Monday, 3 March 2008

Installing Ubuntu into VMware and adding VMware tools

I'm using VMware server, because its free and I know how to use it. This was my first Linux install into VMware, I decided to use Ubuntu because it has a nice easy installer, and it's in the list of target operating systems on the VMware new machine wizard.

It was pretty straight forward with everything pretty much 'click next' all the way through. After about 15 mins I had a working Ubuntu machine.

On restarting my machine it asked to be allowed to update itself. I let it do this and it downloaded a whole bunch of stuff from the Ubuntu site then confirmed it was up to date.

It was quickly obvious that were a few quirks to iron out. The screen resolution setting was 1.5 times the size of my screen and the mouse was pretty jerky. This is expected behaviour for a new VM without VMware Tools installed. So I set about installing the VMware Tools. For Windows VMs this is a single click on the VMware menu and the Windows installer does the rest. For Linux its not so simple, all VMware does is mount the software as a DVD-ROM on the desktop, and open it in a browser window, showing a 'RPM Package' and 'tar archive'.

Either of these can probably be used to install from, but as I don't really know what I'm doing yet I decided to go with looking for instructions inside the tar archive. I used the right click 'Archive manager' to look inside the archive for the install instructions, then followed them.

The actual installation involved unpacking the archive to the /tmp directory then following the install instructions to run the install script. This was again pretty straight forward. One service failed to install, but the installer said that it would be fine as long as I didn't want to use VMware shared folders, which I don't so that OK for now. During installation of the tools I was able to select a sensible screen resolution from a long list. After a restart of the VM the mouse was working fine too.

A quick test and it was all systems go apart from the sound, which I'll cover in a separate post.

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