This post is about how we can enable the Unity mode on Linux desktop guests running Ubuntu 16.04, well, if you are willing to settle on an older version of WMware Workstation or Player.
In fact, it becomes difficult to enable the "Unity" mode for Linux guests. If you visit my older post on enabling VMware Unity mode on Ubuntu 14.04, you can see many have encountered difficulties, myself included. In particular, it is getting more difficult to enable the Unity mode on recent releases of desktop editions of Linux distributions. In my opinion, the difficulties come form the following three sources,
- Apparently, VMWare has recently dropped the support of Unity mode for Linux guests. You can infer this by comparing the documentation of VMware Workstation Player 12 with that of the previous version of the player, the VMware Player 7. VMware's Workstation Player 12 documentation now states,
"On the contrary, VMware Player 7 documentation states,
Use Unity Mode
You can switch virtual machines that have Windows XP or later guest operating systems to Unity mode to display applications directly on the host system desktop.
"It is clearly that Linux support has been dropped.
Use Unity Mode
You can switch virtual machines that have Linux or Windows 2000 or later guest operating systems to Unity mode to display applications directly on the host system desktop.
- Unity mode requires MetaCity or KDE, which does not appear to be the default and optimization objective for major Linux distributions.
- VMWare Unity mode's installation software does not know how to interact with systemd that has gradually becomes the default choice of the init service on most Linux distributions.
However, having observed the above, we actually have a solution.
- Hypervisor. We need to stick to the version of VMware Workstation or Player that supports the Unity mode. The newest version of Player that supports the Unity mode is actually VMWare Player 7.1.4. You can download it from VMware
- Linux Guest Dekstop Environment. We need to stick to Gnome 2 MetaCity or KDE.
For Ubuntu 16.04, we can enable Unity mode using VMware Player by following the steps below,
- Download and install VMware Player 7.1.4. Note that neither any version older than 7.1.4 nor any version newer than VMware Player, such as VMware Workstation 12 will work.
- In Ubuntu 16.04, install Gnome Flashback as follows,
sudo apt-get install gnome-flashback gnome-session-flashback
From the menu of VMware Player, choose "Player", "Manage", and "Install VMware Tools" (or Reinstall VMware Tools"). Make sure that you are installing VMwareTools 9.9.5. Earlier version would crash the vmtools library at the Ubuntu guest when you attempt to switch to Unity mode.
- In the Ubuntu Linux guest, extract the mounted VMwareTools image, and run "vmware-install.pl" to install the VMware Tools.
- Upon successfully installation of the VMware Tools, log out.
- When you log in, on the screen of the Display Manager, make sure that you select "GNOME Flashback (Metacity)" as shown below.
- Upon log in, you should be able to switch to the VMware Unity mode.