Running VMWare Tools on boot in Arch Linux

Lately I’ve been playing around with Arch Linux in VMWare Player and after having a lot of issues with the VMWare Tools, with getting them to work and then having to manually start them at each reboot, I came up with this solution to have them run at boot:

Create a systemd service which handles the autostart of VMWare tools with nano, using the following code in terminal:

$ nano /etc/systemd/system/vmwaretools.service

Add the following text to the service when nano is started.

[Unit]
Description=VMWare Tools Service
After=network.target

[Service]
Type=simple
Group=wheels
ExecStart=/etc/init.d/rc6.d/KM99vmware-tools start

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Press CTRL+X to exit nano and Y when asked to save the file.

Now we have created a script that can handle start the VMWare Tools service and be started by systemd. As of yet it’s not going to start at boot, but can be started manually by using systemctl.

To have it start at boot write the following in the terminal:
# systemctl enable vmwaretools.service

Now we have enabled the service on boot and next time you reboot your virtual machine, you will have the VMWare Tools running.

I’m in no way saying this is the best way to do it, but it’s the method that worked for me and I now have full use of the VMWare Tools. If anyone have a better solution to this, please feel free to add it in the comments.

Next up, a full guide to installing Arch Linux with a working Gnome Desktop Environment in VMWare Player.

Update:

So after looking around I actually found the wiki page that covered this a lot better than my hack solution and thus the script is changed to:

$ nano /etc/systemd/system/vmwaretools.service

Add the following text to the service when nano is started.

[Unit]
Description=VMWare Tools daemon

[Service]
ExecStart=/etc/init.d/vmware start
ExecStop=/etc/init.d/vmware stop
PIDFile=/var/lock/subsys/vmware
TimeoutSec=0
RemainAfterExit=yes

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

This works perfectly and is a lot nicer looking than mine. I can also recommend using this part on the Wiki to manage the modules after kernel changes.

Europa Universalis IV: Prelude to AARs

As I’ve written on my Google+ profile I’m going to start publishing a series of AARs (After Action Reports) from Europa Universalis IV, but before we get so far I’m going to write a bit about the mods I’m going to use. I’ve also posted a bit about this on Google+:

Before we start with the first update in the Makassar AAR for Europa Universalis IV, I’m going to say that I play with two different mods enabled. Both of these mods does nothing to the checksum, which means that Ironman mode is still possible.

I’m downloading the mods directly from the Paradox forum, as I’m having issues with getting mods installed correctly using the Steam Workshop. I like the fact that they auto update when subscribing that way, but having to start the actual game before the workshop actually downloads the mod is not as convenient as downloading it and then simply unpacking it.

Better UI Mod:
Forum: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?724562-Better-UI-Mod
Steam Workshop: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=179363162

This mod does the following:

  • General adjustment of text and icon positions to better fit the Verdana fonts.
  • A new topbar to account for a better agents display
  • Bigger diplomacy views adapted to the new Verdana fonts
  • Verdana12b fonts in main windows, plus other Verdana font sizes as per the BetterFont mod.

This makes it a lot easier to read tooltips and other information on the screen during game play and extends the diplomacy view, so you don’t have to scroll all the time.

Flag Improvements Package:
Forum: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/showthread.php?712732-%28MOD%29-Flag-Improvements-Package!

This mod adds a filter to the flags and makes them look a bit older and more historical. I’m using the version of this mod released by the user King of Romania, that you can find here.

