Subject: Re: VMware and NetBSD
To: None <>
From: John Darrow <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 11/26/2006 01:07:12
On 24 Nov 2006 19:01:16 -0600, Null Void <> wrote:
>Hi. Anybody have any experience running NetBSD or Dfly under VMware?
>I found these appliances that I want to run in my office but it says
>that the "VMware tools" have not been installed on them:
>I contacted the author and he claims that Vmware does not officially
>support NetBSD and that's why it doesn't release the "VMware tools"
>for that OS. It only supports Linux and FreeBSD from the open source
>world. Is that true? Is there any performance gain (CPU, I/O) from
>installing the VMware tools on the guest system? I've heard numerous
>reports of improved performance but nothing has been confirmed
>officially by VMware. Thanx much.

With a couple of hacks to get around its attempts to check the FreeBSD
kernel module loader, you can get the FreeBSD version of the tools
running under NetBSD's compat_freebsd code.  (I also tried the linux
version, but it had far too many dependencies on linux's nonstandard
ways of doing things)

The things provided by VMware tools are:
- a special X server to improve graphical performance
- some X apps to control certain VMware settings from within your guest

I've never found either of these useful, as I've never had any reason
to run X on guest servers (it seems a major waste of memory and
processor to me).  The X apps simply duplicate functionality already
found in the VirtualCenter (which you will be wanting to run somewhere

- a kernel module for memory allocation, allowing a guest to "give
back" previously-used memory to the server.

This is a binary kernel module, and thus there's no way to use it on
NetBSD.  However, it only comes into play if you overcommit memory on
your server, which is a bad idea in the first place.

- a heartbeat tool (lets the server know your guest is alive)
- tools to allow the server to cleanly shutdown or restart your guest
from the VirtualCenter

These are the things that are actually useful for NetBSD.

Please note that the most recent ESX version of VMware I saw didn't
include FreeBSD tools; fortunately, I still had a disk image from an
earlier GSX version that had them.  While that meant that
VirtualCenter always claimed the tools "need upgrade", they still
worked just fine.


John Darrow - Senior Technical Specialist
Computing Services, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL 60187 (plain text please, no HTML or proprietary)
Neither spammers nor cold-callers will ever get my business, so don't bother.