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Operating System Specific Packages fail to install on Ubuntu 8.10 if Ubuntu Multiverse Repository is used


Starting with the 8.10 release, Ubuntu is offering open-vm-tools packages as part of its multiverse repository. VMware does not support the use of these packages in VMware virtual machines. The version of tools available in the Ubuntu 8.10 multiverse repository is based on a development snapshot of the open-vm-tools project hosted on http://sourceforge.net/. These packages are not official VMware Tools releases. VMware Global Support Services might require customers using the Ubuntu packages to remove these packages and install the official VMware Tools release as part of any support request related to Ubuntu 8.10.
If the unsupported tools kernel modules are installed in a virtual machine that already contains the official VMware Tools release, the VMware modulesare overwritten. The Ubuntu packages have the same name as one of the VMware Tools OSPs, and this results in a package-name collision.This name collision might cause issues with the Ubuntu's packaging system when it attempts to install the supported VMware Tools OSP. The Ubuntu packaging system installs the incompatible Ubuntu-provided package instead of the appropriate VMware Tools OSP.
Due to this collision you might be unable to install the OSPs on Ubuntu 8.10 from the repositories if the multiverse repository is enabled. Care must also be taken to avoid installing these packages if VMware Tools is already installed through the tar installation method.
This article provides workarounds and possible options that allow you to replace the conflicting open-vm-tool package with supported versions of VMware Tools.
This issue affects users if:
  • They have the multiverse repository enabled for software updates.
  • They have the open-vm-tools package from Ubuntu's multiverse repository installed on their system.


To enable installation of VMware Tools OSPs on an Ubuntu 8.10 system, review and perform as needed, these tasks:
  • Uninstall existing Ubuntu open-vm-tools packages
  • Disable Ubuntu package management system
  • Silence the Update Manager warnings
  • Using Regular VMware Tools Installer

Uninstalling existing Ubuntu open-vm-tools packages

To uninstall existing Ubuntu open-vm-tools packages:

  1. Determine whether you have the Ubuntu open-vm-tools package installed by running the command.

    dpkg -s open-vm-tools | grep ^Maint

    If the result states that the open-vm-tools package is not installed, or if the maintainer field (in the results output) lists the VMware Build Team, then you do not have the Ubuntu open-vm-tools package installed and can safely install or upgrade your OSPs.

    If the maintainer field, in the results output, lists the Ubuntu MOTU Develop, then you have the Ubuntu package installed and must remove it before you update the OSPs.

  2. Remove the Ubuntu package by running the command:

    sudo apt-get remove open-vm-tools
  3. Verify that you do not have any versions of open-vm-tools installed on your system by running the command:

    sudo dpkg-query -s open-vm-tools

    The confirming response indicates that the package open-vm-tools is not installed and no information is available.

Disabling Ubuntu package management system

To successfully install VMware's OSPs through the apt-get program, you must disable the multiverse repository in the Ubuntu's package management system so it does not see the Ubuntu-provided package that conflicts with the VMware packages.
To disable the multiverse repository, from your Ubuntu virtual machine:
  1. Open System > Administration > Software Sources application.
  2. In the Ubuntu Software tab, deselect Software restricted by copyright or legal issues (multiverse).
  3. Click Close.
  4. When prompted to update software information, click Reload.
  5. When multiverse is successfully disabled, proceed to install OSPs normally using apt-get. See VMware Tools Installation Guide Operating System Specific Packages.
Note: If you enable the multiverse repository at any point in the future, you run the risk of the original problem where open-vm-tools packages are available from two different sources. Using the multiverse repository prevents you from updating your OSPs when newer versions are available and causes Update Manager to warn that not all packages could be installed, each time you open Update Manager. 

Silencing the Update Manager warnings

If you must have the multiverse repository enabled, you can silence the Update Manager warning by running the command:
echo 'open-vm-tools hold' | sudo dpkg --set-selections

This command instructs the package manager to never upgrade the open-vm-tools package.
To upgrade the open-vm-tools package when newer versions of the OSPs are available:
  1. Re-enable updates by running the command:

    echo 'open-vm-tools install' | sudo dpkg --set-selection

  2. Disable the multiverse repository. See Disabling Ubuntu package management system in this article.
  3. Upgrade the open-vm-tools package through the apt-get program.

Using Regular VMware Tools Installer

If you choose, you can use the tar installation method (described in the manual for your VMware product and installing VMware tools 340 to install the VMware Tools OSPs.
The advantage of this approach is that it avoids the Ubuntu package management system entirely, side-stepping the problem introduced by the fact that an unsupported Ubuntu package and a VMware-supported OSP have the same package name.
The disadvantage is that the package management system does not recognize any of the files that have been installed. It cannot prevent unsupported packages from being installed. This might cause an overwrite of important files from the VMware Tools installation.
To use this installation method:
  1. Ensure that the Ubuntu open-vm-tools package is not installed. See the section above, Uninstall existing Ubuntu open-vm-tools packages.
  2. Follow the VMware Tools installation instructions from your product manual or the knowledge base article, 
  3. Manually ensure that you do not later install the Ubuntu open-vm-tools package.
The package manager cannot prevent overwriting VMware Tools files with additional installations. There is no method to prevent accidental installation of the unsupported Ubuntu packages. Disabling the multiverse repository helps.

Based on VMware KB 1010169

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