> but I cannot seem to conclude with anything else than this feature being utterly broken.
I agree - that is the reason why you find those workarounds - I use cifs or sshfs.
Dont hold your breath waiting for a fix.
It's a little troubling that I post an answer to this without being totally sure exactly all of the crucial steps for getting this working, but it seems to me that the essential bit that stopped this from working was a missing directory for the mount point. I found this out by seeing after a reboot that it suddently started working! Not as earlier, though, but still: without me doing anything all the shares had been mounted under /mnt/hgfs. That directory was added by me yesterday when trying out manually mounting the directory, and coincidentally, this is the same directory the `vmware-tools` init script tries to mount the shares at!
I found this by grepping `/etc` for the mount point after seeing it was mounted, finding the /etc/init.d/vmware-tools.
It might not be everything you need to get it working, possibly needing to either reinstall open-vm-tools or VMWare Tools first, but still worth a try.