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VMWare Workstation 9 on Ubuntu 13.10

For the past 18 months I’ve been able to consign Microsoft Windows to a virtual machine with Linux-based operating systems on my workstation and laptop (CentOS 6.x and Ubuntu respectively). The hypervisor I use is VMWare Workstation 9 and all was fine until I recently updated the Ubuntu installation on my laptop to 13.10, when VMWare would ask me to re-compile some modules into the Linux kernel.

Recompiling the VMWare modules itself isn’t particularly hard – the command is¬†sudo vmware-modconfig –console –install-all. However doing this left me with at least one module not being able to be compiled and started me on a search of the Internets. Apparently it is a fairly common problem and requires a few Heath Robinson measures.

A post on the VMWare forum highlights the problem and while it was made prior to the official release of Ubuntu 13.10, the error posted in that thread is identical to mine. Fortunately,¬†Rainmaker52‘s reply did the trick – it involves downloading three patches, applying them to the VMWare module source code and then running the aforementioned¬†vmware-modconfig command.

While the instructions on the reply are self-explanatory, if you are not running the “default” Ubuntu 13.10 release and have a Linux 3.10.* kernel then you can avoid the vmblock.3.11.patch. For my standard installation of Ubuntu 13.10, I needed the 3.11 patch.

As the three patches are located personal websites, I have mirrored them – links are below.

Procfs patch
VMblock.3.10.patch
VMblock.3.11.patch (only needed if you are running Linux 3.11)

After applying the patches and running the vmware-modconfig command, I was able to start VMWare Workstation 9 without any problems. That you need to use such annoying third party patches is pretty shoddy on VMWare’s part – Ubuntu is hardly a niche Linux distribution and it is gaining credibility in enterprise, especially with companies that run OpenStack clouds (which is perhaps ironic in many ways). Nevertheless, VMWare and Canonical should work together a bit more closely in the future to ensure a more official patch appears.