VMWare Fusion is Streets ahead of Parallels: How to share files and folders between OS X and Kubuntu Linux

I’ve successfully switched from Parallels Desktop to VMWare Fusion and early impressions are very good.

picture-12Unlike Parallels…

  • VMWare Fusion doesn’t constantly grind the hard disk searching for ever more virtual memory
  • VMWare Fusion doesn’t take 10 minutes to launch and then crash the entire OS
  • VMWare Fusion doesn’t have an incomprehensible support site staffed by ignoramuses who pretend their own customers don’t exist just because they complained about a £30 obligatory upgrade for software they’ve already paid for twice before that still doesn’t work as promised

There’s also much better networking support in VMWare Fusion. I can now realistically use Linux to manage and work with files and folders on the Mac side and similarly use Mac OS to access the /home folder in Linux.

Previously, under Parallels, non of the shared networking types (Bridged, Shared or Host Only) allowed Samba to “see” either the host machine or the shared folders on the virtual machine. This was a major headache, as non of the Linux support forums I found seemed to suggest this was an outstanding issue with Linux, which only left Parallels as the source of the woes—and the less said about getting an answer from them about the problem the better. Suffice to say everything looked like it should be working, but it just wasn’t.

Under VMWare Fusion, however, the whole sharing process is fairly logical and painless—especially if you’ve set up a shared network before. The set-up examples given below assume your virtual machine is Kubuntu 4.10 and your OS X is 10.5 Leopard—but most any modern Linux distribution will have similar procedures and OS X 10.4 Tiger is similar also.

You will also need to install VMWare Tools for Linux, to enable folder sharing and negate the need to ‘activate’ the mouse when switching between OS X and Linux. Since this procedure is very similar to installing Parallels Tools for Linux, which I’ve already covered here before, we’ll assume you’ve already got the necessary add-ons installed. The process is very straight forward, even if you’ve never installed anything in Linux using the command prompt before—but if anyone does need a little hint, just leave a comment below.

    share
  • In Kubuntu open the ‘adept’ package manager from the K menu and search for ‘share’. This will show up, in the ‘Settings’ section, two or three packages. Install all of them (see screen-shot).
  • samba

  • In the System > Shared Folders control panel, which is now installed, click ‘Add’ and browse for the folder on your Linux partition you would like to share. Then right click on the folder you’ve just shared, choose Properties and make sure the permissions to access that folder are set Read and Write (see screen-shot).
Make sure Linux will allow you to Read and Write to and from the shared folders by setting the permissions correctly

Make sure Linux will allow you to Read and Write to and from the shared folders by setting the permissions correctly

oscsystem

  • In OS X open System Preferences > Sharing and make sure the ‘File Sharing’ service is turned on. Click ‘Options’ and check the box that says ‘Share Files and Folder using SMB’. You can add and set the sharing permissions for as many nested folders and hard drives as are on your OS X system.
  • You can now see the shared folders from the Linux side in Finder under the ‘Shared’ side-bar tab and in ‘Network’. You will need to enter the username and password for the account you are sharing, which you can add to your OS X Keychain.
  • To see your OS X shared folders in Kubuntu Linux, navigate to root/mnt/hgfs/. If you don’t see this path, you need to add shared folders using the Virtual Machine > Shared Folders > Add Shared Folders… menu in VMWare Fusion.

That’s it! You should now be able to see your Kubuntu shared folders in OS X and your OS X shared folders inside Linux applications and Dolphin navigation folders.

You can drag and drop the OS X shared locations inside the /root/mnt/hgfs/ path into the side-bar of KDE Dolphin for ease of access to your host machine and perform similar bookmarking of files and folders inside Open and Save dialogue boxes.

You may occasionally need to enter your OS X username and password to read from and write to certain files and folders, especially if you're sharing inside the User folder on the OS X side, such as the iPhoto library and iTunes Music folders.

You may occasionally need to enter your OS X username and password to read from and write to certain files and folders, especially if you're sharing inside the User folder on the OS X side, such as the iPhoto library and iTunes Music folders.

2 comments on “VMWare Fusion is Streets ahead of Parallels: How to share files and folders between OS X and Kubuntu Linux

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