Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Damn broken VMWare

Why are the Ubuntu VMWare packages so flaky? Every time I've upgraded the kernel (i.e. standard updates) VMWare player ceases to work. This has happened in both Dapper and Edgy and I'm surprised it hasn't been fixed as the way to reproduce is:
  1. Install Ubuntu from a CD
  2. Install VMWare player
  3. Use VMWare player. Works (fairly - see below) well
  4. Perform a security update
  5. Pretty much broken from now on...
I was trying to find some bugs in the mess of launchpad.net and there doesn't seem to be any bug collection (?). Googling seems to show others on the forums etc have the same sort of problems...

Some clues:
  • The kernel modules are not loaded on startup. If you try and use modprobe they're not found. If you use insmod they load OK.
  • Running /etc/init.d/vmware-player start says neither vmmon or . I think this is because it is trying to use modprobe
  • If you run the player after insmodding then it runs but networking doesn't seem to work. In general the networking seems very flaky.
And the last time I ran it it didn't want to quit and had to be killed. I wonder what state my image will be in next time I get it working (based on experience the first time I install Feisty!).

And why is the performance of the player so poor? Applications inside the player often pause inexplicably for a minute or more (I think it may be related to networking, for example try ifup with DHCP). Sure it's virtualised so I could understand if there was a resource problem but both CPU and IO are not active. So I just don't know what's going on.

So if anyone is wondering why there aren't any glChess packages from me for non-Ubuntu Dapper systems, now you know.
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