VMware

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This article is about installing VMware in Arch Linux; you may also be interested in VMware/Installing Arch as a guest.

Note:
  • This article is about the latest major VMware versions, meaning VMware Workstation Pro and Player 12.5.
  • For older versions, use the vmware-patchAUR package.

Installation

Install the correct dependencies:

Download the latest VMware Workstation Pro or Player (or a beta version, if available).

Start the installation:

# sh VMware-edition-version.release.architecture.bundle
Tip: Some useful flags:
  • --eulas-agreed - Skip the EULAs
  • --console - Use the console UI.
  • --custom - Allows changing the install directory to e.g. /usr/local (make sure to update the vmware-usbarbitrator.service paths in #systemd services).
  • -I, --ignore-errors - Ignore fatal errors.
  • --set-setting=vmware-workstation serialNumber XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX - Set the serial number during install (good for scripted installs).
  • --required - Only ask mandatory questions (results in silent install when combined with --eulas-agreed and --console).

For the System service scripts directory, use /etc/init.d (the default).

Note: During the installation you will get an error about "No rc*.d style init script directories" being given. This can be safely ignored, since Arch uses systemd.
Tip: To (re)build the modules from terminal later on, use:
# vmware-modconfig --console --install-all

Configuration

Kernel modules

VMware Workstation 12.5 supports kernels up to 4.8 out of the box.

systemd services

(Optional) Instead of using /etc/init.d/vmware (start|stop|status|restart) and /usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator directly to manage the services, you may also use .service files (also available in the vmware-systemd-servicesAUR package, and also included in vmware-patchAUR):

/etc/systemd/system/vmware.service
[Unit]
Description=VMware daemon
Requires=vmware-usbarbitrator.service
Before=vmware-usbarbitrator.service
After=network.target

[Service]
ExecStart=/etc/init.d/vmware start
ExecStop=/etc/init.d/vmware stop
PIDFile=/var/lock/subsys/vmware
RemainAfterExit=yes

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target
/etc/systemd/system/vmware-usbarbitrator.service
[Unit]
Description=VMware USB Arbitrator
Requires=vmware.service
After=vmware.service

[Service]
ExecStart=/usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator
ExecStop=/usr/bin/vmware-usbarbitrator --kill
RemainAfterExit=yes

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Add this service as well, if you want to connect to your VMware Workstation installation from another Workstation Server Console:

/etc/systemd/system/vmware-workstation-server.service
[Unit]
Description=VMware Workstation Server
Requires=vmware.service
After=vmware.service

[Service]
ExecStart=/etc/init.d/vmware-workstation-server start
ExecStop=/etc/init.d/vmware-workstation-server stop
PIDFile=/var/lock/subsys/vmware-workstation-server
RemainAfterExit=yes

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

After which you can enable them on boot.

Workstation Server service

The vmware-workstation-server.service calls wssc-adminTool in its command chain, despite having been renamed to vmware-wssc-adminTool.

To prevent the service startup, this can be fixed with a symlink:

# ln -s wssc-adminTool /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-wssc-adminTool

Launching the application

To open VMware Workstation Pro:

$ vmware

or Player:

$ vmplayer

Tips and tricks

Entering the Workstation Pro license key

From terminal

# /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx-debug --new-sn XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX

Where XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX is your license key.

Note: The -debug binary informs the user of an incorrect license.

From GUI

If the above does not work, you can try:

# /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-enter-serial

Extracting the VMware BIOS

$ objcopy /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-vmx -O binary -j bios440 --set-section-flags bios440=a bios440.rom.Z
$ perl -e 'use Compress::Zlib; my $v; read STDIN, $v, '$(stat -c%s "./bios440.rom.Z")'; $v = uncompress($v); print $v;' < bios440.rom.Z > bios440.rom

Extracting the installer

To view the contents of the installer .bundle:

$ sh VMware-edition-version.release.architecture.bundle --extract /tmp/vmware-bundle/

Using the modified BIOS

If and when you decide to modify the extracted BIOS you can make your virtual machine use it by moving it to ~/vmware/Virtual_machine_name:

$ mv bios440.rom ~/vmware/Virtual_machine_name/

then adding the name to the Virtual_machine_name.vmx file:

~/vmware/Virtual_machine_name/Virtual_machine_name.vmx
bios440.filename = "bios440.rom"

Enable 3D graphics on Intel and Optimus

Some graphics drivers are blacklisted by default, due to poor and/or unstable 3D acceleration. After enabling Accelerate 3D graphics, the log may show something like:

Disabling 3D on this host due to presence of Mesa DRI driver.  Set mks.gl.allowBlacklistedDrivers = TRUE to override.

This means the following:

~/.vmware/preferences
mks.gl.allowBlacklistedDrivers = TRUE

Troubleshooting

Kernel headers for version 4.x-xxxx were not found. If you installed them[...]

