Solving the VMWare workstation modules won’t compile issue

Having recently run into the issue wherein the VMware vmmon and vmnet modules “cannot be installed” in my linux workstation post-kernel update, I’ve come to find that there is a workable solution. Knowing in advance that I am going to have to re-do this every time a kernel update occurs, I finally decided to document the process for myself, lest I lose the links and tracking the whole procedure becomes frustrating once more.

First things first: The solution’s credit is owed to Michal Kubecek for his outstanding work on the code to correct what VMware cannot (or will not) in their install procedures. His VMWare-Host-Modules GitHub Repository is the source of much joy for this user. In fact, that code is how I can actually solve the problems I have experienced.

So now, for the solution or as those who can remember (and will likely enjoy):

Step One: The Larch

Yes, it does recall a time when men were men and sailed the seven seas in search of … err, sorry, that’s next week’s sketch.

The first thing to do is to go ahead and clone the repository for the vmware-host-modules to your local machine:

git clone

NOTE: This is the main branch of the repository, and as such, we don’t want to use this for compiling the actual modules themselves as our intrepid developer and author himself has advised us not to do so:

Branch “master” cannot be used to build modules, it contains only common

files so that changes in them can be merged into all other branches easily.

To get actual sources, checkout a “real” branch, e.g.
git checkout workstation-$yourWorkstationVersion

This correlates to VMware worstation 16.2.1 at present for me, so

git checkout workstation-16.2.1

After doing this, I need to ensure that I have the latest code so:

git pull

That does the trick, then it is a matter of ensuring that bison and flex are installed for building the modules on the system:

sudo apt install bison flex

Then all I need to do is the standard build procedure for the mdules: make, then sudo make install.

Once all that is done, my VMware Workstation should work again. If I could walk that way… that will have to wait for the next segment. Thus, we’ve come to the end of this week’s episode. You can expect more about the seafaring men of lore that sailed in longships to shores afar when we meet again.

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