Fedora 17 install on VMWare Fusion 4 / Workstation 8

I am moving over to using Fedora from Ubuntu as I am helping out with the OLPC XS (School Server) on XO laptop effort, which is Fedora based. Fedora 17, codename The Beefy Miracle (seriously), has just been released, so it’s time to update my Linux development workstations.

Installing Fedora 17 in VMWare Fusion / VMWare Workstation 8

There are two problems with Fedora 17 and VMWare at the moment:

  • Fedora 17’s graphical installer on VMWare (and I’ve heard on Oracle VirtualBox too) does not show the Back / Next buttons. They are there and they work if you tab to them, but they are offscreen due to the video mode.
  • The next problem is that “Linux Easy Install” doesn’t work in VMWare Tools build 8.8.3 in the Fedora 17 guest. At all. Don’t use it, or you’ll end up in dracut debug shell purgatory after a “dracut Warning: Unable to process initqueue” message. The rest of the instructions here gets you to where Easy install would have managed to get you anyway.

So to get through it, you can either run a text install that produces a very minimal install of Fedora (great for hardened servers like the XS!)

  • Boot from the ISO
  • Enter the troubleshooting menu
  • Press tab to bring up the linuz boot arguments
  • Delete the vesa arguments
  • Type in “text” on the end of the command line

or just use the graphical install…

  • If there’s only one control on screen, just press return and you can go to the next screen
  • If there’s many controls on screen, press tab until the focus disappears, and then press tab one more time (moves from the hidden Back button to the hidden Next button) and then press return.

Updating Fedora to allow VMWare Tools compilation

Once you have Fedora installed, login and open a terminal window

sudo yum update
sudo reboot
sudo yum install kernel-devel kernel-headers gcc make

Installing VMWare Tools

Now you’re ready to install the VMWare Tools

  • Virtual Machine -> Install VMWare Tools. Unfortunately, F17 now mounts CD ROMs in a user specific location (/run/media/<username>/<volume name>), so you need to know your username if the instructions below don’t work
  • Open a terminal
tar zxf /run/media/`whoami`/VMware\ Tools/VMw*.tar.gz
cd vmware-tools-distrib
sudo ./vmware-install.pl

NB: With tools build 8.8.3, there will be compilation errors until an update for the tools is released by VMware, but enough modules will compile to allow you to use shared folders, have auto-resizing monitors, working cut-n-paste, and a few of the other things that make running the tools worthwhile. Drag and drop doesn’t work yet.

Logout and then Restart the system to enable the tools. If you’re text only,

sudo reboot

will do the trick.

You are welcome!

Published by vanderaj

Just another security geek

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  1. I had the “no next buttons” problem as well, but after I configured a small, fixed screen size of in VMWare (as opposed to “auto”) I was able to see all of the buttons and have a hassle-free installation. Thanks for your tips on vmware tools installation though; hadn’t worked through that yet. 🙂

  2. Where did you get VMWare tools 8.8.3? Workstation is only giving me 8.8.2 (and claiming there are no software updates available), and that’s totally broken when I try to install it under Fedora 17.

  3. I’m pretty sure it’s part of the Linux guest tools for VMWare Fusion 4.1.2. I did nothing in particular to get this version other than “Check for Updates”.

  4. Cries! Followed your instructions on VMware Workstation 8.0.3 (Windows 7 64) for Fedora 17 x86-64 (auto-updated after installation), the tools installed without errors (hit Enter to use the default answer whenever asked), did reboot, the Fedora’s screen resolution is now changing properly, which is nice after the problems I had with screen resolution before, but the main reason I needed VMware Tools was the shared folders feature and it doesn’t work! There is nothing in /mnt/hgfs at all, though a shared folder is enabled in the Fedora VM’s settings and other VMs can see it. Halp!

  5. vanderaj, either I’m wrong or it seems like that link leads to patches and shell scripts addressing VMware Workstation running on Linux *host* machines, not VMware Tools running on Linux *guest* machines, which means it’s useless in my case (Windows 7 host, Fedora 17 guest).. But thanks anyway.

  6. The Linux tools are very close to being independent of the VMWare host platform you’re running on. I believe they are the same for all supported VMWare virtualization engines. Therefore, your linux.iso file on Windows would most likely be the same as the one I have on VMWare Fusion.

    In any case, just hang in there; VMWare does update the tools fairly frequently.

    You should also look into open-vm-tools (http://sourceforge.net/projects/open-vm-tools/):

    This might work:
    sudo yum install open-vm-tools

    I don’t know if it has folder sharing, it’s likely to work. You might need to uninstall the VMWare tools to make these work.

  7. Ok I have a i7 based mac book pro and the Fedora 17 32 bit ISO.
    When I start Fusion 4.1.3 and specify the ISO, I get the ‘dracut Warning’
    and get dropped into the emergency shell at the start of the installation.

    Tain’t clear to me how to get started…

    Can you be a bit more specific on how to get the installation



  8. Well I was able to get the installer going by:
    1) Starting the easy installer and letting it fail
    2) I associated the ISO with the CD and connected the rascal
    3) I rebooted.
    The install went ok, I did the yum update and did not noticed that
    it installed the PAE kernel and the non PAE kernel dev tools.

    This confused the vmware installer until I installed the PAE devel rpm,

    Yea, Gnome 3 shows up 🙂


  9. The installation of vmware tools went fine on my fedora 17… I just dont see any share folders I set up. the same proceedure has worked on centos, ubunt and windows guest.

  10. Hey thanks for this how-to. I am evaluating vmware workstation 8 and it seems ludicrous that one cannot install tools ‘out of the box’ on VMW and a mainstream distribution such as Fedora. I had to Google, Google, Google before hitting on your solution that actually worked.

    It’s no wonder that novice users shy away from Linux isn’t it?

  11. There is another way to get the “Next/ Back” Button when installing Fedora 17 on Vmware 8

    1) On the first boot Menu where ” Install or Upgrade Fedora” is Highlighted
    2) Press TAB key on the Keyboard
    3) This will bring up some option below the screen which says
    vmlinuz initrd=initrd.img root=live:CDLABEL=Fedora\x2017\x20x86_64 quiet
    4) after quiet type resolution=1024×768 and press ENTER button

    Voila!!!!!! You will get the Next button

  12. I’ve just rebuilt a new Fedora 17 using Easy install on VMWare Fusion 5 (which is the same engine and guest additions as VMWare Workstation 9).

    Guest Linux 3D acceleration is immediately available as kernel 3.2.0 contains a native driver for VMWare version 9 architecture.

    [vanderaj@(none) ~]$ glxinfo | grep direct
    direct rendering: Yes

    Works like a charm.

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