbox-4.2 (from virtualbox.org). Note that you can run a 64 bit guest on 32 bit linux, however, you would not be able to support larger RAM configurations in the guest. I get reasonable performance and stability on my older hardware with only 8GB DDR2 (Q9550 processor).

If you need a browser with flash running in the 64bit Linux host, you might want something more compatible than the Iceweasel and Gnash.

The easiest is probably google-chrome (which has a 64-bit version). Adobe now makes a 64bit flash which works well with the 64-bit firefox builds from mozilla.org, however, the install is slightly more manual. You could also use a 64-bit Firefox package from Linux Mint that will work on Debian Wheezy.

  • I have a bunch of VMs that I have been playing around with from within my windows install. I think I am going to work out of LMDE for my linux host but now I have a few logistical issues. I have taken an 'image' of my windows install with disk2image and made a virtual box out of it but can't test it because of HDD label issues. Anyway now the problem is that I want to install LMDE native to the other half of my HDD (it's already split) but I don't want to lose my Windows install until I can verify the image works. I get nervous when futzing about with boot loaders and such. Is grub 'safe'? Mar 8, 2014 at 7:02

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