Building a Debian VMware Server workstation

debian4vmwareThis article covers the installation of VMware Server on a Debian workstation.  This installation was originally performed using Debian 4, but I expect it to work with Debian 5.

Schools will find this useful if they want to investigate VMware Server on a reliable platform.  However I recommend that you try installing ESXi if you need an enterprise class vm platform.

Debian workstation

We will start with a clean-build of a Debian workstation.



  1. Uninstall network-manager (it is not designed for servers. Mark it for complete removal!)
  2. Configure a static IP address in the range (VMHost-01 =
  3. Domain name yourschool
  4. AutoStart to yourname account (Login Window settings)
  5. Enable password protected remote access. (System > Remote Access)
  6. Restart the server
  7. Install ntp.
  8. Disable Screen Saver.



  1. Download all available updates for Debian.
  2. Restart server.


VMware Server

  1. # apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` libx11-6 libx11-dev x-window-system-core x-window-system xspecs libxtst6 psmisc build-essential (You will need the Deb4-netinst cd for this)
  2. Browse to
  3. Download the latest version of VMware Server
  4. Use a terminal to browse to the expanded directory…
  5. # ./
  6. Ensure that you configure the correct Ethernet interface (usually eth0 defaults but eth1 is correct)
  7. Use /home/vm to keep the Virtual Machine files
  8. Enter the free serial number xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
  9. To configure VMware server post installation run…
  10. # /usr/bin/
  11. # cd vmware-mui-distrib
  12. # ./
  13. Change the time to log out from 60 mins to 180
  14. You will now be able to browse to …
  16. To configure VMware Managed User Interface post installation run…
  17. # /usr/bin/


Setting up the virtual machines and finishing off

Copy any existing vm files from the data server, and make sure that remote access to the Debian workstation is passworded.


Shutting down/Restarting a VMHost machine

Before restarting Debian VMHosts make sure that Remote access is setup to logon without requesting a password. Once the machine has been restarted ensure that remote access is passworded again.


Image the new server

Clonezilla or FOG can be used to image the Debian VMhost.


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