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Yes, my kinect work in github uses libfreenect and not OpenNI. I can't get OpenNI to work with ros correctly on OSX (tried many times and many ways). Also you cannot use kinect with VB ... doesn't work.

What I am doing now is running kinect (using libfreenect) to produce depth images and point clouds ros understands. I am right now setting up (just like you did) a virtualbox with Linux and ROS-Fuerte so I can send (over the network) kinect data (from OSX) to virtualbox/Linux and work with RGBD-Slam, octomap, etc.

[kinect] -> [OSX/libfreenect] -> [Virtualbox/Linux]

I have basically given up on an OSX only solution. For the past year, I have spent more time getting ros packages to work on OSX than actually doing any robotics work. I am almost to the point of abandoning OSX and just moving to Linux completely.

Curious how the performance of Linux/Ros is on a macbook air. Also curious about your thoughts on the Xtion if you have any too.

Good Luck!