Install the headers (linux-headers).

Note: Upgrading the kernel and the headers will require you to boot to the new kernel to match the version of the headers. This is a relatively common error.

USB devices not recognized

Tip: Also handled by vmware-patchAUR.

If not using the systemd service to automatically handle the services, you need to manually start the vmware-usbarbitrator binary as root each time.

To start:

# vmware-usbarbitrator

To stop:

# vmware-usbarbitrator --kill

Incorrect login/password when trying to access VMware remotely

VMware Workstation provides the possibility to remotely manage Shared VMs through the vmware-workstation-server service. However, this will fail with the error "incorrect username/password" due to incorrect PAM configuration of the vmware-authd service. To fix it, edit /etc/pam.d/vmware-authd like this:

/etc/pam.d/vmware-authd
#%PAM-1.0
auth     required       pam_unix.so
account  required       pam_unix.so
password required       pam_permit.so
session  required       pam_unix.so

and restart the vmware systemd service.

Now you can connect to the server with the credentials provided during the installation.

Note: libxslt may be required for starting virtual machines.

Issues with ALSA output

To fix sound quality issues or enabling proper HD audio output, first run:

$ aplay -L

If interested in playing 5.1 surround sound from the guest, look for surround51:CARD=vendor_name,DEV=num, if experiencing quality issues, look for front:CARD=vendor_name,DEV=num. Finally put the name in the .vmx:

~/vmware/Virtual_machine_name/Virtual_machine_name.vmx
sound.fileName="surround51:CARD=Live,DEV=0"
sound.autodetect="FALSE"

OSS emulation should also be disabled.

Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) is running

To disable KVM on boot, you can use something like:

/etc/modprobe.d/vmware.conf
blacklist kvm
blacklist kvm-amd   # For AMD CPUs
blacklist kvm-intel # For Intel CPUs

Module Issues

/dev/vmmon not found

The full error is:

Could not open /dev/vmmon: No such file or directory.
Please make sure that the kernel module 'vmmon' is loaded.

This means that at least the vmmon module is not loaded. See the #systemd services section for automatic loading.

/dev/vmci not found

The full error is:

Failed to open device "/dev/vmci": No such file or directory
Please make sure that the kernel module 'vmci' is loaded.

Try to recompile VMware kernel modules with:

# vmware-modconfig --console --install-all

Kernel modules fail to build after Linux 4.9

On VMware Workstation Pro 12.5.2, the module source needs to be modified to be successfully compiled under kernel 4.9 [1].

# cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
# tar xf vmmon.tar
# mv vmmon.tar vmmon.old.tar
# sed -i 's/uvAddr, numPages, 0, 0/uvAddr, numPages, 0/g' vmmon-only/linux/hostif.c
# tar cf vmmon.tar vmmon-only
# rm -r vmmon-only
# tar xf vmnet.tar
# mv vmnet.tar vmnet.old.tar
# sed -i 's/addr, 1, 1, 0/addr, 1, 0/g' vmnet-only/userif.c
# tar cf vmnet.tar vmnet-only
# rm -r vmnet-only

vmware modules fail to build on kernel 4.11+ and GCC 7

Running vmware-modconfig yields:

Failed to get gcc information.

The actual error can be found in the logs:

modconfig| I125: Got gcc version "6.3.1".
modconfig| I125: GCC major version 6 does not match Kernel GCC major version 7.
modconfig| I125: The GCC compiler "/sbin/gcc" cannot be used for the target kernel.

To skip the check, use this workaround:

# sed 's/gcc version 6/gcc version 7/' /proc/version > /tmp/version
# mount --bind /tmp/version /proc/version
# vmware-modconfig --console --install-all
# umount /proc/version && rm /tmp/version

Installer Fails to Start

If you just get back to the prompt when opening the .bundle, then you probably have a deprecated or broken version of the VMware installer and it should removed (you may also refer to the uninstallation section of this article):

# rm -r /etc/vmware-installer/

User interface initialization failed

You may also see an error like this:

 Extracting VMware Installer...done.
 No protocol specified
 No protocol specified
 User interface initialization failed.  Exiting.  Check the log for details.

This can be fixed by either installing the ncurses5-compat-libsAUR dependency or temporarily allowing root access to X:

 $ xhost +
 $ sudo ./<vmware filename>.bundle
 $ xhost -

VMware Fails to Start

Segmentation fault at startup due to old Intel microcode

Old Intel microcode may result in the following kind of segmentation fault at startup:

/usr/bin/vmware: line 31: 4941 Segmentation fault "$BINDIR"/vmware-modconfig --appname="VMware Workstation" --icon="vmware-workstation"

See Microcode for how to update the microcode.

vmplayer/vmware fails to start from version 12.5.4

As per [2] the temporary workaround is to downgrade the package libpng to version 1.6.28-1 and keep it in the IgnorePkg parameter in /etc/pacman.conf.

