Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Wed 18th Feb, 2009

The 'helpful' internet

I've been wrestling with the new VMWare Server 2.0 interface for a number of months now. Thwarting me has been the use of a "web" interface and its complete failure to be able to log in. Each time I try I've been presented with the dreaded and inexplicable error:

"The server is not responding. Please check that the server is running and accepting connections."

The 'help', if it can so be called, that people on the internet have provided for this has ranged from disabling SELinux, through disabling IPv6, to fiddling with various configuration in everything from VMWare to the /etc/services file. Almost universal in these pages is the fact that the person has done a couple of things (put some new line into /etc/vmware/locations, disabled iptables, installed xinetd) but none of them worked. Users are left either cluelessly following all of these things, hoping in a cargo-cult way that one of them might do the trick, or (like me, who eschews such thoughtless ritual) wondering what the real answer is.

Well, I finally found one suggestion that worked, for Fedora 10 on i386 at least. I can't say it will fix your problem, but it's at least a start. And it does seem to make sense with respect to what the problem seems to be - a failure in some part of the authentication process. Simply edit your /etc/pam.d/vmware-authd file to include these lines:

auth		required
account		required

I'm not entirely sure what this does, which probably puts me back in the cargo-cult camp.

You will also need to fix a couple of the libraries' SELinux permissions to allow VMWare to use libraries which require text relocation:

chcon -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/vmware/hostd/'
chcon -t textrel_shlib_t '/usr/lib/vmware/vmacore/'
And, once you've installed the VMWare viewer plugin for Firefox:

find /root /home -name -print0 | xargs -0 chcon -v -t textrel_shlib_t

Hopefully this will help a few people who want to get VMWare Server working on Fedora 10 without having to do crazy stuff (e.g. disable SELinux).

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