Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Slackware 13.1 and VMWare Fusion 3

I had been having some problems with Parallels and VirtualBox running Slackware virtual machines, so I decided to give VMWare Fusion a try. *

VMWare Fusion works with Slackware pretty well, but it makes a couple assumptions about Linux distros that are not true of Slackware:

1. You are using PAM (Pluggable Authentication modules)

2. You are using RedHat-style init scripts (/etc/rc.d scripts that start programs when your computer boots).

The following steps got me around all the issues I encountered installing the tools:

1. The install scripts expect /etc/pam.d/ to be present. It's not since Slackware doesn't use pam. Just run the "mkdir /etc/pam.d" as root before installing the VMWare tools. The installer won't run unless it can put a VMWare piece into that directory.

2. Set up the init script structure as VMWare tools expects it. This step may not be required **

cd /etc/rc.d
for V in {0,1,2,3,4,5,6}; do ln -s /etc/rc.d /etc/rc.d/rc${V}.d; done
cp /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 /etc/init.d/network
cp /etc/rc.d/rc.inet1 /etc/init.d/networking

3. Install the tools as normal. When you run, it may give you a weird message about X11 not finding some drivers and appear to hang. If this happens, run "killall mkinitrd" as root. This kills off whatever process is stuck there and will let the install finish.

* Parallels issue: Parallels tools don't support Ubuntu 10.10 yet, the kernel modules won't build. I haven't had much luck with them at all in Slackware. They assume you are on an RPM or Debian based system. Virtual Box randomly shuts down my Slackware VM. Yes, I'm going to file a bug report. Decided to try out VMWare Fusion because it is currently only $9.99 for existing Parallels Desktop users until sometime in December 2010. Check out the full details on their VMWare Fusion promo site.