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the dreaded vfkit exit 1

With Podman 5 having recently been released, we have seen a lot of new adopters join the fray. When using brew, the one error that we are seeing reasonably commonly is:

Error: vfkit exited unexpectedly with exit code 1

At one time in our development phases, we did see this error being triggered when the vfkit binary was not signed properly. So, that is one plausible cause.

But the more likely problem has been that brew is setup for the wrong architecture (Apple Silicon trying installing x86_64 podman and vfkit or visa versa). I believe you can verify this by running brew config and there is a field towards the bottom that is a boolean about Rosetta. If that is true, then this is likely your problem.

The bigger question has been how to recover from this (I am not a brew expert). If you are running a podman 5, I would recommend executing podman machine reset as a first step. The next step is to get set to the correct architecture ( I am not a brew expert). Numerous people have reporting that removing brew cleanly and re-installing brew again fixed the problem. When reinstalling brew, you have to be certain you are not re-installing it under Rosetta.

Instead of using brew, you can also use the packaged installer from podman upstream. Be sure to uninstall podman from brew and choose the correct architecture for the Mac.



One response to “the dreaded vfkit exit 1”

  1. Nick Avatar

    Thanks for posting this! I initially tried 5.0.0-rc2 on an M3 MacBook Pro, using the universal installer, and hit this error.

    After downloading and running the 5.0.0 RTM universal installers (CLI and Desktop) this morning, I ran podman machine rm, and then podman machine init to recreate the VM. After that, podman machine start succeeds – no more vfkit exit 1 🙂

    I didn’t check architecture earlier, but podman and the hosted containers are definitely aarch64 processes now (no Rosetta involvement).

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