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VMware support for Open VM Tools (2073803)

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This article provides information about the benefits, contents, availability and VMware support for Open VM Tools.



The primary purpose for Open VM Tools (OVT) is to enable operating system vendors and/or communities and virtual appliance vendors to bundle VMware Tools into their product releases. OVT is the open source implementation of VMware Tools and consists of a suite of virtualization utilities that improves the functionality, administration, and management of virtual machines within a VMware environment. 

The benefits of bundling OVT are:
  • End users get the best out-of-box experience to efficiently deploy virtual machines on VMware virtual infrastructure.
  • Eliminates the need to separately install VMware Tools when OVT is bundled with the operating system because OVT is a fully-supported open source implementation of VMware Tools.
  • Reduces operational expenses and virtual machine downtime, because updates to OVT packages are provided with operating system maintenance updates and patches. This eliminates separate maintenance cycles for VMware Tools updates.
  • No compatibility matrix check is required for OVT. Adhering to the VMware Compatibility Matrix for the guest OS release is sufficient.
  • OVT bundled with the operating system provides a compact footprint optimized for each OS release.

    Note: To allow customization of Linux virtual machines with OVT version lower than 9.10, the deployPkg plug-in needs to be installed. For more information, see  Installing the deployPkg plug-in in a Linux virtual machine with Open VM Tools version lower than 9.10 (2075048).


OVT consists of these packages:
  • open-vm-tools package

    This package contains the core OVT user-space programs and libraries, including vmtoolsd. These features are enabled by this package:
    • Synchronization of the guest OS clock with the virtualization platform
    • Enables the virtual infrastructure to perform graceful power operations (shut down) and file system quiescing of the virtual machine
    • Provides a heartbeat from guest to the virtualization infrastructure to support vSphere High Availability (HA)
    • Publishes information about the guest OS to the virtualization platform, including resource utilization and networking information
    • Provides a secure and authenticated mechanism to perform various operations within the guest OS from the virtualization infrastructure
    • Accepts additional plug-ins that can extend or customize OVT functionality

  • open-vm-tools-desktop package

    This optional package extends OVT with additional user-space programs and libraries to improve the interactive functionality of virtual machines. This package depends on X and therefore must be installed only when X is available. These features are enabled by this package:
    • Enables resizing of the guest display to match host console window or the VMware Remote Console Window for vSphere
    • Enables text copy and paste operation between host and guest UI (either direction)
    • Enables drag and drop operation between guest and host (either direction) for the VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion products (not supported on vSphere)

  • open-vm-tools-devel package

    This optional package extends OVT with additional user-space libraries for use in developing applications using open-vm-tools. The package contains:
    • Libraries for developing vmtoolsd plug-ins
    • Documentation for the libraries

  • open-vm-tools-debuginfo package

    This optional package contains additional binaries and source code for debugging OVT.


Operating system vendors or communities and virtual appliance vendors can obtain the source code for OVT at

End users obtain OVT redistributed by operating system vendors and communities or within virtual appliances. Integration of OVT with operating system releases vary. The highest level of integration includes OVT on the OS media and is installed by default during OS installation. In other cases, OVT is included on the OS media but is not installed by default, unless specifically specified during installation. In addition, some operating systems provides OVT through the use of online repositories and can be installed using the operating system package manager following installation.

 OVT is available with these operating systems:
  • Fedora 19 and later releases
  • Debian 7.x and later releases
  • openSUSE 11.x and later releases
  • Recent Ubuntu releases (12.04 LTS, 13.10 and later)
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.0 and later releases
  • CentOS 7.0  and later releases
  • Oracle Linux 7.0 and later releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 SP4, 12 and later releases

VMware support policy

  • VMware recommends using OVT redistributed by operating system vendors.
  • VMware fully supports virtual machines that include OVT redistributed by operating system vendors, which is done in collaboration with the OS vendor and OS communities. However, the operating system release must be published as certified by the specific VMware product in the online VMware Compatibility Guide.
  • VMware provides assistance to operating system vendors and communities with the integration of open-vm-tools with OS releases.
  • VMware fully supports virtual appliances that include OVT , which is done in collaboration with the virtual appliance vendor.
  • VMware does not recommend removing OVT redistributed by operating system vendors.

Frequently asked questions

  • How do I install OVT in an operating system?

    Follow installation guidance from the OS vendor for a specific release, For more information, see Guest Operating System Installation Guide.

    For information on OSPs, see VMware Tools Operating System Specific Packages.
  • How do I update OVT?

    Updates of OVT are distributed with operating system updates and patches, as well as updates to virtual appliances.

  • I'm using an older operating system release that includes an older version of OVT. Is this a problem?

    If the operating system release is published as certified by the specific VMware product in the online VMware Compatibility Guide, the configuration is supported.

  • Do I need a specific version of OVT for a specific VMware product?

    No. Each version of OVT is compatible with multiple past and future versions of VMware products. Adhering to the compatibility matrix for the guest OS release is sufficient.

  • A virtual machine with OVT displays Guest managed or 3rdParty/unmanaged in vSphere Client. What does this mean?

    This means that vCenter Server cannot be used to install upgrades of OVT software in that virtual machine. Instead, you should manage the installation and update of open-vm-tools from within each guest operating system using the native package manager, such as yum or apt. You should expect to get updates of OVT in sync with the installation of updates and patches in the guest operating system or the virtual appliance.

    The message Guest managed or 3rdParty/unmanaged does not imply a support status for open-vm-tools or the guest operating system. The support status of operating system releases is published in the VMware Compatibility Guide and open-vm-tools distributed by OS vendor and OS communities for use with certified operating system releases is fully supported by VMware.

    Note: 3rdParty/unmanaged does not change the support commitment by VMware on a specific environment, as long as OS-vendor supported open-vm-tools are used on an Operating System certified by VMware. For more information,  For more information, see  VMware Compatibility Guide.

  • Why does the operating system not include OVT?

    Redistribution and integration of OVT is done by operating system vendors and communities. Contact your OS vendor regarding the availability of open-vm-tools. If it is unavailable for your operating system, install VMware Tools distributed by VMware.

  • How often is OVT released?

     OVT is released in sync with each major/minor vSphere release and selected vSphere ESXi update and patch releases. Subscribe to this mailing list for announcements:

  • As an operating system or virtual appliance developer, how do I obtain help with integration of OVT?

    Support for operating system developers is provided through the mailing lists at or through the VMware TAP Portal.

  • As an operating system or virtual appliance developer, how do I log bugs or feature requests?

    You can log bugs and feature requests through the github site at:

See Also

Request a Product Feature

To request a new product feature or to provide feedback on a VMware product, please visit the Request a Product Feature page.


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  • 311 Ratings