VMware in the CS environment

User’s account setup

In order to use VMware in the CS lab, you will first need to set up your CS account to use VMware. This is done by running the command:


at the command prompt on a Linux box at the lab. This populates your account with the proper configuration files for VMware to run correctly.

Starting VMware

Once you’ve set up your account to use VMware, you may start using it by typing in the following command at the command prompt:


This will open a window that looks like:


Other tabs may exist. For kernel coding, you want to select the linux tab (note: this may be renamed to a more descriptive tab like “Linux – Kernel Hacking”). Highlighted is the Toolbar. In it it contains:

  • Power-off button: This button will “turn off” your virtual machine. The virtual machine will cease to exist in memory on your host machine when this button is pressed.
  • Start button: This button will “turn on” your virtual machine. The virtual machine will start to boot up when this button is pressed (see below).
  • Reboot button: This button will reboot your machine. The virtual machine will shut-down (but not power-off) and re-start.

The virtual machine starts up

Once you start the virtual machine by pressing the “Start” button or the “Start this virtual machine” button, you should start to see some of the following images:

VMware boot/BIOS screen


GRUB boot loader


Fedora booting up



Finally – Login screen


GRUB boot screen

The GRUB boot screen is where the user can decide which OS the virtual machine should start. This is configured in the /etc/grub.conf file on the Linux OS. For more information at the command prompt type:

info grub

VMware specifics for CS kernel hacking

Logging into the virtual machine

In order to work on the kernel, you will need to log into the virtual machine as root. Once the virtual machine is booted, and you are at the login screen you can log in with the following username and password:
Username: root
Password: VMware-root

Non-persistent mode

The Linux installation for kernel hacking is set up in “Non-persistent” mode (VMware 3.0 terminology). Basically this means any changes that is made to the virtual machine are lost when the machine is powered off. Again, any changes made to the virtual machine are lost when the machine is powered off. Changes made to the virtual machine will continue to exist when the machine is rebooted, but the moment you reboot the machine, your changes will be lost. The reason for this set up is to ensure users will have a fresh copy of Linux when they start the virtual machine.

Host-only networking

The virtual machine is set up with “Host-only” networking. This means the virtual machine can only communicate with the host OS via the network. You will not have access to any other systems through networking. This is to prevent users from altering network kernel code, possibly screwing up and flooding the network with packets. This brings us to the next point…

Virtual machine and host OS file transfer

You will be able to ssh and sftp to the host operating system. The host operating system can be accessed as host-machine. So if you wanted to transfer files between the virtual machine and the host operating system, in a terminal on the virtual machine, you would type:

sftp username@host-machine

where username is your username.

VMware keyboard shortcuts

Below is a listing of keyboard shortcuts for use in VMware.

Shortcut Action
Ctrl-B Power on
Ctrl-E Power off
Ctrl-R Reset the power
Ctrl-Alt-Enter Go to full screen mode
Ctrl-Alt If in full screen mode:
Return to windowed mode 

Release keyboard and mouse

VMware software specfics

VMware version: VMware Workstation 4.5.2

Guest Operating System: Fedora Core 2

The VMware user name is available at: http://vmware-svca.www.conxion.com/software/ws45_manual.pdf
This file is currently located as: http://www.cs.bu.edu/labs/Lab-VMware/index.html