Taking a step back: The Sad Story of My VMware Downgrade

A short time ago I wrote about upgrading my personal systems at home and work to VMware Server 2.0, and gave what I thought were some compelling reasons why it was A Good Thing ™.

Unfortunately, the one issue I haven’t been able to work around has been my inability to get any guest, whether upgraded or freshly created, to access a USB device. This began as one more frustrating problem among many, but after a week of trial and error has finally become the show-stopper that forced me to downgrade to version 1.0.7, which thankfully is still available in the product archives.

Downgrading turned out to be very easy. All I did was remove the 2.0 package with a rpm -e VMware-server and then reinstalled the old 1.0.7 package with a rpm -ivh VMware-server-1.0.7-108231.i386.rpm. Finally, I ran vmware-config.pl and accepted all the defaults — except for the location of my virtual machines — and I was good to go. A quick test with an old Windows 2000 guest showed USB connectivity was working again.

It was really a disappointment to have to do this downgrade, especially because all of the good things I said about the new version (like the web interface, for example), still hold true.

Maybe version 2.0.1 will be better. Hey, a guy can hope?

POSTCRIPT: After flawless reinstalls on my work laptop and home desktop, I experienced serious grief on my work desktop in trying to uninstall 2.0 cleanly. The main problem turned out to be that some processes, including one guest, refused to shut down. A kill -9 finally dispatched that demon. The next problem was that the earlier version installer refused to replace the already existing later version kernel module with its own. I got around that by installing the latest centosplus kernel (but could just as easily picked any other kernel at random and then uninstalled and reinstalled the one I really wanted). At that point the installer had a fresh modules directory to work with and didn’t complain.