Setting up a Debian Linux VM in VMware (2023)

These instructions were written for the Spring 2022 semester of COMS 4118 atColumbia University.

About Debian

There are many GNU+Linux distributions out there. Debian is ourchoice. Start by reading a little bit about it.

Download and Install VMware desktop hypervisor

Download and install the latest version of VMware desktop hypervisorfor your computer:

For VMware Workstation/Fusion Pro, install it as a 30-day trial for now. Registered students will receive VMware Workstation/Fusion Pro licensein 2-3 weeks. You can then enter the license to remove the trial status.

VMware Fusion for Apple Silicon is not officially released yet,but the public beta is fully functional and more than adequate for our use.

Download Debian

The current stable distribution of Debian is version 11, codenamed bullseye.

  • If your computer has Intel (x86) CPU, download debian-11.2.0-amd64-netinst.isofrom here.

  • If your computer has M1 CPU/GPU, download debian-11.2.0-arm64-netinst.isofrom here.

  • Always verify the checksums of what you download.

Create a VM

Create a new virtual machine in VMware using the Debian ISO image you just downloaded.

For the OS for the VM, choose Debian 11.x 64-bit if available.Depending on your platform, it may not be an option yet.In that case, choose Other Linux 5.x and later kernel 64-bit.

For the boot firmware, choose Legacy BIOS.

The default settings for memory and storage are probably too small.Customize your VM as follows:

  • Name: (your choice)

    • John, a former OS TA suggests naming it after your favorite Pokemon,such as Poliwhirl
  • CPU: 2 processor cores

  • RAM: 2 GB minimum; 4 GB or more highly recommended, provided that your host machine has 8 GB of RAM or more

    (Video) Installing Debian 11 (Bullseye) into a VMWare Player VM

  • Hard disk: 100 GB minimum, 200 GB or more recommended

Installing Debian

After configuring the VM, start the VM.The VM will now boot from its CD-ROM drive containing the Debian GNU/Linux install disk, which is virtually mapped to the ISO file that you downloaded.

Use the “graphical installer”. You’ll be guided through a somewhat lengthyinstallation process. Most of the default settings are acceptable – below is anoutline for some of the choices you should be making:

Time to reboot into your new system!

Setting up your Debian VM

Once you reboot, you’ll be greeted with a login screen. Use the user account youcreated earlier (e.g. we would use debbie here as our username).

Welcome to your VM’s desktop environment! Your system may ask you aboutconfiguring your desktop. Just select the default configuration for now – youcan always tweak it later.

If you chose Xfce as your desktop environment, you should see a dock at thebottom of your screen, quite like the one on macOS. Open the terminal.

You’ll be logged into your user account, which does not have superuser/rootprivileges yet. Switch into the root account using the following command:

$ su -

Type in the password you set for the root account. Now you should be logged inas root:

(Video) How to Install Debian 10 Buster on VMware Workstation 15 | SYSNETTECH Solutions

You’ll notice through this guide (and others) that certain shell commands beginwith $, while others begin with #. These shell prompts represent thepermissions you should run the command with; you should not be typing theprompts in. The convention is that commands with $ should be run as a regularuser (e.g. debbie), whereas commands beginning with # should be run as asuperuser (e.g. root, or using sudo). Speaking of which, your VM won’t havesudo installed yet! We’ll do that first.

Installing your first package

Update your package lists:

# apt update

This retrieves the most up-to-date list of packages from APT’s repositories,which tell apt all the things it can install. First, let’s upgrade allpackages that can be upgraded:

# apt upgrade

Now we can install sudo, as well as some other useful packages for gettingthrough the rest of setup:

# apt install sudo git build-essential net-tools linux-headers-`uname -r`

Feel free to also install any programs you are accustomed to using, such asvim, emacs, tmux, htop, etc. Just add these to the list of programsfor apt for install in the above command, after net-tools.

Setting up sudo

sudo stands for SuperUserDO – it helps you run commands with superuserpermissions from a regular account. To set this up, you will need to edit the/etc/sudoers configuration file by running:

# visudo

It will launch an editor(probably vim if you installed, nano if you didn’t).Add the following to the bottom:

# The basic structure of a user spec looks like this:# who where = (as_whom) how: whatdebbie ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL

Of course, if you chose a different username, use that instead of debbie.Save your changes and quit the text editor.

If you’re still logged in as root at this point from using su -, logout toreturn to your regular user account:

# exit$

Now that you added that line to your sudoers file, you should be able to runthe following command from your regular user account, without having to type inyour password:

(Video) Debian 11 - installling VMware Tools ( open-vm-tools ) on Debian 11 Linux

$ sudo echo "I am a sudoer, hear me roar!"I am a sudoer, hear me roar!

Now, when you come across a # shell prompt in any future guide, you may usesudo instead from your user account. For example, to update your packagesagain, instead of running (as root):

# apt update

You can instead run (as debbie):

$ sudo apt update

Disable Power Management

By default, Debian tries to do its own power management. This is unnecessary ina VM, and may cause your VM to become unresponsive after being inactive for sometime.

To disable power management in the Xfce desktop environment, open up theApplications menu on the top left corner of the GUI, and go to Settings / PowerManager to open up the Xfce Power Manager. On the System tab, make sure it nevergoes to sleep, and on the Display tab, uncheck “Display power management”.

Disable GUI on boot (optional)

If you prefer to boot directly into a terminal prompt on your serial console,rather than fussing with the graphical desktop environment, you can disable itby running the following:

# systemctl set-default

Now, once you boot, you’ll be greeted with a text-based serial console:

Debian GNU/Linux 11 poliwhirl tty1poliwhirl login: _

You can login with your regular credentials (e.g. as debbie). If you need toopen up your graphical desktop environment, you can manually launch it:

$ startx

You can always re-enable the booting into your desktop environment:

# systemctl set-default
(Video) Install, Configure Debian Server 9.3 and Install VMware Tools on VMware vSphere Hypervisor ESXi 6.5


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