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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

workstation 12 has no unity mode for linux hosts or guests

It's in the release notes :

"The following features have reached end of life in Workstation 12 Pro and have been removed:

  • Unity mode on Linux guest and host operating systems "

This is a terrible decision and will keep me from buying the upgrade. I use linux to host windows guests in unity mode and very much want this feature.


Thanks,

Matthew

52 Replies
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User Moderator
User Moderator

Wow, that's insane..not that it worked well lately, but I would have expected to see it improved not removed.

I wonder what the reasoning behind that decision is.

--

Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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Contributor
Contributor

This is extremely disappointing to see.  Apparently I won't be upgrading either my Workstation Pro or Fusion Pro products.

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Expert
Expert

See this link in the VMware Player forum.  They killed it (supposedly) because nobody used it.  Frankly I don't believe it.  More likely they are phasing out Linux support altogether

They killed unity mode in VMWare Player 12. Can I get the installer for Player 7

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User Moderator
User Moderator

Hi Martin,

If VMware phases out linux support they will loose a lot of customers. There's a lot of linux servers running on VMware products.

What you're saying here makes no sense to me.

They even just started their own distribution (Photon).

My tendency is to believe Darius here and that is that unity on linux wasn't that much used.

Although I wonder how they got those metrics (I rarely leave telemetry stuff enabled myself and know I'm not the only one)

AFAIK there's only one developer working on the unity feature and his time must be needed on other areas.

--

Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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Expert
Expert

You probably have much more information on Linux development at VMware (since you think there is only one developer working on Unity - guess his workload has been reduced!).  Sure there are a lot of Linux servers but there but  probably more Linux developers who use VMware for their work.  Right now I guess most of the Linux servers are running a conservative OS with a 3.x kernel and gcc 4.9.x.  Some people on this and  the Player forum have already stated that because  lack of Unity capability in Linux they are not going to upgrade to WS 12.  When VMware sayhs WS 12 has compatibility with Ubuntu family 15.10 I'll believe they are serious about Linux.  However , at least for a few days WS  shows no software compatibility with any OS (including for example Windows Server 2016 TP3 - which I am using on Windows 10 Preview Build using WS 11.1.2).  Basically I'll grant I'm only reading tea leaves but WS on Linux OS is a non-stater for me.  Linux guest with kernel 4.2 work on WS 11 in Windows - although VMware tools have been moved to open-vm-tools.   HIstorically WS at one point could be installed on OS/2 - they dumped that support and many people were not happy. 

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User Moderator
User Moderator

Martin,

Don't think I have that much more info as you. I got my info on this from the forums.

VMware tends to focus on what is needed at production and even then it might be a little behind. This is no different as with the windows OS guest, except they will have more resources to patch things up if it is needed.

Taking your ubuntu example, I don't think much production servers are running ubuntu 15.10, there are however tons of servers running 14.04.

The problem with the linux kernel module API is that it isn't as stable as the other OS's, things break if you don't fix them.

I agree with you that they can do better in that area by being closer to the kernel and its changes. That pretty much is what open-vm-tools is about and I would expect that to work.

The main missing part there now is the host-guest filesystem. As has been mentioned on this forum before they intend to move that driver to be an inbox driver as well.

For linux support, things are moving in the right direction (most of the time) but very very slowly.

Ripping out the unity support however is a big mistake in my opinion, it does make the competitors products more attractive.

Even free software (virtualbox) can do it.

--
Wil

| Author of Vimalin. The virtual machine Backup app for VMware Fusion, VMware Workstation and Player |
| More info at vimalin.com | Twitter @wilva
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Expert
Expert

I agree with what you.  But again as for Linux OS support it is what I think I said.  Organizations will definitely use more stable and well-tried OS's.  Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is such an OS.  There have been "services" for that OS - don't know what they are however.  For a user who likes to live on the edge Linux support is woeful.  WS 11 is officially supported for Ubuntu 14.10.  Since I don't have multiple monitors with super high resolution WS 12 enchanments don't make a difference to me but basic features - like Unity do matter.

I did look and WS 12 is now in the host/guest compatibly guide - the support up to Ubuntu 14.10.  This is OK but again part of the usefulness of WS is the ability to safely install it on many bleeding edge software.

An interesting side note.  The current version of VirtualBox i- 5.02 -s not yet supported for Windows 10 so VMware beats that alternative.  I can confirm it doesn't work on my machine on Windows 10 - but strangely it doles work on Windows Server 2016. Vmware  WS 11  on 2016 as well

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Luckily there are alternatives. Most obvious is ws 11, which still runs fine.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

There are many languishing, half-working features in Workstation which have gradually gotten more and more stale over time (the inability to hide the tray icon on Windows hosts as well as broken audio on Ubuntu guests immediately come to mind as examples), but VMware has never removed any of those - the very existence of the option at least provides some hope that either VMware will get around to fixing it one day or (more likely) the community will discover a workaround allowing said feature to continue to be used.

