Installing the VMware tools in Ubuntu/Debian using .deb archives


Searching VMware tools packaged as .deb archives for Debian or Ubuntu has failed for all of my searches. The solutions I found in the first place were all related to install the tools from the tar Archive provided by VMware, e.g.,
VMware – Community Ubuntu Documentation,
VMware/Tools – Community Ubuntu Documentation.

The problem is that the name of the package has changed to open-vm-tools and open-vm-tools-gui in the not upcoming Ubuntu release named Hardy:

Ubuntu — Informationen über Paket open-vm-tools-gui in hardy
Ubuntu — Informationen über Paket open-vm-tools in hardy

The packages are based on these source releases: Files for Open Virtual Machine Tools

Installing these packages from Hardy in a Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy ) system you may take the following way:

  • Add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list to get the sources from Hardy:
    deb-src hardy main universe
  • Then it is possible to build the package from source (as it is decribed at
    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get build-dep open-vm-tools
    $ sudo apt-get -b source open-vm-tools
  • Finally install the succefully build deb archives:
    $ sudo dpkg -i open-vm-tools_2008.01.23-74039-0ubuntu1_i386.deb open-vm-tools-gui_2008.01.23-74039-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
    Wähle vormals abgewähltes Paket open-vm-tools.
    (Lese Datenbank ... 114218 Dateien und Verzeichnisse sind derzeit installiert.)
    Entpacke open-vm-tools (aus open-vm-tools_2008.01.23-74039-0ubuntu1_i386.deb) ...
    Wähle vormals abgewähltes Paket open-vm-tools-gui.
    Entpacke open-vm-tools-gui (aus open-vm-tools-gui_2008.01.23-74039-0ubuntu1_i386.deb) ...
    Richte open-vm-tools ein (2008.01.23-74039-0ubuntu1) ...
    * Loading open-vm-tools modules
    FATAL: Module vmhgfs not found.
    FATAL: Module vmmemctl not found.                     [ OK ]
    * Starting open-vm guest daemon guestd                           [ OK ]
    Richte open-vm-tools-gui ein (2008.01.23-74039-0ubuntu1) ...
  • The FATAL messages above are showing that the named kernel modules are missing. As far as I can remember the module vmhgfs eases the use of host files within the guest system. I suppose that these modules will be available with the upcoming Hardy release.

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5 Responses to “Installing the VMware tools in Ubuntu/Debian using .deb archives”

  1. VMware Image Größe reduzieren « Christians Internet-Tagebuch in Deutsch Says:

    […] Installation des Pakets bei der Ubuntu Version 7.10 (Gutsy) beschreibt der Artikel “Installing the VMware tools in Ubuntu/Debian using .deb archives“. Nach Installation der open-vm-tools liefert der folgende Befehl eine grafische […]

  2. William M Says:

    As of May 1, 2008, the repository does not appear to contain the open-vm-tools pacakge any longer. There is a launchpad report ( which gives an alternate Debian package that can be used. Here are the steps I followed on a Hardy Heron guest OS:

    1. Download the original and diff files from Debian archives
    2. Extract and patch the original source
    3. ./configure –without-x
    4. make
    5. sudo make modules

    The last step failed to compile. I then tried downloading the latest source from I had to install the following packages (libproc-dev libdnet-dev libdumbnet-dev). The make worked without error but building the modules again failed with errors involving vmxnet_get_stats among others).

    Hopefully the Ubuntu developers will work on getting the tools packaged for future releases.


  3. Hervé Says:

    The dependencies for the latest tools 2008-06-20 are:
    build-essential libx11-dev libxext-dev libxinerama-dev libxrandr-dev libxtst-dev libgtk2.0-dev libproc-dev

    ./configure –without-dnet –without-icu && make
    sudo make install


  4. Joel Says:

    If you’re starting your virtual machine from scratch, you can use these pre-made virtual machines:

    I’m not sure what the difference is between the two (if any), but both appear to have Ubuntu 8.04 with VMware Tools already installed.

    I had started creating an XUbuntu virtual machine, thinking that its lower machine specs would make it a better fit for a VM since the VM will likely only consume part of your RAM. But I may give Ubuntu a try b/c I really want the copy & paste and drag & drop features that come with VMWare Tools. Without those, anything on the virtual machine pretty much stays on the virtual machine unless you use the Internet.

  5. dj_palindrome Says:

    This post is old, so I hesitate to relpy to it, but it reveals a prevalent and total misconception of how VMware Tools actually work. The open-vm-tools package itself does *not* build kernel modules. The initialization script will attempt to load them with modprobe, whether you have made them or not.

    There are two ways to do this. If your distro has an open-vm-dkms package, that’s the easiest way. If not, you must use module-assistant, or an equivalent kbuild method, to make build them from the open-vm-source package.

    Either method requires a basic make environment wirh the appropriate kernel headers.

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