Solved: VMware Workstation 15 Fails to Compile Kernel Modules with “Failed to build vmmon” and “Failed to build vmnet.”

My Problem:

After updating Fedora 29, VMware Workstation Pro 15 needed to have some kernel modules compiled. However, attempting to install them earned me warning signs on the “Virtual Machine Monitor” and “Virtual Network Device” compilation process, and of course starting the services failed. Logs stated “Failed to build vmmon” and “Failed to build vmnet.”

My Solution:

Digest this SuperUser thread: https://superuser.com/questions/1328401/vmware-workstation-vmmon-broken-on-ubuntu-18-04/1330890

Ultimately, you need to clone this github repo: https://github.com/mkubecek/vmware-host-modules.git. Checkout the proper branch that corresponds to your product and version (for example, I used the Workstation 15.0.3 branch). make then make install within that repo, and finally you’ll want to create a symlink for libz.so.1.

Using two separate answers in the above SuperUser thread, then modifying it for my own purposes, I came up with this:

#!/bin/bash
VMWARE_VERSION=workstation-15.0.3 #This needs to be the actual name of the appropriate branch in mkubecek's GitHub repo for your purposes
TMP_FOLDER=/tmp/patch-vmware
rm -fdr $TMP_FOLDER
mkdir -p $TMP_FOLDER
cd $TMP_FOLDER
git clone https://github.com/mkubecek/vmware-host-modules.git #Use `git branch -a` to find all available branches and find the one that's appropriate for you
cd $TMP_FOLDER/vmware-host-modules
git checkout $VMWARE_VERSION
git fetch
make
sudo make install
sudo rm /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libz.so.1/libz.so.1
sudo ln -s /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libz.so.1 /usr/lib/vmware/lib/libz.so.1/libz.so.1
systemctl restart vmware && vmware &

The Long Story:

After a massive cascade of updates on my Fedora 29 workstation that I had been delaying, VMware Workstation Pro 15.0.3 (build-12422535, and Kernal 5.0.3-200.fc29.x86_64 for whatever it’s worth) was unable to launch, instead requiring some kmods to be compiled and loaded:

“Before you can run VMware, several modules must be compiled and loaded into the running kernel.”

Dutifully clicking install earned me these lovely caution signs:

“Virtual Machine Monitor and Virtual Network Device have probably not done what you wanted.”

The services were unable to start, so I checked out the logs:

“Unable to start services. See log file /tmp/vmare-root/vmware-17464.log for details.”

Checking out the logs, I see a build command that failed:

2019-03-28T13:51:03.779-07:00| host-17464| I125: Invoking modinfo on "vmnet".
2019-03-28T13:51:03.781-07:00| host-17464| I125: "/sbin/modinfo" exited with status 256.
2019-03-28T13:51:03.833-07:00| host-17464| I125: Setting destination path for vmmon to "/lib/modules/5.0.3-200.fc29.x86_64/misc/vmmon.ko".
2019-03-28T13:51:03.833-07:00| host-17464| I125: Extracting the vmmon source from "/usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/vmmon.tar".
2019-03-28T13:51:03.839-07:00| host-17464| I125: Successfully extracted the vmmon source.
2019-03-28T13:51:03.839-07:00| host-17464| I125: Building module with command "/usr/bin/make -j12 -C /tmp/modconfig-PG76zy/vmmon-only auto-build HEADER_DIR=/lib/modules/5.0.3-200.fc29.x86_64/build/include CC=/usr/bin/gcc IS_GCC_3=no"
2019-03-28T13:51:05.179-07:00| host-17464| W115: Failed to build vmmon.  Failed to execute the build command.
2019-03-28T13:51:05.181-07:00| host-17464| I125: Setting destination path for vmnet to "/lib/modules/5.0.3-200.fc29.x86_64/misc/vmnet.ko".
2019-03-28T13:51:05.181-07:00| host-17464| I125: Extracting the vmnet source from "/usr/lib/vmware/modules/source/vmnet.tar".
2019-03-28T13:51:05.185-07:00| host-17464| I125: Successfully extracted the vmnet source.
2019-03-28T13:51:05.185-07:00| host-17464| I125: Building module with command "/usr/bin/make -j12 -C /tmp/modconfig-PG76zy/vmnet-only auto-build HEADER_DIR=/lib/modules/5.0.3-200.fc29.x86_64/build/include CC=/usr/bin/gcc IS_GCC_3=no"
2019-03-28T13:51:06.597-07:00| host-17464| W115: Failed to build vmnet.  Failed to execute the build command.

