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Thursday, July 18, 2013

VMware Fusion - Permissions on Shared Folders on Ubuntu

VMware Fusion provides a nice functionality of sharing folder from host (Mac OSX) to guest (Ubuntu). But then, it seems they are more focused on windows guests, because they screwup on file permissions of shared folders.

"ls -al /mnt/hgfs" will show 501 dialout as user and group, which is sure to cause permission issues on linux guest.

Update: Found a more persistent alternative
1. sudo vim /etc/vmware-tools/
2. Search for 'vmhgfs_mnt="/mnt/hgfs"'. After this line add: 'vmuser=${VMWARE_MNT_USER:-root}'
3. Then search for 'vmware_exec_selinux "mount -t vmhgfs .host:/ $vmhgfs_mnt"' and replace it with following section:
   uid=`id --user $vmuser`
   gid=`id --group $vmuser`
   vmware_exec_selinux "mount -t vmhgfs .host:/ $vmhgfs_mnt -o uid=$uid,gid=$gid"
4. sudo vim /etc/init/vmware-tools.conf
Before the "pre-start" and "post-stop" lines add:
env VMWARE_MNT_USER=[The guest user you want]
5. sudo reboot

NOTE: This will have to be redone when you update/ reinstall vmware-tools

To fix this:
ssh to your ubuntu.
run command "id". Make note of uid and gid.
"sudo vim /etc/mtab"
look for line ".host:/ /mnt/hgfs vmhgfs rw,ttl=1 0 0"
Duplicate the line and change it to ".host:/ /mnt/hgfs vmhgfs rw,ttl=1,uid=1000,gid=1000 0 0"
"sudo umount /mnt/hgfs"
"sudo mount /mnt/hgfs"

Now do a "ls -al /mnt/hgfs" to verify if correct username and group are shown.

Ideally, vmware fusion should be making this as transparent as possible. But then again, they don't care because they still don't have a real competition. Once, we do some real competitors, maybe then might start worrying about such minor but key items.

Currently, I spend more time trying to get it working than actually working on a VM. I am desperately looking for a better alternative.

This seems like a pretty neat fix. On the sharing screen, VMWare could add a simple textbox for user name and next time vmware tools are installed, use this value while generating the vmware-tools.conf file.

Not sure when VMWare will take note of such minor issues.