SOLVED: Installing VMware Tools in Ubuntu 5.04 under ESXi

Friday, December 26th, 2014 at 11:20 pm | 5,904 views | trackback url

It may seem odd, that it’s almost 2015, and I’m writing a post describing how to install VMware Tools inside Ubuntu 5.04, a Linux distribution that was released on April 8th, 2005 and went End of Life on October 31, 2006.

I run a home lab here with a number of test machines (all VMs now), which includes every single major Linux distribution and version. Yes, really. I’ve been going back trying to update all of them to current tools, VMHW versions, NIC drivers and tweaking other things. Among these, were a number of very old Linux distributions who did not support VMware drivers natively (eg: open-vm-tools didn’t exist at that time).

If you run the standard configuration (I run it non-interactive as below)…

# ./ --clobber-kernel-modules=vmci     \
                      --clobber-kernel-modules=vmxnet3  \ 
                      --clobber-kernel-modules=pvscsi   \
                      --clobber-kernel-modules=vmmemctl \
                      --clobber-kernel-modules=vsock    \ 

At some point after the X11 configuration, you’ll see this error displayed:

Creating a new initrd boot image for the kernel.

$Id: mkinitrd,v 1.201 2004/05/16 22:00:48 herbert Exp $

Usage: /usr/sbin/mkinitrd [OPTION]... <-o outfile> [version]

  -d confdir  Specify an alternative configuration directory.
  -k          Keep temporary directory used to make the image.
  -m command  Set the command to make an initrd image.
  -o outfile  Write to outfile.
  -r root     Override ROOT setting in mkinitrd.conf.

See mkinitrd(8) for further details.
ERROR: "/usr/sbin/mkinitrd" exited with non-zero status.

Your system currently may not have a functioning init image and may not boot
properly.  DO NOT REBOOT!  Please ensure that you have enough free space
available in your /boot directory and run this configuration script again.

Execution aborted.

Found VMware Tools CDROM mounted at /media/cdrom0. Ejecting device /dev/hdc ...

But there’s a one-line fix! Open up “vmware-tools-distrib/bin/” in an editor and go down to line 7692, and you’ll see something that looks like this:

      $initmodfile = '/etc/sysconfig/kernel';
      if ($gSystem{'distribution'} eq 'suse') {
          $syscmd = join(' ', $binary, $kernelList, $initrdList);
      } else {
          $syscmd = $binary;

You’ll want to modify that last “$syscmd” line to look as follows:

      $initmodfile = '/etc/sysconfig/kernel';
      if ($gSystem{'distribution'} eq 'suse') {
          $syscmd = join(' ', $binary, $kernelList, $initrdList);
      } else {
          $syscmd = join(' ', $binary, '-o', "/boot/initrd-$kernRel.img", $kernRel);

That will now result in the following successful output:

Creating a new initrd boot image for the kernel.
   Checking acpi hot plug                                              done
Starting VMware Tools services in the virtual machine:
   Switching to guest configuration:                                   done
   Guest operating system daemon:                                      done
The configuration of VMware Tools 9.0.5 build-1065307 for Linux for this
running kernel completed successfully.

You must restart your X session before any mouse or graphics changes take

You can now run VMware Tools by invoking "/usr/bin/vmware-toolbox-cmd" from the
command line.

To enable advanced X features (e.g., guest resolution fit, drag and drop, and
file and text copy/paste), you will need to do one (or more) of the following:
1. Manually start /usr/bin/vmware-user
2. Log out and log back into your desktop session; and,
3. Restart your X session.


--the VMware team

Voila! Now you have a successful build of the native VMware modules and can switch your ethernet module to VMXNET3 from E1000 to save a little memory on the ESXi side.

Last Modified: Friday, December 26th, 2014 @ 23:20

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