jettm
Contributor
Contributor

Is VMWare Tools required?

If my virtual appliance does not install or make use of VMWare Tools, is that going to be a mark against it or disqualify it? I would rather my Appliance NOT be able to communicate with the outside world.

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7 Replies
RDPetruska
Leadership
Leadership

There are lots of other pieces to the VMware Tools besides shared folders. Mouse grab/ungrab; device drivers for the video card, mouse, scsi controller in addition to the ethernet card; time sync with host; ability to shrink the disk, etc. You may want to consider installing just for all of those other reasons.

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bac
Expert
Expert

What exactly do you mean by "not be able to communicate with the outside world" ? I assume your VM will need to communicate with the outside world in some[/i] way, or it would not be very useful. Smiley Happy

As Rob said, the VMware Tools consist of a number of different components, some of which may be very useful to have even if you do not need others. I'm not judging the competition so I can't tell you for sure whether not having Tools would disqualify you, but I expect that at the end of the day the appliances will be judged based on what they do and how well they perform. I don't think that not having Tools would eliminate you outright, but I'd think carefully before doing away with them completely since they do provide some useful functionality.

If you are specifically concerned about having your appliance's filesystem isolated from the host's filesystem, then disabling the Shared Folders feature should be enough. You can do that quite easily by disabling the vmhgfs module in the guest. Also, note that the Shared Folders feature currently only works in our Workstation product anyway; it is disabled in every other product (including VMware Server and Player).

If you have other specific concerns about the VMware Tools, feel free to post follow up questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

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Dallas
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

My VM is ruffly 82 megs without the tools installed and 202 megs with the tools. What happens if I do not include them, in my VM?

I have read the rules and there is a release to include the tools but I did not read that they had to be included. My VM is a dedicated server that is stream lined for only one task.

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bac
Expert
Expert

Please see my earlier reply to your message regarding the size issue in the thread "Size of virtual appliance?".

As noted in my comment above, including the VMware Tools is not a requirement but it does offer certain advantages over not including them. There are a number of nice features that the Tools provide, and certain advanced resource management (e.g. memory ballooning in ESX Server) won't work without them. I would in general recommend including them for the same reasons that we in general recommend installing the VMware Tools in all your VMs. But, they're not required and if you feel it's for some reason to your advantage to leave them out, the choice is yours.

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larstr
Champion
Champion

I'm sorry for reactivating this old thread again, but this Slashdot article[/url] made me a bit worried.

In short: redistributing a kernel with a closed source module is breaking the GPL license. The vmware tools are closed source so we might get in legal trouble if we're using a preconfigured linux VM with VMware Tools installed.

Any chance that the VMware Tools will be GPL'ed any day now? Smiley Wink

Or do we have to start over again using *BSD instead?

Lars

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samwyse
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

I'm sorry for reactivating this old thread again, but

[url=http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/14

/2059242]this Slashdot article[/url] made me a bit

worried.

In short: redistributing a kernel with a closed

source module is breaking the GPL license. The vmware

tools are closed source so we might get in legal

trouble if we're using a preconfigured linux VM with

VMware Tools installed.

I doubt it. There are several physical appliances that combine GPL'ed and closed source and they don't have any issues. I think that the slashdot article is about someone distributing closed source modules that are compiled into the kernel, instead of being dynamically loaded at boot time. It's a murky point if you just go by the GPL's wording, but Linus has always said that he allows the latter and not the former.

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rhl2000
Enthusiast
Enthusiast

The one thing that makes it obvious (to me, anyway) that the VMware Tools should be installed on ALL VMs is that they allow for a graceful and orderly shutdown of the VM in the event that the host has to shut down (power failure, "Power Off VM" command, upgrade VMware Server to next beta, etc...)

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