Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy Heron under VMware

I just got the latest Ubuntu Linux distribution (8.04, "Hardy Heron") working quite well under VMware.

I found a few issues during the process specific to running under VMware that required some attention. Google helped me find the solution for the first two both on Peter Cooper's blog:

Mouse scroll wheel

First, the scroll wheel on the mouse wasn't working. Not so surprising, as I've typically had various mouse problems in the past working with Linux versions under VMware. The solution Peter found was to add the following highlighted three lines in "/etc/X11/xorg.conf":

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Configured Mouse"
Driver "vmmouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ImPS/2"
Option "Buttons" "5"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"

For the original with full details, see How To Enable Mouse Wheel Scrolling in Ubuntu Hardy on VMware Fusion (Peter Cooper, 2008-04-26). While written for VMware Fusion, the solution works equally well for the free VMware Server.

VMware Tools

Next were some issues getting the VMware tools to install properly. The basic GUI vmware-toolbox worked, but no precompiled modules for the file sharing or network driver could be found for the current kernel. When it attempted to compile appropriate ones, gcc would error out with "conflicting types" messages.

This solution is a little more lengthy. Peter's instructions work quite well: How to Install VMware Tools on Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 under VMware Fusion (Peter Cooper, 2008-04-26).

The only alteration I made is using the most recent version of open-vm-tools from SourceForge - 2008.05.15 as of this writing. Again, this works just as well for VMware Server as for VMware Fusion, other than that VMware Server doesn't have support for the "Shared Folders" feature.

Unnecessary Services

Another optimization that can be made under VMware is disabling a number of services that don't function / simply don't exist under VMware.

Services can quickly be disabled using the "Services" applet under the System / Administration menu. The services I disabled:

  • Bluetooth device management (bluetooth)
  • CPU Frequency manager (powernowd)
  • Power management (acpid)
  • Power management (apmd)

Boot Details

Another non-VMware related change I wanted was to see more details during the boot process, which I was used to from previous versions.

Part of the challenge was finding the proper search terms. Ubuntu uses "Usplash" (see also USplash on, and somewhat related to "Splashy") as the default "Bootsplash".

The best write-up I found related to this is Quickzi: Get rid of the Ubuntu splash screen during boot (author unknown, 2007-10-27,

Essentially, to adjust the process permanently (at least until the next kernel upgrade), the file to edit is "/boot/grub/menu.lst". Find the "kernel" line in the config you are booting with and remove the "quiet" and/or "splash" options. My preference is to leave "splash" and just remove the "quiet", which scrolls the boot progress on the lower portion of the splash. (I wouldn't recommend removing "splash" and leaving "quiet".)

"Open Terminal" on desktop/context menu

Previous Linux distributions I had included a "Open Terminal" option on the desktop/context menu, and I found myself using it quite frequently and missing it in Ubuntu. To obtain this functionality, install "nautilus-open-terminal".

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