Posted by: reformedmusings | October 31, 2008

VMWare Workstation 6.5.0 in Kubuntu 8.04.1 Hardy

Well, WMware released Workstation 6.5.0. As soon as I found out, I downloaded the RPM file.

First hint is to uninstall Workstation 6.05 or anything older. When I initially installed 6.5.0, it didn’t update 6.05 but set itself up in parallel with it. That’s not what I had in mind. I then uninstalled both and reinstalled 6.5.0. That worked fine.

Kubuntu uses Debian packages (.deb extensions). Although some package utilities will install .rpm files, the result isn’t always pretty. So, I used alien to convert the .rpm to a .deb package. If you don’t have alien installed, you need to install it.

sudo aptitude install alien

Once alien installs, change into the directory with the .rpm file and convert it.

sudo alien -d -c VMware-Workstation-6.5.0-118166.i386.rpm

That will produce a file.deb in the same directory. The -d option converts the target file to a Debian package. The -c option includes scripts, which are critical to making it all work. If you forget the -c, you’ll get error messages about scripts. The conversion takes a while, so be patient.

Once you have the .deb package, you can install it normally by right-clicking on it in your file manager, selecting Open with…, then picking your favorite package manager. It will open and install the package. Or, you can install it from the command line:

sudo dpkg -i VMware-Workstation-6.5.0-118166.i386.deb

6.5.0 installs in Hardy without error, so you don’t need any workarounds. So far, so good.

There is a problem, however with installing/updating VMWare Tools in Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex guests. Everything works fine until you get to the vsock module. That module will not compile. Since it handles the communications between the host and guest, without it the mouse switch, keyboard switch, cut-and-paste, etc., will not work between the host and the guest. That means hitting ctrl-alt every time you want to release the mouse from the guest VM. That gets very old after 10 minutes. However, file sharing does work, so you can pass text between the host and guest using text files.

Although I’ve posted on this at VMWare’s forum, and others have encountered the same issue, I have yet to receive an answer. My recommendation is not to update VMWare Tools in your Intrepid guest VMs until someone comes up with a work-around. I tried using the open source vsock module, but it doesn’t work either. I’ve also tried some earlier patches for vsock from the early Hardy problems they had, but those don’t work in Intrepid.

Also, I could not get 6.5.0 3D effects working in the Intrepid guest VM. I don’t know if this is related to the vsock failure or the WMWare Tools video driver. No real way to tell until vsock is fixed.

To be fair, VMWare doesn’t list Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex as a supported guest operating system. On the other hand, what else would I want to test for deployment? And 6.04 worked fine with Intrepid guests with a simple workaround for VMWare Tools. VMWare seems to be constantly behind in operating system support, which worries me. They had similar issues with Gutsy and Hardy when they came out. They now finally, officially support Hardy a month before Intrepid releases. Come on, guys.

Overall, I like the Unity feature in 6.5.0 for Windows guests. It works fine with my Kubuntu host, even picking up my Compiz Fusion window effects for the guest window. Very slick. That’s really the biggest change that I’ve noticed in 6.5.0. I’d love to be able to report on the 3D visual effects in guest VMs, but can’t yet. These were the two big reasons that I upgraded, so I’m only batting 50% at the moment.

On the good side, the 6.5.0 upgrade is free if you’re a registered 6.x user, which I am.

I’ll post again when I find a workaround for the VMWare Tools issue with Intrepid Ibex guests.



  1. […] VMWare Tools 6.5.0, build-118116, and Ubuntu 8.10 guests It seems that VMWare Tools 6.5.0, build-118166, and hence VMWare Workstation 6.5.0, are broken for Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex hosts. I discussed the problem briefly in this post. […]


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