A little while ago (and again more recently) I updated my kernel to 3.7.3-101 and was stumped as to why VMware Workstation was unable to find the matching kernel headers, despite confirming they were indeed correct and installed. After lots of searching and some reading, I found the following command:

ln -s /usr/src/kernels/3.7.3-101.fc17.x86_64/include/generated/uapi/linux/version.h /usr/src/kernels/3.7.3-101.fc17.x86_64/include/linux/version.h

This basically creates a symbolic link in the /usr/src/kernels/<version>/include/linux/ directory for the version.h file that the VMware Workstation compiler is looking for. After running this command, I started VMware Workstation again and was greeted by the GUI compiling the necessary modules to run VMware Workstation.

I suspect the requirement for this command has something to do with re-arrangement of kernel source files in recent releases. It seems likely that VMware will update the compiler in new releases of their Workstation product.

Here’s a more recent upgrade, using the same step:

ln -s /usr/src/kernels/3.7.9-101.fc17.x86_64/include/generated/uapi/linux/version.h /usr/src/kernels/3.7.9-101.fc17.x86_64/include/linux/version.h

So long as you have the matching kernel headers installed, the above command should work for you just fine.

Note: On the second time around, I had troubles when running VMware Workstation as a normal user (just the compiling step, afterwards it was fine). For some reason there was an issue elevating the user to root (this happened to me on Fedora 17 x86_64) to complete the compiler process. To work around this, I simply opened a console/terminal, became root (sudo, or su – , whatever suits you) and then typed just: vmware – The compiler GUI appeared and completed, followed by VMware Workstation starting. I then closed ‘that’ VMware Workstation and started it my usual way (KDE menu for me) and it worked just fine.

Update (2013-03-25): VMware has recently released VMware Workstation 9.0.2 (2013-03-07) which has the above issue resolved. I am currently running VMware Workstation 9.0.2 build-1031769 on Fedora 17 (Kernel 3.8.3-103) and I did not have to carry out any additional steps to compile the kernel modules.

Update 2 (2013-07-10): I updated my kernel today, all the way up to 3.9.6-200-fc18 – Afterwards I was unable to compile the module again. After much searching, trouble-shooting and attempts to roll back to previous kernels, I checked something a little more fundamental; was gcc installed? Nope! It wasn’t! A quick browse through my yum logs showed it removed as a dependency when I removed something else earlier in the year. After installing gcc again, the kernel module compiled normally again 😉

Update 3 (2013-08-30): I updated my kernel again today, just a standard yum update with all the usual packages. My kernel ended up on 3.10.9-200.fc18.x86_64 (I haven’t upgraded to Fedora 19 yet). This time, the vmware kernel modules kept failing to compile (different to the previous issues). I did a quick google search for “vmware kernel 3.10.9-100” and found this article. If you follow the instructions, verbatim, the issue is solved straight away. For reference, I’ve copied the main content of the article below. Kudos to the author at http://guide.ecsmy.com/ for getting this one out there!

# tar xf /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/vmnet.tar
# cd vmnet-only
# wget  http://communities.vmware.com/servlet/JiveServlet/download/2239207-108590/procfs.patch
# patch -p1 < procfs.patch
# cd ..
# tar -cvf vmnet.tar vmnet-only/
# cp vmnet.tar /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/

This will patch the procfs interface.

Secondly download the vmnet patch from http://mysticalzero.blogspot.com/2013/07/vmblock-patch-for-linux-310-vmware.html. The link of the patch is here.

Or you can use the following command:

# tar xf /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/vmblock.tar
# cd vmblock-only
# wget  https://sites.google.com/site/mysticalzerotmp/vmblock.3.10.patch
# patch -p1 < vmblock.3.10.patch
# cd ..
# tar -cvf vmblock.tar vmblock-only/
# cp vmblock.tar /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/

Then, issue this command to compile and install the vmware player module

# sudo vmware-modconfig –console –install-all

I know it says ‘vmware player’ but trust me, it works for VMware Workstation just the same.

Update 4 (2013-10-20): I updated my kernel again today, just a standard yum update with all the usual packages. My kernel ended up on 3.11.4-101.fc18.x86_64 (I haven’t upgraded to Fedora 19 yet). This time, the vmware kernel vmblock module kept failing to compile (similar but different to the previous issue). I did a quick google search for “vmware kernel 3.11” and found this article. If you follow the instructions, verbatim, the issue is solved straight away. For reference, I’ve copied the main content of the article below. Kudos to the author (dibl) at siduction.org for getting this one out there!

The VMware module source needs to be patched to build on kernel 3.11. If you have already patched for 3.10, then only a single patch is needed. Here is the procedure:

Download the “vmblock.3.11.patch” from here.

