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Got my vmware server running on linux -- a very sweet setup

By Andrew Pollack on 10/06/2006 at 05:24 PM EDT

It took me a bit of work because first I had to make CentOS 4.3 recognize my AC'97 sound card and the drivers from RealTek wouldn't compile. I wanted sound in my VM's so that had to be resolved first. Once done, I downloaded the vmware server in "rpm" format and installed it. After spending a few minutes looking for what happened to it, I found the vmware executable and the configuration script and was up and running.

The vmware configuration script isn't very smart. By default it wants to place your vm's in "/var/lib/vmware/virtual machines" -- if know much about linux, you're seeing the problem. That was an easy enough fix though.

Transferring a Windows 2000 Pro vm I had already created was more problematic. The vitual disk used a file name that has a space in it. I had to change the name, and the reference to the name in the .vmx file and recopy the file over. Since the vm was in a zip file, I had to edit the zip first on my Windows XP workstation as I didn't have anything but the default unzip package for linux. Once I edited the files and retransfered the zip to the linux box, I couldn't unzip it. The newest versions of zip create archive that the old linux unzip utility doesn't touch. That meant going and downloading a new file from pkware. Finally, I was able to open the vm.

The cool thing, is that once I took care of the windose file name issues, the Win2k vm ran great in it's little window on my gnome desktop. Pop that thing out to full screen and you can quickly forget there is linux behind it.

This vmware server is also accessible using a windows workstation client. That means you can build a nice fast linux SMP box, and run vm's on it each with their own disk, and access them from your workstation as if you were in front of them. They are, for all intent and purposes, standalone hardware. VERY sweet.


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