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Running vmware console in Mac OS X

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After following several guides I was still without a vmware console interface on my Leopard machine. Several of these guides where very detailed and well written, however the didn't solve any of my problems. Which mainly related to keyboard mapping issues.

First things first

You can not run vmware console natively in any Mac OS browser. You are bound to run in in a different environment and port the display of the application to the Mac OS computer (hereinafter referred to as the client computer). My setup includes the following

  • A Linux server (Debian 5.0 Lenny)
    • VMware Server 2.0.1
  • Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8
    • The X11 application (2.1.6)

The guides I tried to follow includes these ones

Setting up the Server (VMware host)

I assume that VMware is up and running.

Find the correct keymap

Navigate to /usr/lib/vmware/xkeymap and check the available keymaps

trikks@vmware1:/usr/lib/vmware/xkeymap$ ls
be101  chde101  chfr101  de101  dk101  es101  fi101  us101
be104  chde104  chfr104  de104  dk104  es104  fi104  us104
fr101  gb101  	is101    it101  jp106  no101  pt101  se101
fr104  gb104  	is104  	 it104  jp109  no104  pt104  se104

Since I'm located in sweden and uses a pro keyboard I'll use the se104 keymap.

Config files

The keymap can be registered in two different places, either per user or for the entire server.

# User specific
~/.vmware/preferences

# System wide (affects all users)
/etc/vmware/config

Fill in the following line in the end of the config/preference file

xkeymap.language="se104"

Dont!

Some guides say that you should enter some additional lines, but adding them are a big no no!

xkeymap.usekeycodeMapIfXFree86 = true (DO NOT ADD)
# and/or
xkeymap.usekeycodeMap = true (DO NOT ADD)

Configure the ssh server

Open the config file /etc/ssh/sshd_config and check that the following lines are set up like the ones below

PasswordAuthentication yes
X11Forwarding yes

Save and restart the ssh daemon

/etc/init.d/ssh reload
/etc/init.d/ssh restart
# OR
trikks@vmware1:~$ sudo /etc/init.d/ssh reload && sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart
Reloading OpenBSD Secure Shell server's configuration: sshd.
Restarting OpenBSD Secure Shell server: sshd.

Install a browser

This step might be optional for some of you, my usual linux setup doesn't include a browser since I don't user windows managers. Download firefox If you download it through your mac, ftp it to the home folder on your Linux box. Install it

# Decompress
tar xjf firefox-*.tar.bz2

# Copy or move to a public dir
sudo mv firefox /opt

# Create a link
sudo ln -s /opt/firefox/firefox /usr/bin/firefox

The Client computer (The Mac OS X computer) Depending on your configuration (of course) this can be done in a few different ways. I'm very fond of the built in terminal but the budled terminal i X11 will do as well. So, open one of them and ssh to the Linux server (you are probably already logged in since I assume the config above was made through ssh).

ssh user@host
#or
ssh host -l user

Everything should be ready now, enter the command

# To start firefox
firefox &

# Or to start firefox and navigate to the vmware server screen by default
vmware &

Thats it.

Good luck!

Please note that this portal is a BETA site , I will continuously improve all functionality and performance during the coming weeks / the author