vmware player on el6: trouble in paradise

Reinstalled VMware Player on my SL (Scientific Linux) 6.1 workstation today, only to discover that a bug in the installer prevented it from properly compiling a required kernel module. Fortunately other, more intelligent, beings had the same experience (back in May) and came up with a workaround.

VMware Player has proved to be a useful addition to my tech toolbox almost from the time it was first introduced. I ran VMware Server for a long time before switching to Player. What eventually sold me on it, even after a brief trial period with Oracle’s (formerly Sun’s) Virtual Box.

But there’s a problem with getting the latest version of Player to work on the latest version of enterprise Linux: Player makes call to a now non-existent hook in the operating system software.

This first showed up in a bug related to VMware’s non-free Workstation product:

vmware workstation: vmmon disagrees about version of symbol smp_o

The workaround given there that did the trick for me was also the subject of this blog posting by the original researcher:

VMware Workstation and RHEL 6.1 and vmmon and trouble

To use that workaround you need to first make sure the kernel-devel and kernel-headers package are installed. Then follow these steps exactly as presented:

Start as a user (not root):

1. mkdir ~/vmsrc ; cd ~/vmsrc
2. tar xvf /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/vmmon.tar
3. cd vmmon-only
4. make [Note: this builds vmmon.ko]
5. strip –strip-debug vmmon.ko [Note: this is optional. Note the two dashes]
6. su –
7. cd /lib/modules/`uname -r`/misc
8. mv vmmon.o vmmon.o.dist [Note: save the original just in case]
9. cp /(path to user’s home)/vmsrc/vmmon-only/vmmon.ko vmmon.o