I see two other log files:

total 44
-rw-------. 1 root root 16669 Mar 28 13:51 vmware-17464.log
-rw-------. 1 root root 16555 Mar 28 13:50 vmware-apploader-17464.log
-rw-r-----. 1 root root  2792 Mar 28 13:51 vmware-authdlauncher-20116.log

The apploader log file didn’t appear to have anything of note in it. The authdlauncher… I wasn’t so sure:

2019-03-28T13:51:10.246-07:00| authdlauncher| I125: SOCKET 1 (12) creating new listening socket on port 902
2019-03-28T13:51:10.246-07:00| authdlauncher| W115: SOCKET Could not bind socket, error 98: Address already in use
2019-03-28T13:51:10.246-07:00| authdlauncher| I125: SOCKET Could not create IPv6 listener socket, error 11: Socket bind address already in use
2019-03-28T13:51:10.246-07:00| authdlauncher| I125: SOCKET 2 (12) creating new listening socket on port 902
2019-03-28T13:51:10.246-07:00| authdlauncher| W115: SOCKET Could not bind socket, error 98: Address already in use
2019-03-28T13:51:10.246-07:00| authdlauncher| I125: SOCKET Could not create IPv4 listener socket, error 11: Socket bind address already in use
2019-03-28T13:51:10.246-07:00| authdlauncher| I125: failed to listen on port 902, error 11: Resource temporarily unavailable... Exiting.

Hmm, indeed something is listening on port 902 that looks like VMware:

# sudo lsof -i -P -n | grep 902
vmware-au  1556    root   12u  IPv6  28200      0t0  TCP *:902 (LISTEN)
vmware-au  1556    root   13u  IPv4  28201      0t0  TCP *:902 (LISTEN)

I have my doubts that this is the ultimate problem, but I figured I’d HUP those suckers and see what happens. Of course, that didn’t do anything worthwhile. The processes listening on port 902 are left up and running after the failed installation, not idling there as the cause of the failure.

After tooling around with untaring the kmod and making it by hand, I saw enough errors that made me think there was a serious lack of… something on my install. This just didn’t seem right. As a result, I gave up and Googled, which brought me to this: https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/58533?lang=en_US

The short story to that long thread is that you should uninstall VMware Workstation, make sure that you have the proper prerequisite packages installed, then re-install VMware Workstation. In my case, that did absolutely nothing and I still had the same issue.

A bit more searching and I found this thread from 2017 that seems to have about a year of activity on it: https://communities.vmware.com/thread/568089. Apparently this is a fairly common issue that doesn’t have a very elegant solution. Basically, VMware Workstation’s latest version doesn’t support the kernel that I updated to, and I had to patch it. I blindly followed repomon‘s Apr 4, 2018 7:16 PM post, even though it was for VMware Workstation 12. Of course, that didn’t work well because it ended up compiling for an older version of vmmon and vmnet than what I had previously.

Some more Googling brought me to this SuperUser post: https://superuser.com/questions/1328401/vmware-workstation-vmmon-broken-on-ubuntu-18-04/1330890. Using that as inspiration, I realized that GitHub user mkubecek appears to be keeping up to date with the latest versions of VMware Workstation and Player products and creating appropriate patches to help work through this issue.

The specific script / solution I came to is described in the “My Solution” section above.

9 Replies to “Solved: VMware Workstation 15 Fails to Compile Kernel Modules with “Failed to build vmmon” and “Failed to build vmnet.””

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *