Trevor Sullivan's Tech Room

Minding the gap between administration and development

One reason I don’t use Linux

Posted by Trevor Sullivan on 2009/09/30


I’d like to take a moment to relay to you one, of many, reasons that I don’t use Linux, or take it seriously at all. This is partially for others to read, and partially as personal documentation so the next time I decide to try Linux, I can stop myself before I do.

So I recently installed Ubuntu 9.04 into a VMware virtual machine so that I could mess around with compiling a mini Linux kernel. I wanted to do this, because I recently heard someone talk about using a very lightweight Linux distro with Intel vPro to remotely repair a broken Windows operating system. Before anyone comments on that, a truly broken Windows OS is something we see less and less of as the Windows platform progresses beyond XP. Anyway, I had Ubuntu running in the VM, and I wanted to install the VMware Tools. This is where things start to get ugly.

I selected the Install VMware Tools option from the menu of the VMware console, and hoped this would invoke the installer for it. Unfortunately, I was greeted with no visible change on the guest OS. OK, no problem I said, I’ll just open up the CD drive from the file explorer, but oh yeah, on a fresh install of Ubuntu, I can’t even get the file explorer to open! It just sits there pretending like it’s about to open, but never does. Alright, so I can’t do it graphically, I guess I’ll just open a terminal and run it from there. After all, everything in Linux is about the command line, right?

I open a terminal, figure out where the CD is mounted, and navigate to that directory. I have two files, an RPM and a tar.gz file. I’ve come across plenty of tar.gz’s before, so I copy that over to my Documents folder and extract it. Next, I cd into the folder it created during extraction, and list out the files there. There’s a perl script aptly named vmware-install.pl, so I call that. Instead of getting a simple graphical interface to install the tools, I start getting bombarded with what seems like an endless number of prompts, asking me where I want to install this or that. I don’t know where to put everything, nor do I really care which components go where, so I hit Enter a million times until the installation finally finished.

Once the installation completed, I was told I had to restart X and run /usr/bin/vmware-toolbox (I don’t have a quote of the message) to get VMware integration to work. After rebooting the VM, I still didn’t have functionality like seamless mouse integration, so I ran the vmware-toolbox utility, and sure enough it worked after that. Here’s the problem though … first off, running the toolbox not only pops up a user interface that I have to minimize if I don’t want it to bug me, and secondly, why should I have to manually run the toolbox under my user context, in order to get full VMware integration?

So yeah, after all that wasted effort, and repeated attempts to use Linux in the past, I really don’t see the value in it.

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One Response to “One reason I don’t use Linux”

  1. Installing Linux in a virtual machine and having the VMware tools break is a problem with VMware tools and its installation, not the Ubuntu distro 🙂

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