Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Installing VMTools on Fedora 17

Since I've been spending some quality time with a few Fedora17 VMs lately, I thought I'd share the process I've been using to install VM Tools. The process can be frustrating at first, but once you understand what the VM Tools installer is looking for, you can get everything up and running in 10 minutes.

Here's a summary of the steps, if you prefer a litany over the narrative:

1) Run a software update to make sure you've got the latest packages on your VM.
2) In the vSphere client, start the Tool installer.
3) Copy the VMwareTools-<build information>.tar.gz to /usr/tmp.
4) Extract the tools package from the archive.
5) Install the latest kernel-devel package, along with gcc (if you don't have a compiler already).
6) Run the install script.

Now, the narrative. First, let's start with a powered off VM. You'll see in the picture below that Tools are not installed.
VMware Tools: Not running (Not installed)

Power on your VM and log in. (You will need to be root, or to have root privileges, to perform this task). Next you'll want to initiate the Tools install process via the vSphere client (VM > Guest > Install / Upgrade VMware Tools). Click OK on the message that pops up (it's just telling you how much better interactions with you VM will be after Tools is installed). When you start the Tools install, vSphere will mount an ISO to your VM that contains the Tools application. That means on your Fedora VM you'll see a message pop up about how to handle the new media.

Fedora's Prompt for the newly discovered media.
Now we can get to the fun part. Select Open with Files, then Extract the file to a working location, like /usr/tmp. Once this is done, you'll have a new directory named vm-tools-distrib.Within that directory, you'll find vmware-install.pl. This script will walk you through the process of configuring and compiling the VMware Tools.

Of course, if you don't have Perl on your system, this file is not going to do much. Getting Perl is easy: yum -y install perl. And while you're at it, get gcc (yum -y install gcc) and the kernel headers for the running kernel (first, update your system to the latest kernel, then run yum -y install kernel-devel). Otherwise the configure script (which executes after the install script) will fail. Like this:

Once you've got Perl, gcc, and kernel-devel loaded, you can run the vmware-install.pl script. Unless you have a good reason to, avoid changing the default settings. The script takes a few minutes, and when it's done you'll need to restart your X session to complete the install. Then you'll see this:

Tools running and current (which is based on a Latin word that means running, so...).
Wow. That was a long-winded post for something as simple as a tools install. But if you're not comfortable with Linux command-line administration, you should be able to get Tools up and running without any problems by following the steps above. Let me know if this helps, or if you run into trouble.

Also, if you're looking for help with VMTools on Fedora18, I've got a post about that here.