The Perfect Desktop - Debian Lenny - Page 5

16 VMware Server

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 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.

To download VMware Server, go to 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!):

cd /home/falko/Desktop

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/Desktop
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 or 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.


17 Inventory (IV)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

[x] Firefox/Iceweasel
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird/Icedove
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] Transmission BitTorrent Client
[x] Azureus/Vuze
[x] Pidgin
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Xchat IRC

[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] Real Player
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

[x] VMware Server
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions


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From: Anonymous at: 2009-03-28 21:29:03

Hi falko,

I have a problem how to install Debian Lenny on laptop with SCSI disk? thanks for answer!

From: mo at: 2009-05-21 23:24:37

AS long it doesn't and open other partitions it will be 20 years behind..mood: furious

From: dave at: 2009-02-22 04:42:56

Great article & very helpful!  Thanks for the time to put it together.

My preference is for KDE, but not sure how to do this with netinstall.  I have read that we have to use the Advanced install options, but that may lead to a messed up system as it is for advanced Debian users (I'm not -- Puppy user).  I have also read that users are having problems with adding the KDE packages and making it the default environemnt.  Anyone know how to use the netinstall and end up with a reliable KDE enviroment? 



From: craigevil at: 2009-02-23 01:56:40

To install KDE using the netinstall

feeding the following command at the boot prompt:

install tasks="-desktop, standard"

As for the article why install a ton of media players? I can see installing mplayer, and maybe amarok, rythmbox or exaile no need for a ton of media apps.

From: sylware at: 2009-02-24 10:37:13

Avoid like hell .net based technologies (since it will screw GNU/Linux one day, and it's bloatware): use gthumb (or other C language based non-bloated programs) instead of f-spot and stick to rhythmbox (or other C language non-bloated programs) instead of banshee.

Do not promote bloatware, especially the ones from companies who sweared to destroy GNU/Linux, because that will make the community take very high risks.

That's my advise

From: Todd at: 2009-02-25 18:19:02

Another way to go about it.

We had a customer request a Live Debian disc like the ones available for Ubuntu. We were able to create one using remastersys, which is installable using the remastersys installer. See:

From: Anonymous at: 2009-07-05 23:16:31

I just make a clean install on my hp nx9420 and after reboot doesn´t start the desktop.

Why if I exactly follow this tutorial ?


Thanks in advance.

From: Narcarsiss at: 2009-02-23 22:13:54

I would highly recomend to install aptoncd "apt on cd" which will provide a easy and simply way of having a backup of all the files installed and downloaded...

and look for some themes as well to make the desktop look pretty

From: Pax at: 2009-03-15 18:45:44

This is my frist debian instal, i am a ubuntu user, now i like change to tray debia, i download debian lenny 5.0, in oficcial mirror, i install all u recomend bud i cant instal mplayer and others...


this is my source.list

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.0 _Lenny_ - Official i386 CD Binary-1 20090214-16:29]/ lenny main

# deb cdrom:[Debian GNU/Linux 5.0.0 _Lenny_ - Official i386 CD Binary-1 20090214-16:29]/ lenny main

deb lenny main contrib non-free
deb-src lenny main contrib non-free

deb lenny/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src lenny/updates main contrib non-free

deb stable main
deb-src stable main


u can telme what is worng? why i cant instal mplayer to down... 

From: at: 2009-07-27 00:33:53

The following issues (some of which occurred because I believe this HowTo is actually for the 32-bit version of Debian, but that's ok, virtually all of the HowTo still works!) were encountered while trying to install Debian 5.02 (AMD-64) on a real world (Intel WG965DH moboard, 8GB mem, 4x500GB HDD, CD-RW, and DVD-RW):

** Warning on duplicate entries in the source list when doing apt-get as above (didn't seem to matter--pressed on)
** w32codecs not available in Synaptic, presuming for AMD-64 need w64codecs, installed instead
** realplayer was not available in Synaptic (likely because it is a 32-bit app) -- see below
** Presumed xine-plugin was correct, vice xineplugin
** Do not select acroread-fonts-jpn--will be installed with acroread-fonts-kor

To install RealPlayer (fair warning - you're on your own, I haven't yet tested whether RealPlayer actually works, only that it installs!)

