The vSphere client for Linux is coming, but the question is what to do in the time between? Here is a set of instructions for one approach, based on a workaround that has been mentioned in the forums a few times. This workaround does require a Windows machine with RDP enabled and the vSphere client installed.
Step 1: Make sure to get the latest version of rdesktop for the Linux machine, by using the following command:
sudo apt-get upgrade rdesktop
Step 3: Extract the zip file to C:\seamlessrdp on the Windows machine -the one with RDP enabled and the vSphere client installed.
Step 4: On the Linux desktop, create a launcher or just run rdesktop with the following command:
rdesktop -A -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe C:\PROGRA1\VMware\INFRAS1\VIRTUA~2\Launcher\vpxClient.exe" 10.0.0.10
Note 1: Change 10.0.0.10 to the IP address of the Windows machine. The path to vpxClient.exe may also differ, if the defaults were not used during install.
Note 2: Unrecommended - If security is not a concern, or if the inconvenience of logging in to the RDP session is just too much, then the following command may be used to bypass the login prompt:
rdesktop -u admin -p pass -A -s "c:\seamlessrdp\seamlessrdpshell.exe C:\PROGRA1\VMware\INFRAS1\VIRTUA~2\Launcher\vpxClient.exe -passthroughAuth -s LOCALHOST" 10.0.0.10
After the login screen clears, the vSphere client will be running on the Linux desktop just like any native Linux application would be. No WINE, Windows remote desktops or other hassles (other than having the Windows machine) are required.
Update: Rich Brambley over at VM/ETC has a blog entry with an even more elegant solution. It still requires a Windows box though!
Enjoy, and thanks for reading.