VMware Tools or open-vm-tools

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In 2007, VMware released large partitions of the VMware Tools as open-source software under the name, open-vm-tools (open virtual machine tools). They are now included in many Linux distributions, such as Debian, and can thus be obtained directly from the distribution repository.

VMware Server Systems


You can check your current installation of the open-vm-tools in the VM general settings.
As stated at the beginning of this article the open-vm-tools are present in the software repositories of several Linux distributions. Therefore you can use the package management to install them.

Using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty) or Debian Wheezy apt-get/aptitude is the preferred way, the package name is open-vm-tools-lts-trusty or simply open-vm-tools.[1][2]

  • Ubuntu
    • sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools-lts-trusty
  • Debian
    • sudo apt-get install open-vm-tools

Currently there are no restrictions regarding support from VMware:[3]

Eliminates the need to separately install VMware Tools when open-vm-tools is bundled with the operating system because open-vm-tools is a fully-supported open source implementation of VMware Tools.

VMware Tools

The VMware Tools are usually bundled and provided via ISO files in VMware's products.:[4]

But currently there is even a hint on using the open-vm-tools when installing the VMware Tools:


Download options for VMware Tools:


  1. open-vm-tools-lts-trusty (packages.ubuntu.com)
  2. open-vm-tools (packages.debian.org)
  3. VMware support of open-vm-tools (kb.vmware.com)
  4. VMware Workstation 5.5 Installing VMware Tools (vmware.com)
  5. VMware Tools Installation Guide Operating System Specific Packages (ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2 and later VMware Tools)
  6. Installing VMware Tools on Linux (searchvmware.techtarget.com)

Additional Information

Foto Werner Fischer.jpg

Author: Werner Fischer

Werner Fischer, working in the Web Operations & Knowledge Transfer team at Thomas-Krenn, completed his studies of Computer and Media Security at FH Hagenberg in Austria. He is a regular speaker at many conferences like LinuxTag, OSMC, OSDC, LinuxCon, and author for various IT magazines. In his spare time he enjoys playing the piano and training for a good result at the annual Linz marathon relay.

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