If you want to see the difference between the flags, you can see the version with and without the mod here:

The mod is originally made simply to copy into the game directory, but it is very easy to change into a mod, so you don’t have to do anything to the game files. If you want to make the .mod file for getting this to work yourself, to maybe get a better idea of how mods actually work, just follow these steps:

  • Extract the files.
  • Enter the ‘Less Grungy Flags’ folder.
  • Create a new folder called ‘gfx’.
  • Enter the newly created ‘gfx’ folder and create a new folder called ‘flags’ inside it.
  • Copy all the flags from the ‘Less Grungy Flags’ folder into the ‘flags’ folder.
  • Exit the ‘Less Grungy Flags’ folder and create a file called ‘Less Grungy Flags.mod’.
  • Open the ‘Less Grungy Flags.mod’ file with Notepad++ or another text editor of your choice.
  • Copy the following into the file:
    name="Less Grungy Flags 1.2"
    path="mod/Less Grungy Flags"
  • Save the file.
  • Copy the ‘Less Grungy Flags’ folder and the ‘Less Grungy Flags.mod’ to your ‘\Documents\Paradox Interactive\Europa Universalis IV\mod\’ folder.

It might look like a lot, but it’s rather easy to do. Now that we’ve established what mods that are being used, we’re about ready to start.

HTPC with SteamOS instead of OpenELEC?

A few weeks back Steam announced that they are releasing their own living room PCs, called Steam Machines, which essentially is a Steam endorsed PC running their own Linux-based OS, called SteamOS.

After reading more about the OS and Steam Machines in general, I’m thinking of looking into turning my nice old HTPC, a Shuttle XS35GT currently working as an XBMC powered Media Center, through OpenELEC, into a Steam Machine. The Shuttle is not really a beast in the regards of hardware and in general seemed to have problems running 1080p videos through Windows 8, but is running perfectly fine with OpenELEC. However I have quite a few games on Steam that would work perfectly on the big screen and don’t require too much power from the computer.

Also I already have an Xbox, but I don’t really use it, so my controllers could work perfectly with the HTPC in this regard and I could actually just take down the Xbox (as soon as GTA V is released on PC that is) and get a bit more room in the living room.

Currently I own the following games with full controller support (which I could consider playing on the television instead of at the computer):

I have a lot more with full controller support, but I doubt those can be run on my HTPC and a lot more with partial controller support which I don’t want to list at the moment, because it’s rather tedious. The above list does show however, that I have plenty of games that could be fun on the television. I do know that there is also a streaming feature, where my desktop would do all the hard work, but as I don’t know how well that’ll work, I’ll leave that out until I get my hands on SteamOS.

There is however one caveat that I need fulfilled before I can do the swap and that is the Media Center capabilities of SteamOS. As none of us has seen the OS yet, it’s hard to say anything about, but looking at the following two parts from the SteamOS page, there is hope that it might be able to do what I want:

Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. With SteamOS, “openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.

This I take as there is a possibility to run XBMC on SteamOS, either alongside it as a dual-boot option, or possibly straight inside SteamOS. The reason that I think the latter might be possible, is that SteamOS is built on the Ubuntu/Debian kernel and as such XBMC should be able to run there without problems.

We’re working with many of the media services you know and love. Soon we will begin bringing them online, allowing you to access your favorite music and video with Steam and SteamOS.

The second quote I see as they’re working with content providers like YouTube!, NetFlix, Hulu+, Spotify etc. to have integrated apps running in SteamOS. Currently one of the big problems with a clean XBMC install through OpenELEC, is that it’s simply not possible to run NetFlix due to DRM issues. I do however think, that the future for Linux based gaming and media center solutions, is starting to look up after Steam has announced that their rolling into peoples living rooms.

I don’t plan on getting rid of my desktop computer, as so many games are better played there, but as a supplement to it I think that SteamOS is the future for my old HTPC.

Thoughts about upgrading my computer

Lately I’ve been thinking about upgrading my computer. Not really because it runs bad or anything, as the past few upgrades I’ve made has been solid and sound. However, I’ve been looking into getting more RAM and after acquiring myself a USB3 external hard drive, I have to get myself a motherboard that actually support this.

