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Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” on VMware Workstation 6.5.2

Ubuntu 9.04 otherwise known as "Jaunty Jackalope" was released last week, so we grabbed the Ubuntu 9.04 ISO image to try creating a VM in Workstation 6.5.2 (Windows XP host) and VMware Fusion 2.0.4 on Mac OS X. It works well but requires a few tweaks to get the mouse and shared folders to work fully.

Here are the steps I took to get a working Ubuntu 9.04 virtual machine on VMware Workstation. For VMware Fusion instructions check out this blog post.
1) Download the Ubuntu 9.04 x86 Desktop CD image.

2) In VMware Workstation 6.5.2, use the New Virtual Machine Wizard (File -> New), and point it at the Ubuntu ISO image you downloaded.image

3) Follow the instructions in the New Virtual Machine Wizard. You will see that Easy Install already recognizes this version!!! (we were thinking ahead…)

4) Once the Ubuntu virtual machine finishes installing and then boots up, you will have a working Ubuntu 9.04 virtual machine, however there are a couple of minor issues that can be easily worked around.

First, you will immediately notice that you cannot seamlessly move your mouse cursor outside of your virtual machine window. You will need to use CTRL+ALT to do that. This is because the vmmouse driver, a VMware mouse driver that enables the mouse ungrab feature, was not installed along with X.org included with Ubuntu. This can be easily fixed by running command "sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-vmmouse" as root in a terminal window in the Ubuntu virtual machine. After reboot, you should be able to mouse in and out of the virtual machine window without the ungrab key combo.

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Second, shared folders do not work. The vmhgfs kernel module that powers the shared folder feature failed to compile during the VMware Tools install. The failure is due to a kernel API change in the new Linux kernel that ships with Ubuntu 9.04. A small source code change is required to fix this. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty a bit, you can follow the same procedure highlighted in this VMware Fusion forum post where some Fusion users discuss how to do this. (Credit: the original workaround for this was posted by Laptopbisnis in their blog).

Third, Unity mode does not currently work. If you try it, you will see an error message similar to this:

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While VMware Workstation 6.5.2 does not officially support Ubuntu 9.04 guests at this time, this post will get you up and running with “Jaunty Jackalope” right away. In a future release of VMware Workstation we will provide official Ubuntu 9.04 support and ensure all the great features you have come to expect in VMware Workstation will work, including file drag and drop, text copy and paste, automatic screen resize, shared folders, and Unity.

One thought on “Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” on VMware Workstation 6.5.2

  1. Sven Erik Knop

    I have installed xserver-xorg-input-vmmouse but it did not make a difference – I still need the key combo to leave the virtual machine. This is 6.5.2 workstation on Windows XP SP4 using Jaunty 64 bit.
    Any ideas what I do wrong?

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