VMware Workstation Tech Preview

I have to say that I think virtualization is awesome. The idea of it is slightly mind boggling when try and tell someone what exactly it is, but from the first few times I heard about it and wrapped my head around it, I thought it was amazing. There are, at times and in my opinion, features that VMware / Virtualbox / HyperV lack(ed) though. And one of those was obviously 3D acceleration from within a Linux VM.

This bothered me more specifically on Desktop VMs rather than Server VMs. With virtualized servers, obviously you’re looking for something light and non-intrusive. Virtualization provides a way to cut costs with servers¬†because technically you’re getting “more with less”. Most virtualized Linux based servers are something like Red Hat Enterprise, CentOS, or Debian (all of which are not intensively resource heavy).

But with a Desktop VM, I prefer to have the more of the flashy effects that are possible with newer desktop environments (though I’m hardly a fan of these newer desktop environments). I am a compulsive “distro hopper” and before I rewrite that second partition on my drive with a new Linux build, I like to test it out and see how I will like it before I make the jump.

Step in VMware. But oh hey, VMware Workstation 8 doesn’t provide 3d acceleration. Well that sucks.

Luckily for us, VMware now has a Tech Preview out (that expires in October which is, I’m sure, when we will see VMware Workstation 9 drop) that supports 3D Acceleration on some Linux builds (more specifically I’ve seen it work with Ubuntu + Gnome, Linux Mint + Cinnamon and most other Ubuntu based distros). It’s easier on these Ubuntu based distros because there is already support for it in the repo. If you are using Fedora or OpenSuse, you’ll have to build the driver from source.

All you have to do is install your distro in VMware and run this:

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Then install VMware tools, and there you go. Yay.