Monday, June 15, 2009

Installing VMware Server 2.0.1 on Ubuntu 9.04

I use Ubuntu on daily basis and I can live without Windows most of the time. However, once in a while I need to use Windows for things like accessing the iTunes store and editing Microsoft Word documents (yes I know works but it messes up the style from time to time). I created a WIndows VM image under VirtualBox, which worked quite well except that I noticed the constant high CPU load as mentioned by several other users. I tried their suggestions such as using nohz=off and turn off ACPI, which did reduce the CPU load to 50% on one core but didn't get rid of the problem completely.

I eventually decided to give the free VMware Server a try. Setting it up on Windows was pretty simple, just double click and then click through the Wizard. However, installing it on Ubuntu 9.04 is a non-trivial task and took me a little while to complete.
  1. Launch Synaptic package manager and make sure you have linux-header, linux-source, gcc and binutils installed.
  2. Download the .tar.gz package from VMware web site (VMware-server-2.0.1-156745.x86_64.tar.gz in my case).
  3. Extract the files then run the the installation script as super user
  4. The installer will prompt you with half a thousand questions, I just use the default value for most of them.
  5. Eventually the installer will start compiling and loading kernel modules, most of them will go through fine but the VSOCK module installation will fail with the following error message.
    Unable to make a vsock module that can be loaded in the running kernel:
    insmod: error inserting '/tmp/vmware-config0/vsock.o': -1 Unknown symbol in module
    Ignore this insmod error for now and continue to finish the installation.
  6. Apply the following patch to, this fixes the insmod error above so we can re-run it to complete the VSOCK module installation.
    +++ /usr/bin/ 2008-12-01 16:55:59.000000000 +0100
    @@ -4121,6 +4121,11 @@
         return 'no';
    +  if ($name eq 'vsock') {
    +    print wrap("VMWare config patch VSOCK!\n");
    +    system(shell_string($gHelper{'mv'}) . ' -vi ' . shell_string($build_dir . '/../Module.symvers') . ' ' . shell_string($build_dir . '/vsock-only/' ));
    +  }
       print wrap('Building the ' . $name . ' module.' . "\n\n", 0);
       if (system(shell_string($gHelper{'make'}) . ' -C '
                  . shell_string($build_dir . '/' . $name . '-only')
    @@ -4143,6 +4148,12 @@
         if (try_module($name, $build_dir . '/' . $name . '.o', 0, 1)) {
           print wrap('The ' . $name . ' module loads perfectly into the running kernel.'
                      . "\n\n", 0);
    +      if ($name eq 'vmci') {
    +        print wrap("VMWare config patch VMCI!\n");
    +        system(shell_string($gHelper{'cp'}) . ' -vi ' . shell_string($build_dir.'/vmci-only/Module.symvers') . ' ' . shell_string($build_dir . '/../'));
    +      } 
           return 'yes';
  7. Now run the script as super user and the VSOCK module should compile and install fine now.
  8. Now run vmware from the command prompt to launch vmware UI in your browser. You will see following error message as shown below:
  9. Click on "Add Exception", which will pop up another dialog. Click on "Get Certificate" and then "Confirm Security Exception" to add the VMware URL to the exception list.

  10. Finally, you should see the login screen. You need to login as the root user but Ubuntu does not set password for root user by default. Therefore, you first need to set the password by executing
    sudo passwd root
    after setting the password just login as root and enjoy.


  1. did you ever consider that if someone needed the help on this page that the step "apply the following patch to" may be WAY over their heads?

  2. This is how you can apply the patch:
    To run it open a terminal, and do the following:

    1. CD into the directory where the Pearl script is

    >cd /path/to/

    2. Make the script executable

    >chmod +x

    3. Patch!

    >sudo patch /usr/bin/ /path/to/

    Hope this helps.

  3. And you can download the patch from here:

  4. Oscar,
    Thanks a ton for this patch.

    I had working vmware server installation and it went south after Ubuntu Karmic upgrade. I brought back the older Kernel only to see Xorg going beserk on my CPU utilization. After I reinstalled Jaunty, I tried couple of patches from vmware/ubuntu forums and none of them cured the vsock insmod error. To my amazement my kernel seemed to be compiled with the same gcc version as the gcc on my box to the third level and I had right set of headers and libraries.

    Vmware server 2.0.1 (64bit) works fine on Jaunty Kernel
    2.6.28-11-generic with your patch.

    I am a bit curious in how your patch fixed the vsock module and will try to read through your code the next oppotrtunity I get.

    Thanks a Lot!

  5. Seems to work in Karmic - only place I could find the solution, thanks!


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