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VMware can be very useful if you need to use windows software, or if you are just starting using Linux and are not able to do what you were used to. Note that performance will be greatly reduced.

Note:In order to make sure VMware runs correctly, module unloading must be configured in the kernel

To get VMware workstation 5.0 or 5.5 running do the following:

# emerge vmware-workstation

Because vmware is commercial software, the vmware-workstation packages include fetch restrictions, which mean that you will need to download the appropriate file from the vmware website. Because gentoo packages are not always up to date with the latest version of the vmware downloads, you may need to use the firebug plugin for firefox to modify the javascript-based download-protection script after clicking through to a download link (simply replace the filename for the offered version with the filename requested by portage everywhere you see it appear). Move the downloaded file to /usr/portage/distfiles and re-run emerge vmware-workstation

After emerging, run

# /opt/vmware/workstation/bin/

If it prints out an error about VMware having not yet been started and quits, you can use the undocumented option -skipstopstart:

# -skipstopstart

or (in newer versions):

# -skip-stop-start

It will ask you several questions and configures the virtual network. I suggest using only the bridged network as it is fast and easy (err... I suggest enabling NAT as well, as it's no more complex!). This network can be used to access the internet, as well as allow very easy communication between the host and guest OS. Please note that you have the NIC which VMware is bridged to is connected to a real physical network (I searched for hours why my network was not running).

After compiling the kernel modules vmmon and vmnet, they will be installed and the virtual ethernet is set up. Please note that you are required to compile vmmon. If this somehow does not work, rebuild your kernel ("cd /usr/src/linux" followed by "make && make modules_install"), and reboot.

Now you should be able to run the command 'vmware' and the gui should start up.

If you get the error "vmware is installed, but it has not been (correctly) configured for this system. ...", rerun Also, remember to re-run emerge vmware-modules every time you update/change your kernel. That should help with getting rid of the above message. If it completed successfully and still gives this error, fix the bug with the following command:

# rm /etc/vmware/not_configured

When nothing fails you should add /etc/init.d/vmware to your desired runlevel. This script will install the kernel modules and the virtual ethernet for future reboots.

# /etc/init.d/vmware start
# rc-update add vmware default

Also do not forget to install VMware tools on the guest operating system. The VMware help will tell you how to do so for your guest OS.

To be able to run vmware you must be member of the vmware-group so run

# gpasswd -a USERNAME vmware

Run vmware as a NORMAL user inside a X environment

# vmware &

Note: Make SURE this user is a member of the vmware group.... otherwise you will get very strange messages indeed...

You can do this easily with the command:

# gpasswd -a <username> vmware

If the VMware exits immediately you could try export the command:


Note: the GTK libraries and other dependencies are statically distributed with vmware, which means most of your local libraries will not be used.

As of version 5.5.1 there seems to have changed the way VMware needs to be setup to be able to run as user. In addition to the above, do this:

chown -Rv root:vmware /opt/vmware
chmod u+s /opt/vmware/workstation/lib/bin/vmware-vmx

You also have to suid this file:

chmod u+s /opt/vmware/workstation/lib/bin-debug/vmware-vmx

Note: You will probably have to suid both files (and chgrp) all files after a vmware emerge.

Note:If you experiance slow network connectivity from the host to the guest or visa versa this could be caused by TCP Segment OffLoading. To fix this issue follow the following steps.

  1. emerge -av ethtool
  2. ethtool -K eth0 tso off

Then restart your transfer. Should go from a few kilobytes a second up the several megabytes a second.

If your host is Windows look under advanced network properties of the card, its called 'large send' and set to none.

For more information about this issue see:

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Last modified: Fri, 03 Oct 2008 12:07:00 +0000 Hits: 39,144