This means however, that I run into a problem. As I currently have a 1st generation Intel Core i7 processor, the i7 920, I’m locked into the LGA1366 socket, which really limit my choices of upgrading the motherboard. To future proof my desktop computer a bit more, I think that I have to replace my old CPU and move away from the Bloomfield architecture and over to one of the newer iterations of the Intel i family. Currently for me, it’s kind of a toss up between the Core i7-4770K or the i5-4670K of the Haswell architecture. I used to do loads of programming on the computer, but as it’s turning more and more into a gaming computer, I think I’ll stick with the i5-4670K though.

This is my current setup:

PCPartPicker part list

CPU: Intel Core i7-920 2.66Ghz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Cooler Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Intel DX58SO ATX LGA1366 Motherboard
Memory: OCZ Gold 6GB (3 x 2GB) DDR3-2000 Memory
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5″ Solid State Disk
Storage:[ Seagate Barracuda 320GB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F1 DT 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card
Case: Corsair 550D ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
Optical Drive: Samsung SH-224DB/RSBS DVD/CD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)
Monitor: Samsung 2333T 23.0″ Monitor
Keyboard: Logitech G15 Wired Standard Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech G500 Wired Laser Mouse
Headphones: SteelSeries Siberia v2 Headset

(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-14 06:22 EDT-0400)

As you can see, it’s a decent computer, but as mentioned before, I have problems with choosing hardware for upgrading, due to my current processor being socket LGA1366. This means that if I really want to buy a Core i5-4670K, I have to get a motherboard that is socket LGA1150, which would also mean that I have plenty of options for upgrading hardware from there on. After all the current i7 920 have served me faithfully for almost 5 years and I’ve had nothing but good times with it, so I think going with a new i5-4670K will give me at least 5 more years of nice gaming, good graphics and all that.

While doing this upgrade, I would also like to swap my optical drive, from a DVD-Writer to a BluRay-Writer and also swap out my old Logitech G15 with a better keyboard.

All this said and done, I’m now looking more at a setup like this:

PCPartPicker part list

CPU: Intel Core i5-4670K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 82.9 CFM Sleeve Bearing CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H ATX LGA1150 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory
Storage: Samsung 830 Series 128GB 2.5″ Solid State Disk
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 320GB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint F1 DT 1TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: XFX Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB Video Card
Case: Corsair 550D ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: Corsair Enthusiast 650W 80 PLUS Bronze Certified ATX12V / EPS12V Power Supply
Optical Drive: Asus BW-14D1XT Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)
Monitor: Samsung 2333T 23.0″ Monitor
Keyboard: Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Elite Wired Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech G500 Wired Laser Mouse
Headphones: SteelSeries Siberia v2 Headset

(Generated by PCPartPicker 2013-10-14 06:48 EDT-0400)

With this solution I would have achieved all the things I wanted. A better processor and a better motherboard, with which I have to option to actually use the full power of my SSD, more RAM and as an added bonus a new keyboard and a BluRay-drive.

All this would set me back around DKK 4.400 or around $800. I know it’s a lot of money and I know that you don’t need hardware that good, but I like future proofing and then not having to think about it for years to come. After all, my rig still play most games I play on full power.

Lastly as you can see I’ve been using the great website PCPartPicker to show off my builds and such, but I’ve stripped off all the parts that show how much the items cost. Mainly because the prices in either pounds or dollars is irrelevant for me here in Denmark, but also because it simply looks better when formatted on this site.

Also, if you feel like building your own computer and harvest the savings (results may vary), and the feeling of accomplishment it is to build your own computer, don’t hesitate to visit the great people at /r/buildapc on reddit, as they are a great community who won’t hesitate to help you to the best of their knowledge.

When I actually decide to do this upgrade, I’ll let you know. I wonder what’ll be next, I think something about cable management. Until then, enjoy some of these nice cable management pictures!

A slight delay

A short update on the migration progress of the forum.

I’ve decided to keep it on hold for a while, as I have some things that I need to figure out completely first before I’ll commence with the migration.

At the moment I’m spending a lot of time looking into how I can make a manual migration of attachments and pictures and such, as I really don’t want to miss out on getting these with us.

Therefore I’ll be back later with more information on this process.