In a root terminal, give these commands:

# cd /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source
# tar xvf vmblock.tar
# cd vmblock-only
# patch -p1 < /path/to/vmblock-3.11.patch
# cd ..
# tar cvf vmblock.tar vmblock-only/
# vmware-modconfig –console –install-all

You should see an error-free completion of the build.

Update 5 (2013-12-14): While still on Fedora 18 (I know, Fedora 19 is well and truly out, and Fedora 20 (celebrating 10 years of Fedora Linux!) is less than three weeks away from release!), I just upgraded to Kernel 3.11.10-100. I also upgrade from VMware Workstation 9.0.2 to VMware Workstation 10.0.1 – After a reboot, no additional work required. VMware Workstation 10.0.1 simply worked ‘straight out of the box’ so to speak 😉

My last few days looked like this:

10 Days to Go5 Days to Go4 Days to Go3 Days to Go2 Days to Go

 

Unfortunately, I was away on “1 Day to Go”, so I wasn’t able to get a screen grab, but I think you get the idea. My days of using Windows Live One Care, were over! Trust me, I celebrated!

The inclusion of Windows Live OneCare in my 90 day stint, was most certainly a disaster, and also the cause of most of my stress during my use of Windows Vista. Just like other Virus/Spyware detection combo software suites, it too was always scanning in the background. Scanning so much infact, that it would often make reading my email near impossible. I would sometimes wait up to 5 minutes for an email to load into view. The Windows Live OneCare firewall was a pain in the butt, not to mention that Windows Vista itself, did not even acknowledge that it had a firewall installed. For the entire 90 days, Windows Vista was bugging me to enable Windows Vista Firewall, because apparently I didn’t have one installed! For some unknown reason, Windows Live OneCare continued to disable Windows Defender. I found this to be a pain, because every few days Windows Defender would make it to the top of the pile saying “Hey! I am disabled! Enable me Again!”. Of course after enabling Windows Defender, I would then have to do a spyware scan, even if I didn’t want to! “Later” I would click, only to see my CPU usage go way up as it started scanning in the background instead.

One very irritating caveat of Windows Vista, is physical memory usage. During my 90 days, I was unable to get Windows Vista to really function the way I wanted it too. For example, I have 2GB of DDR Memory. So I figure “what do I need a swap file for”. So I disable the swap file, and immediately Windows Vista complains that it does not have enough memory! It even performed sluggishly! Now, if I were to do this in Windows XP, the system would be forced to push as much as possible into physical memory. Which in the case of my laptop with 2GB of DDR Memory, was perfectly fine! I never exceeded 2GB and my laptop never skipped a beat. Come Windows Vista, and I am able to perform the same feat! The best I could get was a compromise, which was still horrid. I was able to push the swap file down to a minimum size of 200MB (instead of the “Windows Managed” 3.5GB). However, if a program on my laptop should use more then 200MB of Memory (Firefox for example, as I am sure many of you have experienced), I would still get the memory warning errors. Sure, I can ignore them, but eventually, Windows Vista would crash Firefox altogether, or whatever offending programs were “taking up too much memory”. As I said above, this was never a problem in Windows XP. Hopefully there is a work around for this out there somewhere. I share my HDD with a Linux Partition, so 3.5GB wasted on a swap file is a lot for me, especially since Fedora 7 is quite capable of running smoothly with no swap partition at all!

Overall, my 90 days of Vista has been fun, and for the most part, I have had next to no troubles. I have swamp of applications installed, and they all work fine, including the ones I had to install in “Windows XP SP2 Compatibility Mode”. Heck, I was even able to install Command and Conquer Windows 95 Edition. With an extra piece of software, I was able to battle against my younger brother.

The slick new interface is funky, and easy to disable when it gets in the way (like when it is sucking up too much of my 200MB swap file for example!). Windows Aero is handy, but it’s not the be all of Windows Vista, it’s just the icing on the cake.

I also opted to include Microsoft Office 2007 in my 90 day stint. The latest version of the Microsoft Office Suite, and boy is it something! Most of the applications have been completely re-written, others updated. If you haven’t tried Microsoft Office 2007 yet, you should give it a shot!

I am sure that Windows Vista has far more to offer then what I have experienced so far, and for the moment, I am going to stick to using Windows Vista and Office 2007, to get the most out of both of them, and broaden my knowledge. I am somewhat established here now, and it would be a shame to just leave it all. I miss using linux, however I think I will continue my use of Windows Vista, at least until Fedora 8 is released.

I will even continue to post my findings and discoveries of Windows Vista, and hopefully at some point, I write a “Windows Vista – The Perfect Setup” guide. Actually, I have one in the works already… so stay tuned!