Saturday, August 3, 2013

open-vm-tools installation on Fedora 17, 18, and 19

Most people end up at the #eager0 looking for help installing VMTools on various Linux distros and releases. My posts about Fedora 17 and Fedora 18 sit at the top of my most viewed posts list (that is until VMware's Facebook page gave me some love, and my crash course on Cloud Computing shot up to the number two spot).

I'm rebuilding my home lab (which wouldn't be possible without the support from Chesapeake NetCraftsmen!) these days, and as part of that effort I've been deploying some Fedora VMs again. But this time I thought I'd try something different: using open-vm-tools instead of the native VMware supplied VMTools. I've had success, and thought I'd share what I learned with you.

VMTools Status in the vSphere Client.
If you've ever run a virtual appliance, you've used open-vm-tools. You probably just didn't know it. The image to the right is the give-away.

open-vm-tools is easy to get up and running on a Fedora VM. MUCH easier than using the VMware provided VMTools. Of course, you'll trade functionality for simplicity: open-vm-tools will provide you with the core functionality of VMTools: the ability to request a graceful shutdown of your guest OS from your vSphere Web Client (or god forbid, the vSphere Client). VMware's VMTools for Linux has many other features that may be of use to you; I'll catalog those in a future post. For now, let's go over the open-vm-tools bit.

Now for the good news: open-vm-tools ships with Fedora 19, and will start automatically if Fedora detects that it's running as a VM on VMware software. So... you don't need to do anything! Pretty easy, right?

For Fedora 17 and 18, you'll need to grab the open-vm-tools package through yum:

sudo yum install open-vm-tools

Then reboot to complete the install and verify that open-vm-tools starts up properly. You're looking for that tell-tale sign above: VMware Tools: Running (3rd-party/Independent).

It's nice to see the inclusion of open-vm-tools in Fedora 19. It's even nicer that it is smart enough to run when it's needed. Unless you require those other features (many of which are beta) of VMTools, I highly recommend sticking with open-vm-tools for your Fedora boxes.