How To Install VMware Server 2 On A Fedora 9 Desktop

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme

This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to install VMware Server 2 on a Fedora 9 desktop system. With VMware Server you can create and run guest operating systems ("virtual machines") such as Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, etc. under a host operating system. This has the benefit that you can run multiple operating systems on the same hardware which saves a lot of money, and you can move virtual machines from one VMware Server to the next one (or to a system that has the VMware Player which is also free).

Also, with VMware Server you can let your old Windows desktop (that you previously converted into a VMware virtual machine with VMware Converter, as described in this tutorial: run under your Fedora desktop. This can be useful if you depend on some applications that exist for Windows only, or if you want to switch to Linux slowly.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Preliminary Note

I'm using the user name falko with the home directory /home/falko here - please adjust this appropriately.


2 Disabling SELinux

Before we install VMware Server, we have to disable SELinux because otherwise you won't be able to connect to VMware Server later on.

Open a terminal (Applications > System Tools > Terminal)...

... and become root:


Open /etc/sysconfig/selinux and set SELINUX to disabled:

gedit /etc/sysconfig/selinux
# This file controls the state of SELinux on the system.
# SELINUX= can take one of these three values:
#        enforcing - SELinux security policy is enforced.
#        permissive - SELinux prints warnings instead of enforcing.
#        disabled - No SELinux policy is loaded.
# SELINUXTYPE= can take one of these two values:
#        targeted - Targeted processes are protected,
#        mls - Multi Level Security protection.

Then reboot the system:



3 Installing VMware Server

After the system has rebooted, open a terminal and become root again:


Then install the prerequisites for VMware Server as follows:

yum install kernel-devel-`uname -r` xinetd gcc gcc-c++ perl-devel perl-ExtUtils-Embed  

To download VMware Server, go to and click on Download Now:

On the next page, log in with your existing VMware account or create a new one:

Follow the on-screen instructions. At the end, you should receive an email with a link to your download page. On the download page, you should see two license numbers, one for Windows and one for Linux. Write down or save the one for Linux and scroll down.

Then download the VMware Server for Linux TAR image (not the RPM image!) to your hard drive (e.g. to /home/falko/Download):

In the terminal (you must still be root), go to the location where you saved the VMware Server .tar.gz file, e.g. /home/falko/Download (replace falko with your own username!):

cd /home/falko/Download/

Unpack the VMware Server .tar.gz file and run the installer:

tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
cd vmware-server-distrib

The installer will ask you a lot of questions. You can always accept the default values simply by hitting <ENTER>.

When the installer asks you

In which directory do you want to keep your virtual machine files?
[/var/lib/vmware/Virtual Machines]

you can either accept the default value or specify a location that has enough free space to store your virtual machines.

At the end of the installation, you will be asked to enter a serial number:

Please enter your 20-character serial number.
Type XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX or 'Enter' to cancel:

Fill in your serial number for VMware Server.

After the successful installation, you can delete the VMware Server download file and the installation directory:

cd /home/falko/Download
rm -f VMware-server*
rm -fr vmware-server-distrib/

VMware Server 2 does not have a desktop application for managing virtual machines - this is now done through a browser (e.g. Firefox). You can access the management interface over HTTPS (https://<IP ADDRESS>:8333) or HTTP (http://<IP ADDRESS>:8222); the management interface can be accessed locally and also remotely. If you want to access it from the same machine, type or into the browser's address bar.

If you're using Firefox 3 and use HTTPS, Firefox will complain about the self-signed certificate, therefore you must tell Firefox to accept the certificate - to do this, click on the Or you can add an exception... link:

Click on Add Exception...:

The Add Security Exception window opens. In that window, click on the Get Certificate button first and then on the Confirm Security Exception button:

Afterwards, you will see the VMware Server login form. Type in root and your root password:

This is how the VMware Server web interface looks. The structure is similar to the old VMware Server 1 desktop application, so the usage of the web interface is pretty straightforward.


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9 Comment(s)

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By: Chris Hobson

Awesome tutorial, Falko! It works like a charm. Prior to seeing this, I had tried repeatedly and failed every time.

I can't thank you enough


By: Ken Phillips

I haven't used this tutorial yet, but it looks impressive when compared to the other tutorials I've seen IRT VMWare and Fedora.  I've got a few questions though.

 I understand the need for kernel-devel, gcc, and gcc-c++.  But why are you installing xinetd, perl-devel, and perl-ExtUtils-Embed?  What are these extra components allowing VMware to do?  And please don't say 'install properly'.  My other question regards updates.  I've noticed my system's updater automatically installs kernel updates.  If I want to use the new kernel, do I now have to re-install VMware by running the install script again?  Or possible the config script,

Please forgive my ignorance, if you deem these questions as such.  I have only recently started using Linux again.  The last version I used regularly was RedHat v9.

By: Anonymous

VMware server uses xinetd for the connection of the vmware management console.

 When you're upgradeing kernel just run again to recompile the kernel modules.

By: Greyghost

Yep, it works.  Does anyone know what needs to be done to turn selinux back on?  Seems a pity to have something as slick as selinux turned off.

By: Dustin

One thing I would add is stuff to expect in the network configuration section.  I just followed this tutorial and selected default options for everything.  I ended up killing because I couldn't figure out why I couldn't use Bridged, and whatever other two there were.  :P

 After that, I just re-ran, and only selected Bridged.  I set that up, and it worked like a charm.

Thanks for the effort you put into creating great content!  ^_^

By: sdodson

What problem were you facing with SELinux enabled?

By: John

Thank you for your time in creating this article it was very helpful to me!

One caveat - this article should work fine for Kernel versions 2.6.25 and earlier.  According to a post on vmware support site - kernel versions 2.6.26 and newer will have problems compiling the vmmon module.  The current Fedora 9 i686 livecd available for download is kernel version and sure enough, I can't compile the vmmon module!



By: TC

Can only echo the comments above. Lucid and straghtforward tutorial which got things going for me.  I ahd already suspected SELinux as a part of my problem but would have probably given up before finding out to use tar rather than rpm.

Absolutely excellent


By: DG

After a couple of attempts on Fedora 10, I came across this article. VMware is now working. Thanks. Seems the big difference was using the tar verses the bin.

FYI This is the second time today that "tar verses bin" has been the difference in making something work in Fedora 10.