Thursday, November 5, 2015

VMWare Shared Folders oin Fedora 23


if you haven't noticed: Fedora 23 is out, and its time to get your hands wet on it. Being forced to use a Windows Laptop, I am typically doing this by installing a VMware guest. Once the virtual machine is up, the first thing i want to do is accessing my Windows home directory. The easiest way to do this is by creating a so-called "Shared Folder" in the VMware settings for my machine. On the guest, you need to install the "VMware Tools" and do something like

mkdir /home/username/sharedfolder
sudo mount -t vmhgfs -o uid=1000,gid=1000 .host:sharename /home/username/sharedfolder

(The options uid=1000,gid=1000 ensure, that the mounted directory is readable, and writable for the user with uid=1000, and gid=1000, which is me.)

The problem with that procedure is, that it depends on a kernel module called "hgfs", which must be installed as part of the "VMware Tools". And, needless to say: Installation of the VMware Tools (version 9.2.0-799703, as of this writing) fails, because the Kernel isn't compatible to the sources distributed by VMware.

So far, the only reasonable solution was to wait for an updated tools version by VMware. (I generally ignored the possibility to patch those distributed sources as overly complicated, and insecure. However, there's a new, and better solution available:

Fedora 23 automatically installs an RPM named open-vm-tools. And this includes two programs, that allow use of shared folders without the kernel module:

  # Display a list of all shared folders:
  # Note, that it includes a share called "sharedfolder".
  $ vmware-hgfsclient sharedfolder

  # Create a directory named /home/username/foo, and mount the shared folder there.
  $ vmhgfs-fuse .host:foo /home/username/sharedfolder
  $ cd /home/username/sharedfolder
  $ touch testfile
  $ rm testfile

Note, that neither "sudo" nor the specification of any options was required.

So, in other words: As of Fedora 23, the VMware Tools are no longer required. Mouse integration, Cut and Paste, and using shared folders: Everything works out of the box. (I can live without the thin print drivers.)

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