Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Installing VMWare Tools on Ubuntu Guest Servers

After hunting around on the web for a while, I couldn't find anyone who answered this in a way that people could run step-by-step, so I hope this helps other people in the future.

I used Ubuntu 8.04.2 LTS for the purposes of this example, but a similar, if not identical set of commands should work for any version of Ubuntu Server.

First, you'll need to have installed VMWare on Windows or a UNIX server and have your Ubuntu Guest running, then you can go to "VM / Install VMWare Tools".

Your first problem, because you're not running a desktop system in your guest -- the CDROM is not automounted for you, so you'll need to do:

mount /media/cdrom

Next, you'll need to copy the .tar.gz file to a place on the installation that has write access, like /tmp:

cp /media/cdrom/VMwareTools-*.tar.gz /tmp/

Next, extract the file:

tar zvxf VMwareTools-*.tar.gz

Change to the directory:

cd /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/

Now, before we actually run the installer, Ubuntu Server needs some packages installed so the new kernel modules can be built successfully.

apt-get -f install build-essential linux-headers-server linux-server

Once they've been successfully installed, you can run:

sudo perl vmware-install.pl

Most of the defaults are fine, when you are asked for "the location of the C header files for your running kernel" you'll need to answer with the include directory from the kernel you are currently running -- from the looks of things, this trips people up sometimes.

(Ubuntu doesn't ship with a /usr/src/linux directory, so if you press [ENTER] here, you'll get a "Directory not found" message and asked to re-enter the location)

As of the time of writing, the kernel is 2.6.24-23-server, so your location would be:


Once you've done that, the configuration routine will continue through to the end normally and you can reboot your guest OS in order for the changes to take effect.

1 comment:

benz said...

Brilliant. I'd been fighting this for the last two evenings, everytime I set up a new vmware ubuntu build I fight this battle again...
First time I tried this it didn't work, but I forgot to install the generic headers.

Installing the open vm tools from apt-get left me with a system that didn't work with drag'n'drop or video resizing but the mouse was perfect.

Following that up with your post though worked well, the system paths were set correctly by the open vm tools install so all I had to do was hit 'Y' all the way :-)