An easier workaround is to make VMWare use the system's version of zlib instead of its own one:

# cd /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libz.so.1
# mv libz.so.1 libz.so.1.old
# ln -s /usr/lib/libz.so.1 .

vmplayer/vmware fails to start from version 12.5.3 to version 12.5.5

It seems to be a problem with the file /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libstdc++.so.6/libstdc++.so.6, missing CXXABI_1.3.8.

If the system have installed gcc-libs or gcc-libs-multilib, that library is already installed. Therefore, it's possible to remove that file and vmplayer will use the one provided by gcc-libs instead. As root do:

# mv /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libstdc++.so.6/libstdc++.so.6 /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libstdc++.so.6/libstdc++.so.6.bak

Also there is a workaround:

# export VMWARE_USE_SHIPPED_LIBS='yes'

vmware 12 process terminates immediately after start, no GUI is launched

Registered bug at Mageia, but it seems that there are no error messages shown in terminal with arch. When inspecting the logs, which are in /tmp/vmware-<id>, there are VMWARE_SHIPPED_LIBS_LIST is not set, VMWARE_SYSTEM_LIBS_LIST is not set, VMWARE_USE_SHIPPED_LIBS is not set, VMWARE_USE_SYSTEM_LIBS is not set issues. Process simply terminates with Unable to execute /usr/lib/vmware/bin/vmware-modconfig. after vmware or vmplayer is executed. Solution is the same, as root do:

# mv /etc/vmware/icu/icudt44l.dat /etc/vmware/icu/icudt44l.dat.bak

Also there is a workaround:

# export VMWARE_USE_SHIPPED_LIBS='yes'

If it happens on 12.5.7 and moving icudt44l.dat or setting VMWARE_USE_SHIPPED_LIBS to yes has no effect or if executing vmplayer on terminal shows no message, try as root:

# cd /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libz.so.1
# mv libz.so.1 libz.so.1.old
# ln -s /usr/lib/libz.so.1 .

Despite setting the VMWARE_USE_SHIPPED_LIBS variable, VMWare may still fail to find certain libraries. An example is the libfontconfig.so.1 library. Check vmware logs in the tmp directory to see which libraries are still not found. Copy them to the appropriate path with libraries existing on the system:

# cp /usr/lib/libfontconfig.so.1 /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libfontconfig.so.1/

Instead of copying all these files manually, you may want to try exporting an additional setting:

# export VMWARE_USE_SYSTEM_LIBS='yes'

Guest Issues

Unable to download VMware Tools for Guests

To download the tools manually, visit the VMware repository.

Navigate to: "application name / version / build ID / linux / packages/" and download the appropriate Tools.

Extract with:

$ tar -xvf vmware-tools-name-version-buildID.x86_64.component.tar

And install using the VMware installer:

# vmware-installer --install-component=/path/vmware-tools-name-version-buildID.x86_64.component

If the above does not work, try installing ncurses5-compat-libsAUR.

Guests have incorrect system clocks or are unable to boot: "[...]timeTracker_user.c:234 bugNr=148722"

This is due to incomplete support of power management features (Intel SpeedStep and AMD PowerNow!/Cool'n'Quiet) in VMware Linux that vary the CPU frequency. In March 2012, with the release of linux 3.3-1 the maximum frequency Performance governor was replaced with the dynamic Ondemand. When the host CPU frequency changes, the Guest system clock runs too quickly or too slowly, but may also render the whole Guest unbootable.

To prevent this, the maximum host CPU frequency can be specified, and Time Stamp Counter (TSC) disabled, in the global configuration:

/etc/vmware/config
host.cpukHz = "X"  # The maximum speed in KHz, e.g. 3GHz is "3000000".
host.noTSC = "TRUE" # Keep the Guest system clock accurate even when
ptsc.noTSC = "TRUE" # the time stamp counter (TSC) is slow.
Tip: To periodically correct the time (once per minute), in the Options tab of VMware Tools, enable: "Time synchronization between the virtual machine and the host operating system".

Networking on Guests not available after system restart

This is likely due to the vmnet module not being loaded [3]. See also the #systemd services section for automatic loading.

Uninstallation

To uninstall VMware you need the product name (either vmware-workstation or vmware-player). To list all the installed products:

$ vmware-installer -l

and uninstall with (--required skips the confirmation):

# vmware-installer -u product --required
Tip: Use --console for the console UI.

Remember to also disable and remove the services:

# rm /etc/systemd/system/vmware.service
# rm /etc/systemd/system/vmware-usbarbitrator.service

You may also want to have a look at the module directories in /usr/lib/modules/kernel_name/misc/ for any leftovers, and remove /etc/init.d/ if now empty.