Installing VMware® Workstation 16 Pro on Ubuntu 20.04

Today I will talk about installing VMware® Workstation 16 Pro on Ubuntu 20.04 x86_64


For the most part, installation of this program has been streamlined. Compared to earlier versions, you really don't have do do anything more than:

chmod +x VMware-Workstation-Full-16.1.0-17198959.x86_64.bundle
sudo ./VMware-Workstation-Full-16.1.0-17198959.x86_64.bundle

This will give you working application but won't let you run any virtual machines yet.

For a while, kernel lockdown is in effect, where the kernel will not load unsigned kernel modules, so that they cannot be used to circumvent secure boot. Details are not interesting for now. Let's focus on the installation.

The following instructions assume you have enabled support for proprietary drives during your installation process. If you don't remember setting "secure boot password" and seeing weirdly looking and weirdly named MOK prompt during first boot following the installation of Ubuntu, you probably did not do this and the following instructions will not work.

If you did you have all the bits necessary now:

sudo /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 /var/lib/shim-signed/mok/MOK.priv /var/lib/shim-signed/mok/MOK.der $(modinfo -n vmmon)
sudo /usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)/scripts/sign-file sha256 /var/lib/shim-signed/mok/MOK.priv /var/lib/shim-signed/mok/MOK.der $(modinfo -n vmmet)
sudo modprobe vmmon
sudo modprobe vmnet

What is going on here is that the kernel lockdown prevents usage of unsigned modules. You can find this message in your journal / syslog and follow the breadcrumbs to the relevant manual page.

kernel: Lockdown: modprobe: unsigned module loading is restricted; see man kernel_lockdown.7

You can read the manual page here: https://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man7/kernel_lockdown.7.html

Remember that this has to be done every time you change your kernel.


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