57.2 VMWare: Virtual Machines

VMware is an excellent solution for running legacy MS/Windows applications without the need for dual boot nor the need for having an extra machine. You end up with a genuine installation of MS/Windows, not an emulator, so that compatibility is not an issue.

You can download the VMware Server for free (but it is not open source). Visit http://www.vmware.com. VMware is not packaged for Debian GNU/Linux, but you can install the tar.gz file. The actual file you end up downloading is probably called something like VMware-server-e.x.p-22874.tar.gz and might be about 105MB in size. Generally, VMWare and any updates install quite painlessly.

VMWare will need to compile some applications, and so needs access to kernel headers corresponding to the kernel you are running (e.g., install the linux-headers-2.6.16-1-686-smp package).

You may like to install VMWare in /usr/local/:

  $ tar zxvf VMware-server-e.x.p-22874.tar.gz
  $ cd vmware-server-distrib
  $ sudo ./vmware-install.pl
  <enter> (/etc)
  <enter> (/etc/init.d)
  <enter> (/usr/local/sbin)
  <enter> (/usr/local/lib/vmware)
  <enter> (yes to create path)
  <enter> (/usr/local/share/man)
  <enter> (/usr/local/share/doc/vmware)
  <enter> (yes to create path)
  <enter> (yes to invoke /usr/local/bin/vmware-config.pl)
  <enter> (yes to display license)
  yes (accept license)
  <enter> (/usr/share/icons)
  <enter> (/usr/share/applications)
  <enter> (/usr/share/pixmaps)
  <enter> (build vmmon modules)
  <enter> (/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.16-2-686-smp/include)
  <enter> (networking)
  <enter> (NAT networking)
  <enter> (probe for private subnet ->
  <enter> (not another NAT network)
  <enter> (yes host-only networking)
  <enter> (probe for private subnet ->
  <enter> (no to another host-only network)
  <enter> (remote console port 902)
  <enter> (no to set up permissions)
  /consus/vmware/Virtual Machines (needs plenty of disk space)
  <enter> (yes to create path)
  <enter> (no to enter serial number)

Had to then set permissions on the install

  $ sudo chmod go+rx /usr/local/bin/vmware*
  $ sudo chmod -R go+rX /usr/local/lib/vmware/

The vmware-config.pl script might be useful.

Relevant kernel modules will be placed in and vmware has a good uninstall script to remove itself if required. Also, the vmware install script will move an old version out of the way.

Next, you simply install the operating system. Start up VMWare (either the command line vmware or from the menus) connecting to the localhost. Then create a new virtual machine:

  Typical Configuration
  Microsoft Windows
  Windows XP Professional
  Athene - Windows XP Professional
  Use bridged networking
  Disk Space 8.0 GB created now

57.2.1 Troubleshooting

DHCP fails to get an address - boot with no network for now. I need to debug why DHCP is not returning? I set up NAT so it should be okay. Have a look in the log file.

At first, with a MS/Windows XP Professional boot CD loaded, it was not recognised. In VM->Removable Devices->ide 1:0->Edit, turn on Legacy to be able to boot from the CD. Perhaps this is an issue with kernel 2.6.7.

A reported problem (that seems to have now been fixed) has been with vmmon and vmnet modules that won’t build against recent 2.6.x kernels. You can download the fix from ftp://platan.vc.cvut.cz/pub/vmware (look for vmware-any-any-update*.tar.gz). There are also some instructions on how to fix it at http://thomer.com/linux/migrate-to-2.6.html.

Thomas Laubrock reported (23 October 2006) that we might not be able to compile the kernel modules because of a different gcc version. This is typically because old versions are present on the system. This might be solved with the following:

# cd /usr/bin/
# ls -al gcc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 7 2006-10-22 15:56 gcc -> gcc-4.1
# rm gcc
# ln -s gcc-4.0 gcc
# ls -al gcc
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 7 2006-10-23 10:11 gcc -> gcc-4.0

There may be a way of achieving this with environment variables, but it would seem that you can not specifiy a compiler binary in the setup process.

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