Sep 29, 2009

VMWare Tools For Linux On The Easy

Last year, I wrote about how you you go about installing VMWare tools on an Ubuntu virtual machine. That method still works, but it isn’t the optimal nor easiest way of doing it. Not according to my boss anyway.

My boss is the guy who really introduced me to Linux, and really knows his sH!7. He said that if you manually install the VMWare tools pack then later decide to upgrade the kernel it will break your VMWare tools install, and you will have to remember to manually uninstall it, then re-install it. He recommends using your distro’s pre-packaged Open-VM-Tools!

He said that since your distro maintains Open-VM-Tools in their repository, chances are pretty good that they will keep them up to date when they roll out changes to the kernel, and will keep you running smoothly after an upgrade.

To install Open-VM-Tools in Ubuntu it is as simple as using apt-get:

>sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools

One thing I did notice with using this is that for an Ubuntu virtual machine, vSphere shows the tools status as OK:

Ubuntu VMWare Tools

On Gentoo, my boss’s distro of choice, vShpere shows the VMWare tools status as Unmanaged:

gentoo VMWare toolsStick that in your pipe and smoke it Gentoo! Just kidding, all joking aside, my boss assures me that even though it appears as Unmanaged in vSphere you still get all of the benefits as the manual install of VMWare tools such as:

  • Improved video compatibility & performance
  • Improved network compatibility & performance
  • Copy and paste between the host and guest
  • Improved memory utilization
  • Improved CPU utilization

Do you use a lot of Linux virtual servers in your environment? Do you already use Open-VM-Tools? Do you manually install the tools? What’s your VM story? Hit us up in the comments!

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