How To Install VMware Server 2 On Debian Lenny
Author: Falko Timme
Last edited 02/19/2009
This tutorial provides step-by-step instructions on how to install VMware Server 2 on a Debian Lenny 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: http://www.howtoforge.com/vmware_converter_windows_linux) run under your Debian Lenny 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 VMware Server
To download VMware Server, go to http://www.vmware.com/products/server/ and click on Download:
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 desktop (e.g. to /home/falko/Desktop):
Then open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal), become root...
... and run the following command to install some necessary packages:
apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` build-essential xinetd gcc-4.1
The Debian Lenny kernel was built using gcc 4.1, however we now have gcc 4.3 installed. The VMware installer will complain about this and fail, unless we make /usr/bin/gcc a symlink to /usr/bin/gcc-4.1:
ln -sf /usr/bin/gcc-4.1 /usr/bin/gcc
Then go to the location where you saved the VMware Server .tar.gz file, e.g. /home/falko/Desktop (replace falko with your own username!):
Unpack the VMware Server .tar.gz file and run the installer:
tar xvfz VMware-server-*.tar.gz
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?
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:
rm -f VMware-server*
rm -fr vmware-server-distrib/
If you have accepted all default values during the installation, root is now the VMware Server login name.
VMware Server 2 does not have a desktop application for managing virtual machines - this is now done through a browser (e.g. Firefox/Iceweasel). 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 https://127.0.0.1:8333 or http://127.0.0.1:8222 into the browser's address bar.
If you're using Firefox/Iceweasel 3 and use HTTPS, Firefox/Iceweasel will complain about the self-signed certificate, therefore you must tell Firefox/Iceweasel 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 the 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.