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VMWare is a desktop virtualization software or virtual machine for software developers/testers and enterprise IT professionals that runs multiple operating systems simultaneously on a single PC. For example one could run Windows inside VMWare on MEPIS, or test different Linux distributions without having to reboot MEPIS.

Requirements and performance issue

Bear in mind that you will be running two (or more) OSes simultaneously, so this decision will have performance consequences. Typically the Virtual OS (Guest OS) will run slower than if it was the Host OS. And, when the Virtual/Guest OS is running, it will use memory, thus reducing the main memory left for the Host OS (Linux, in our case). So, for example, if your machine has 1.0 GB of main memory, your Host OS could have half and the Guest OS have half, or 3/4 to the Host OS and 1/4 to the Guest OS or another combination -- you can configure/change that memory size as you desire.

Also, you will need ample disk space to provide a VM. By default, when you create the VM for running WinXP as a Guest OS, it will ask for 8GB of disk-space (but you could reduce that to, say 5GB). By default, VMWare-server will carve this disk-space out of Linux's 'root-tree' (but you have placement-control, so you could configure it instead to take disk-space from somewhere in the '/home' sub-tree if you prefer).

Free products

You can choose either of these products:

They both can run VMs, however they have different features: VMWare Player is slightly easier to install but can't create VMs, while VMWare Server allows you to have multiple VMs.


VMware is not in the Debian Etch repositories so it can not be installed using Synaptic. Download the package from this site. Once you have the package, VMware Server can be installed following the 6.5 instructions below. This is an alternate method



VMWare Player

  1. VMWare Player is available in Synaptic, search for "vmware" and install all the packages you find.
  2. run as root in konsole

VMWare Server

  1. Download the tarball for Linux (Also, 'register' to get the free serial-number for it.)
  2. Untar the downloaded file
  3. Open the folder created, press F4 to open konsole in that directory
  4. log in as root and type:


vmware-config.pl is the configuration script for VMWare. Follow the prompts, if you are not sure about an option accept the default.

[Note: For the VMWARE-server, you will be asked for 'serial number'. You request a free one by registering, at their website, on the same screen that you downloaded the server tarball from.]

Create Virtual Machines

VMWare Server and Workstation have an easy option to create VMs. VMWare Player doesn't have such feature because it is meant just for running pre-built applications, however you can create VMs for it with the help of: http://www.easyvmx.com/ It is also possible to create a VM from a physical computer in order to be able to run Windows on a Linux box, see VMWare Converter for Linux.

It is just after the creation of each VM that you install the OS that will run in that virtual machine. So, for example, to get Windows running in a VM under MEPIS, using the VMWare-Server, launch the 'VMWare Server Console', connect to it locally, and then choose the option 'create a new virtual machine'. Select the OS to install (e.g. WinXP Pro), and create the VM for it. Then, use the option 'power-on this virtual machine', and it should try to start it, and since the Guest-OS hasn't yet been installed, the VMWare-server should prompt you to insert your media (CD) containing the installation kit for that OS (e.g. WinXP Pro).

Note that you can run another Linux variant in a virtual-machine, as well as Windows. Other OSes are possible, too.

Running (virtual) MEPIS in VMWare

Remember to choose IDE over SATA when you choose the type of the virtual harddisk. If you installed on SATA you need to install with initrd option, or add the line afterwords in /menu/grub/menu.lst.


  • I had an issue that in Mepis 7.0 64bit the Fonts and Symbols were not detected by VMware. A way around this is to add a shell variable (for example in /etc/profile, ~/.bashrc, ...)
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