In fact, I can't remember any other time where VMware outright removed an existing feature from Workstation without providing some sort of substitute/alternative - even if the provided substitute/alternative might end up being disliked by users - so I'm shocked that they'd do this.

Between VMware's unbelievably rapid upgrade cycle these days (11 was released what, 9 months ago? And they already want another $149 from me?) and my need for Unity with Linux guests, I won't be upgrading to WS 12 either.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

There is also virtualbox (upgraded recently to 5.0.4).

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Immortal
Immortal

> In fact, I can't remember any other time where VMware outright removed an existing feature from Workstation without providing some sort of substitute/alternative

It is not the first time - the ACE-features of WS 7 were removed completely - several versions later some of those features were re-added but they are still not as mature as that ACE-feature of WS 7.
Early versions also had a feature ti record videos of your running VMs. This worked very well - it even included the audio.
Later versions then first messed up the audio, in a later version the video function also became buggy and another version later it completely disappeared

Last week I had .to do a recovery job for a Workstation 7 installation. That was fun - vmware-vdiskmanager -R still was able to do a repair ...
That feature became buggy in 8 and in 9, 10 and 11 it is just a bluff - doing nothing.
As far as I heard in WS 12 there have been fixes to that important feature - dont know if they are good enough though.

Do you need support with a recovery problem ? - call me via skype "sanbarrow"
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Expert
Expert

At one time VMware supported (albeit in beta) OS/2 hosts.  That support was dropped and no reason given but they lost a few customers - just like the Unity feature.  I really don't think they care to much.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

> It is not the first time - the ACE-features of WS 7 were removed completely - several versions later some of those features were re-added but they are still not as mature as that ACE-feature of WS 7.


I had considered the sordid saga of ACE to be one of those things that was "replaced by an inferior substitute" but I had forgotten (and still can't seem to recall) that they were completely removed at one point. I have a pretty spotty memory though, so I'm sure you're right.


> Early versions also had a feature ti record videos of your running VMs. This worked very well - it even included the audio.

Later versions then first messed up the audio, in a later version the video function also became buggy and another version later it completely disappeared


This probably all happened before I started using Workstation as I don't recall there ever being a video recording function.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

> At one time VMware supported (albeit in beta) OS/2 hosts.  That support was dropped and no reason given but they lost a few customers - just like the Unity feature.  I really don't think they care to much.

Probably. VMware is a company after all, so it makes sense that they would focus on the high visibility stuff which they think will give them a competitive advantage. There's been little competition around the Unity feature since Windows on a Mac stopped being news, so it's only logical that they would choose to allocate their resources elsewhere.


Simply judging from the kinds of features that VMware has added in recent Workstation releases, I would bet that Linux as either host or guest isn't in very much demand in comparison to Windows.

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Expert
Expert

I agree completely in fact that's just what I said. If VMware is smart I'd suggest they spin off their Linux stuff into an opensource company.  In a way that's happening what with open-v-tools. The vmware-install.pl script to install vmware-tools now suggests you use the open-vm-tools for the Linux distro guest you are using. This would put VMware in better graces with both the open-source community and Microsoft.

Interestingly I've now noticed that Virtualbox/Oracle is doing something similar with Virtualbox additions - I messed up openSUSE Tumbleweed VB by using Virtualbox tools rather the Os specific open-vm-tools.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I'm pretty sure the main reason why Linux is still around is because it's important on ESXi, which I've heard shares parts of its codebase with Workstation. I mean, Workstation-only features such as Easy Install for Linux guests have either stagnated or gotten worse while features which also have an enterprise audience like SSD detection and optimization work equally well for both Windows and Linux.

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Contributor
Contributor

This sucks, agreed. Just downgraded back to Player 7 (licensed) due to this. I need Unity with a Windows host for Linux guest. Of course I had telemetry disabled, company policy and I would do it on a personal PC anyway. Nobody likes spying.

The key for Workstation 12 Player they sent me didn't work anyway.

At previous job I used the opposite combination, Linux host with Windows guest in Unity mode for corporate stuff like Outlook etc.

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Enthusiast
Enthusiast

Yeah, I wanted the OS/2 host too. Meanwhile, virtualbox 5.0.4 seems pretty good (no serious testing, and it doesn't do windows 10 unity mode either). Next stop, XEN.

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Expert
Expert

"Easy install" has never worked for me with Linux guests - any distro including Ubuntu variants.  Changing the subject slightly I have come across an interesting distro which just may work with WS 11 on Linux. It is openSUSE Leaf (also known as openSUSE 42.x).  It is a cross of code base between SLES and Tumbleweed which includes the 4.9 gcc compiler (5.2 is an option) and kernel 4.1.x.  I'll test installing Milestone 2 (GA is abou 55 days away) when I get back from a trip - hoping they don't upgrade the kernel or comiler.  If it does I'll restore my Windows 10 pariition and dual boot with SUSE.  Leaf works great as a guest OS under WS 11/Windows 10 host.

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