Archive for January 16th, 2006

VMWare Player, or Thank You VMWare!

This entry will require a little bit of backstory to catch you up to speed. Way back around December 2003, I decided that I needed to purchase a copy of VMWare for Windows to run Debian inside a virtual machine in Windows for a class I was taking. So I paid around $130 for an academic license for VMWare. And my plan worked, the virtual Debian ran fantastically, and I got an A in the class that I was taking.

But I also ended up with a license for VMWare for Windows, which didn’t do me a lot of good, since my main operating system is Linux (Debian Sarge then, Ubuntu Breezy now). So my license for VMWare just sat around, being buried under virtual dust. I thought of selling it at one point, but something made me decide to hold on it for a while.

Anyway, fast-forward to the year 2006. VMWare released the free VMWare player a couple of months ago: VMWare Player can run virtual machines created using VMWare Workstation. Even cooler, VMWare Player has a native Linux version! So, after a few weeks of thinking about it, I decided to create a Windows 2000 vm in VMWare under Windows, then boot back into Ubuntu and run the Win2k vm in the free VMWare Player.

Well, turns out it wasn’t that easy. The VMWare player wants to build a kernel module, and Ubuntu isn’t set up to allow building of most anything very easily. Fortunately, though, there’s an excellent HOWTO for installing the VMWare Player in Breezy! The best bit of information was linked from another source:

Installing the player itself involves some patience. Get the Linux tar from this page. Most of my instructions will be shamelessly ripped from this lovely tutorial. Fire up a root terminal and do:

apt-get install build-essential
uname -r
apt-get install linux-headers-’kernel version’
apt-get install gcc-3.4
apt-get install g -3.4

After installing the packages, the VMWare Player installs fairly easily (though VMWare went a little overboard on prompts). And then, the moment of truth. I opened up a terminal and typed:

vmplayer win2k.vmx

Up popped the VMWare Player window, and up popped a couple of error messages (e.g.: Path to floppy drive A: not valid. Would you like to replace this with /dev/fd0?). I allowed VMWare Player to make the appropriate changes. And then up popped the VMWare BIOS loading screen.

And then up popped the Windows 2000 boot screen!


I knew it was a good idea to keep that VMWare license. Now I wanna figure out where I put the install CDs for OS/2 4.0, and make a virtual machine for that.

It’s ALL good!

Profile picI am a 40-ish uber-geek, Daoist and family man. Blessed to have one incredible wife and three wonderful kiddos. Dao has been kind to me.

January 2006
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