** Retrive RealPlayer from
** Click Download RealPlayer (downloads a bin file).
** Close the browser when the download completes.
** The download is in your home folder -- it MUST be executed from there.
** Open a terminal as root.
** Execute chmod +x RealPlayer11GOLD.bin
** Execute ./RealPlayer11GOLD.bin (the installer runs--accepting the defaults at all prompts works).
** When the installer finishes close the terminal (RealPlayer 11 is now on the Sound and Video menu).

After finishing Step 6 is where I installed the nVidia drivers - the Debian way. Worked like a charm. Detailed instructions are at Follow the directions explicitly and precisely and you will enjoy.

Enabling TwinView after that is easy (I have two monitors). In a console, execute apt-get install nvidia-settings. Then run nvidia-settings. I ran as root (as I was in that state from installing the drivers)--not sure whether that is really needed or not (suspect it is, though). The nVidia configuration window appears. Configure the monitor(s) as you desire, apply, and save the new xorg.conf file. What could be easier? Enjoy TwinView!

From: Andre Felipe Machado at: 2009-02-25 23:49:02


You could use the "debian-way" of configuring system, using the "update-alternatives" root command to inform what flash program, java, pdf reader, etc, when installing from outside repositories.

Official packages with alternative implementations from debian repositories always have this command built in at their internal packaging scripts to ease things and most users will never know about this command.

But unofficial packages not always honor this "debian-way" of configuration.

For example, (as root):

# update-alternatives --config

# update-java-alternatives --auto


Andre Felipe Machado

From: at: 2009-07-27 01:49:34

Flashplayer, at least in an AMD64 install, is not at the location specified in step 7. Instead, in the console, execute:

cp /usr/lib/flashplayer/ /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

From: Arjan at: 2009-05-21 14:11:06

An easier way to install Opera and keeping it up-to-date is by using their apt repository.


From: at: 2009-03-01 03:51:53


Your instructions indicate to install Google Earth as root.  And to use Google Earth 5.0 (beta) for PC, Mac or Linux.  When I installed it as root it failed with:
# ./googleearth-linux-plus-4.3.7284.3916.bin
Verifying archive integrity... All good.
Uncompressing Google Earth for GNU/Linux 4.3.7284.3916..............................................................
No protocol specified

Then when I installed it as a regular user it failed with:
Installing desktop icon...
./googleearth-bin: relocation error: /usr/lib/i686/cmov/ symbol BIO_test_flags, version OPENSSL_0.9.8 not defined in file with link time reference

So, I installed the older version, Linux: Google Earth 4.3.  And I didn't install it as root.  Installing as a regular user just worked.

From: at: 2009-07-27 13:24:44

If one is trying to install Skype on an AMD64 system, it will have to be forced (the ia32 libraries are already installed if this tutorial has been followed and adapted for a 64-bit system). In a console as root:

dpkg -i –force-all skype-debian_2.0.0.72-1_i386.deb

Also, Kompozer will not install on AMD64 Lenny as described above. There is a procedure at that seems to work quite nicely and is easy to follow. Modify it to suit your needs. Of course, YMMV.

From: Grant at: 2009-02-25 15:54:38

I have found that the official Debian repository for Scribus is out of date, and slow to fix bugs.   I add the Scribus repository to my list, and things are much nicer, especially with scribus-ng.

deb stable main non-free contrib

From: Naeem at: 2009-03-04 09:57:54

First of all Bravo on this wonderful post, i was more than impressed with it. on the other note... debian have came along way, brushed up quite good. i will give it a go now.


From: at: 2009-07-27 18:20:01

When accessing VMware Server, only port 8222 worked. 8333 never accessed the server. YMMV.