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How to Install VMware Server 2.0.x on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala

UPDATE 4: The script and patches have been updated to also support kernel 2.6.38. For older kernel releases please download the archive from here (temporary fix until I will unify the solutions).

UPDATE 3: The script and patches have been updated to also support kernel 2.6.35.

UPDATE 2: The script has been updated to work with kernels 2.6.32 too. Please post your comments regarding kernel 2.6.32 here.

UPDATE 1: The script which is now used for this operation has been updated to support Fedora and openSUSE too. Also the patch used is the one made by Ramon de Carvalho Valle, not the one present on VMware’s Communities site as it was before, which provides a more stable experience. More details can be read here although the instructions presented on this page are still valid.

Please post your comments regarding other distributions on the post located here!

After I have upgraded to Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala I have noticed that VMware Server 2.0.1 or 2.0.2 fail to install using the default installer. I then thought that I should use again the install script I wrote for installing the server in 9.04. Wrong! Since the kernel had changed a bit, the modules from VMware Server failed to compile correctly. Browsing the VMware Communities forums, I have discovered a post that discusses using a new patch. The only patch that seems to work for the 2.6.31-14 kernel that is shipped with Ubuntu 9.10 is the one for 2.6.30-4.

The process, even if it was handled by a script, assumed the user should stop the install process in the middle, patch some files here and there and then recompile his modules keeping his fingers crossed. Because  I really do not like that kind of approach, I decided to build my own script based on that one that will automatically patch the files and lead you to the install without the need for you to stop until you are done.

How to

  1. Download VMware Server (2.0.1 or 2.0.2) - gz format, not rpm. For the 2.0.2 version you might need to wait a couple of hours until you will receive the license key. Whichever version you choose, keep the license key near.

  2. Download my script from here (right click, save as, extract archive).

  3. Run the script with super user rights either in the same folder where you have downloaded the server archive, either by providing it the path to that folder. Make sure the folder where you have downloaded the server’s archive doesn’t contain spaces in its path name or the script will exit (giving you this reason as an error message). If the script exists, it will give you a decent warning from which you should be able to tell what’s wrong. Also, the VSOCK module will not work (will fail to compile), giving you a hint that your kernel sources might not be the ones for your running kernel. This is not true, as the script takes care of this before doing the hard work. Anyway, VMware Server will work without it. Example:

     chmod +x vmware-server-2.0.x-kernel-2.6.3x-install.sh
     sudo ./vmware-server-2.0.x-kernel-2.6.3x-install.sh [PATH_TO_VMWARE_ARCHIVE]
    
  4. When you are asked about adding users to the server, if you do not provide your own account, the user used for loging in the web console of the server will be root (maybe you should add yourself there).

  5. Provide the license key when asked about it.

  6. For the ones installing Windows guests in VMware Server, you must pick one of the following two solutions to avoid having problems with the mouse in the console:

    • you run the start-VMware-console.sh in the terminal every time you want to launch a VMware Server console, but after you have installed the VMware plug-in for Firefox

    • you export this variable in the environment right after login such that it will be set before starting Firefox:

        VMWARE_USE_SHIPPED_GTK=yes
      

    Credit for this one goes to Holger.

  7. Drop me a Kudos line in here and one for Holger here. If the solution worked well for you please share this info wherever you can. :D

Until a new patch will appear or until VMware will start writing more better and actual code, this is the only way of installing VMware Server 2.0.x on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala. Best of luck to you all!

How To, Linux, Ubuntu, VMware, Virtualization

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