Installing Ubuntu Server in VMware Fusion Tech Preview during Bad Kernel Week

 4 months ago
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Follow-up to https://communities.vmware.com/t5/Fusion-for-Apple-Silicon-Tech/Unable-to-launch-a-VM-after-fresh-install-with-latest-technology/m-p/2900760# and related threads.

Regarding new installs, I tried something dastardly.


  1. from https://ubuntu.com/download/server/arm download 20.04.4 LTS.

  2. Make the new VM as usual, EXCEPT say that you want to change the VM settings. The settings dialog will appear. Disconnect the networking adapter.

  3. Continue with the installation. The cloud-init step will take a while then continue. Some installation screens will be missing. The install itself will be deceptively[1] quick.

  4. Reboot when instructed. The boot sequence will get stuck consulting the network. Go into the settings and turn the networking adapter back on.

  5. The startup will continue and you should land on the login prompt.

  6. Since we disallowed initial installation a lot of other packages, not just a newer kernel, you will almost certainly need to do the typical apt update and maybe even apt upgrade, if that's how you roll, which will eventually install a newer kernel. But now you'll have the original one too. Use that original one when you next boot, via the boot loader menu. That kernel is

$ uname -a
Linux confusion 5.4.0-100-generic #113-Ubuntu SMP Thu Feb 3 18:44:51 UTC 2022 aarch64 aarch64 aarch64 GNU/Linux

[1] "deceptively" meaning it'll be so fast it'll appear it didn't do enough to work.


This works, ironically, because Live CD ISOs are not being altered to have newer kernels; Canonical is relying on network updates during installation to handle that. And we are denying updates.

FAQ (or, rather, Frequently Imagined Questions)

Could this break in the future?

Yes. Canonical could decide to update the ISOs we are downloading.

Will this work for 21.10 too?

Yes. With the above caveat.

This has no desktop environment!

That's not a question.

You can get a desktop:

sudo apt install tasksel
sudo tasksel
# (select a desktop)
sudo reboot

The Ubuntu desktop item looks like it's GNOME.

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