Friday, April 17, 2009


VMware Remote Console Installation Woes

I installed VMware Server 2.0.1 on an Ubuntu Linux box yesterday. Unfortunately I couldn't get the remote console plug-in to install in my Firefox 3.0.8 browser. Firefox would prompt me to install the extension, but time after time the extension install and subsequent browser restart would not work. The extension showed up in the Add-ons dialog box, but the VMware infrastructure web access page was unable to successfully load it. I'd keep getting the message, "The VMware Remote Console Plug-in is not installed or could not be found."

That's when I noticed that my browser was trying to load the Win32 build of the extension. I smacked myself in the forehead. "Of course!" I thought, "it thinks I'm running under Windows because of my browser configuration!"

For Firefox installations on my Linux boxes, I specify the general.useragent.override configuration setting. The reason that I do this is because some websites only want to support Windows. They check the browser's user agent and do funny things if the browser says something other than Windows. I know that I'm not going to call their technical support department to report that "my series of tubes on teh internets isn't working," so I override the default setting with a perfectly valid user agent from a Windows version of Firefox.

While spoofing the user agent fixed those annoyances, it unfortunately was also fooling VMware. I temporarily restored the default user agent and was then successfully able to install the extension for the correct platform. In the end all of this grief was just another one of those self-inflicted, non-obvious boundary cases.


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