Installing VMware Server on Edgy

With VMware Server being free now, there’s a great tool available for testing different operating systems, which is very good if you like to have a sneak at coming versions of Ubuntu without “damaging” your main system. The installation of VMware under Ubuntu is straight forward and I never had problems with it, but here’s a little HOWTO:

Get VMware server

First, get VMware Server from here (by the time of writing it’s version 1.0.1). There are a lot of packages but all you need is the “VMware Server for Linux” as “Binary .tar.gz” (about 100MB). Second, you need to register to get a free serial number.

Pre-installation tasks

Be sure to have the following packages installed:

  • linux-headers-generic (if you’re using the default Ubuntu generic kernel, otherwise be sure to have the appropriate headers installed)
  • build-essential
  • xinetd
  • perl
  • ia32-libs (for amd64)
  • ia32-libs-gtk (for amd64)


Unpack the .tar.gz file downloaded from VMware to a temporary directory. Open a terminal, change to that directory and start the installation script:

$ cd /path/to/vmware_install_directory
$ sudo ./

After installation is complete (just leave the default answers with any question during installation), the server needs to be configured. You may again answer all the questions with the defaults, except for the location of your virtual machines, which should be a filesystem with enough disk space (I’d say at least about 5GB per virtual machine) and it should be writable for your non-root user. A kernel module will be compiled and you should see something like “the module loads perfectly into the running kernel”. The last step will be to provide your VMware serial number and you’re set!

To start the VMware server console go to “Applications -> System Tools -> VMware Server Console” and connect to the local server. To edit the “Host settings” you need to start it via terminal by:

$ sudo vmware

I’d leave everything as it is except the memory allocation which I’d reduce to half the size of your system’s physical RAM. If VMware won’t start up when invoked as “normal” user, the preferences file is now owned by root. To change that do as follows in a terminal:

$ cd $HOME/.vmware
$ ls -la #see the output: is 'preferences' owned by root?
$ sudo chmod <username>:<username> preferences #where _<username>_ should be replaced by your username ;-)
$ ls -la #see the output again: now <username> should be the file owner again

OK, now you can install as many OS’ in your new VMware as you like (and as disk space allows!).

IMPORTANT: If there are any kernel updates you need to start the VMware configuration again to compile a new kernel module. Do so by opening a terminal:

$ sudo

Again, leave the default answers and everything should work pretty well!

This post is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 by the author.