VMWare Server Console on Mac OSX

Standardizing on one VM platform has made my life so much easier. I’ve played with a number of them x11 and I’ve settled on VMWare. Currently, I have an Ubuntu Server running VMWare in my basement and I have a number of client machines that have VMWare client software running as well. Recently I’ve noticed a deficiency when I move my main computing platform to Mac OSX — there is no VMWare Server Console software.

This software is very valuable if you are running multiple VMs on a VMware server. Instead of configuring a remote control or SSH server on each client VM, you can control the VMs via the VMWare Server Console. When my main computing platform was Ubuntu Gusty Gibbon, this was a no-brainer. The software is bundled with the Linux client package. Running Gusty Gibbon on my primary PC was amazing because I could not only control another VMWare Server, the workstation had multiple client OS’s installed locally so I could have a dozen machines running on two physical pieces of hardware. But then I made the switch….

Fortunately, Tao of Mac has an excellent article on getting the VMWare Server Console to work on OS X. In a nutshell, you’ll need to use forward your X11 calls from the machine that has VMWare Server Console installed to your machine via the X11.app.

Before following the steps above, you’ll have to get hold of the VMWare Server Console software. Select the VMWare Server Linux client package at the end of the page. If you need any help installing the package see this VMWare online library article.

Since I installed VMWare Server console on my non-gui Ubuntu server I couldn’t really test my installation. Thus after my install, I eagerly executed the steps in the Tao of Mac article and I got the dreaded error:

To be honest, I think that VMWare throws this message up every time it encounters a configuration issue. It’s not very specific — or rather it’s misleading. I had investigated so many different possibilities to find out that I had two issues:

  1. The ownership of my .vmware directory and preferences file contain in it were own by root as opposed to my user account.
  2. I need to update my OS headers

The first item was easy enough by executing chown (user:group) on the directory to make it ‘mine’. The second is just as straight forward — Here are the commands:

Update server apt-get cache:

Get latest headers:

After completing the above, I simply executed the steps in the Tao Of Mac link and I had a working VMWare Server console running on my Mac.


6 thoughts on “VMWare Server Console on Mac OSX

  1. This is driving me nutz. I have followed the TAO article, and done everything I can, but I cannot get vmware or vmware-server-console to come up locally. X is working, as verified by XClock running, and VMWare is working as I can cheat and use a Linux VM to run the server-console, but… I’d rather do it without the overhead.

    What keyboard mapping did you use?

  2. I’m using pt104. Below is the contents of my ~/.vmware/preferences file of the server that houses the VMWare binaries:


    pref.grabOnKeyPress = “FALSE”
    pref.autoFitFullScreen = “fitHostToGuest”
    pref.view.navBar.type = “favorites”
    pref.mruDest0.present = “TRUE”
    pref.mruDest0.destString = “orion”
    pref.mruDest0.user = “jtaylor”
    pref.mruDest1.present = “FALSE”
    pref.mruDest1.destString = “”
    pref.mruDest1.user = “”
    pref.mruDest2.present = “FALSE”
    pref.mruDest2.destString = “”
    pref.mruDest2.user = “”
    pref.mruDest3.present = “FALSE”
    pref.mruDest3.destString = “”
    pref.mruDest3.user = “”
    pref.mruDest4.present = “FALSE”
    pref.mruDest4.destString = “”
    pref.mruDest4.user = “”
    pref.mruDest5.present = “FALSE”
    pref.mruDest5.destString = “”
    pref.mruDest5.user = “”
    pref.mruDest6.present = “FALSE”
    pref.mruDest6.destString = “”
    pref.mruDest6.user = “”
    pref.mruDest7.present = “FALSE”
    pref.mruDest7.destString = “”
    pref.mruDest7.user = “”
    webUpdate.checkPeriod = “weekly”

    webUpdate.checkLast = “1211340271”
    webUpdate.lastCheck.status = “done_updates”

    pref.cnxType = “remote”

    pref.console.currentObj.path = “/vm/|23ab68f615f7e275dd/”
    pref.console.currentObj.type = “home”
    pref.placement.right = “1302”
    pref.placement.bottom = “942”

    pref.placement.left = “51”
    pref.placement.top = “28”

    Of course the ONLY line that existed before a successful launch was the first line:


    In addition, my version of vmware server console has a different executable file name. I’m assuming that it was change based on a version change at some point. I execute mine by executing:


    What type of error messages are you getting?

  3. I tried the PT104, and US101, US014, etc. with no luck.

    I *wish* I was getting an error message. Kicking up vmware-server-console nets no messages, anywhere, that I can find. Nothing on the terminal, nor in any logs. It seems to start, for 5-10 seconds, and then the command ends without output.

    I can start xclock up, so the basic X-system seems okay.

  4. I’m sure you’ve done what I’m about to recommend over and over till you feel like you’re going to puke – but I’ll recommend it to cover all the bases.

    In cases like this, I would typically redownload and reinstall the software (VMWare) and start again. However, I would recommend that you repeat the configuration script again: (sorry, I’m assuming you are using Ubuntu or some related distro – obviously replace the commands below with the appropriate commands for your distro)

    1) sudo apt-get update && apt-get upgrade
    2) sudo apt-get install linux-headers-uname -r
    3) sudo /usr/bin/vmware-config.pl
    4) Ensure that the ownership and group ownership of ~/.vmware and all it’s files belong to your user account that you SSH into
    5) Ensure that the preference file is there and owned by you
    6) ssh -Y from an X11.app and test

    Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  5. I don’t know if this will help, but I’m not running the latest version of the VMWare server either. I have version 1.0.3 (build-44356) installed. This was release 4/26/07, so it’s only a little dated -only 3 minor point releases since it’s release. The current release is 1.0.6.

    I’ve reviewed my logs as well and there doesn’t seem to be any specific X11 logging on the server side and only initialization entries when I fire up X11.app on the Mac side. So no help there.

    I did a little Googling on the issue and came up with this site when looking for debugging items in X11: http://homepage.mac.com/sao1/X11/ The site contains some info on how to unload and re-install X11 in addition to some tidbits of what X11.app really is (a wrapper for xterm.) Maybe some useful information here.

    An interesting tidbit from the link above, is that one shouldn’t run X11 from the Dock b/c the environment variable $DISPLAY isn’t correctly set.

    Sorry couldn’t be of more help.

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