Jan 25, 2006
Virtual machines are memory hogs. Remember, it is pretending to be a computer with an entire operating system loaded into memory.
The Browser Appliance is set to use 256MB of RAM by default. If you don't have at least twice that amount of memory in your computer, you will need to reduce the memory setting.
You can change the amount of memory it uses by clicking on the "Player" button, at the top of the window, and going to the "Troubleshooting" menu. Click on the option to "Change Memory Allocation...". There is a slider where you can change the setting. Follow the recommendations it gives you.
Of course, if you don't have 256MB of RAM to start with, you won't be able to run the Browser Appliance at all. There is a way around that.
You can open the configuration file (called Browser-Appliance.vmx) in Notepad to adjust the memory. The line you want to change is memsize = "256". Whatever number you put there must be a multiple of "4" and cannot be lower than "32".
I would suggest setting it to no higher than half the amount of memory installed in your computer. There is no performance gain to be had by increasing the memory setting beyond 256MB, so don't waste the RAM.
I'm not sure why VMware did this, but they installed an older version of Firefox as the default, while also installing the newer version. Let's fix that.
Right-click on the Firefox icon on the top bar, then click on "Properties". Delete (v1.0.7) from the name. Where it says "Command:", change it to /opt/bin/firefox %u. Now you will be using the more up-to-date version of Firefox, when you click that icon.
There is still more to do.
Click the "System" button, go to "Preferences" and click on "Sessions". Click the tab labeled "Startup Programs".
If you want the newer version of Firefox to load when the system starts, highlight the entry that says "/usr/bin/firefox" and click the "Edit" button. Change the Startup Command to /opt/bin/firefox.
If you prefer that no browser window pops up when you restart, highlight the same entry and click the "Delete" button.
Now, you need to set the newer Firefox to be the default browser. Go back to "System" > "Preferences". Click the entry for "Preferred Applications". On the "Web Browser" tab, click the button for "Custom". Change that to /opt/bin/firefox %s and click the "Close" button.
Whoever created the Browser Appliance installed both copies of Firefox as "root". This means that you, running as a regular user, will be unable to update it. Whoops!
I don't know if that was done on purpose or if it was just an accident. Either way, it is easy to fix. You have to log in as root and change ownership of the Firefox folders.
Click on "Applications", go to "Accessories" and click on "Terminal". A shell window will open. Type the following:
sudo su -
When it asks for a password, type in vmware.
Now, type this - in EXACTLY the same way I have it:
chown -R vmware:vmware /opt/lib/
Once that is done, type this:
chown root:root /opt/lib/
Now, close that window. You don't want to keep open anything that has root-level permissions, unless you know exactly what you are doing.
You are now the proud "owner" of both the old and new copies of Firefox. You can update it to your heart's content. You also can mess it up now, which may be the reason they installed it as root in the first place. Be careful.
If there is a new version of Firefox and it opens an installer, tell it to install in "/home/vmware/bin/firefox/". That will avoid any future permission issues. If you do this, refer to the section above called "Changing the Default Browser" to configure the Browser Appliance to use the new version as the default. Where I say to type /opt/bin/firefox in that section, instead you should type /home/vmware/bin/firefox/firefox.
If the installer insists on installing Firefox in the /opt/lib/ folder, you may run into permission issues again. You will have to change ownership of that folder temporarily. Just follow the directions above to do that.
After you have made all the changes to the Browser Appliance that you intend to make, you can set it to discard any changes made in the future.
If the Browser Appliance is running, turn it off - ALL THE WAY OFF. On the taskbar, at the top, click on "System", then "Log Out". Choose the option to shut off the computer and wait for the player window to close itself.
Open the Browser-Appliance.vmx file in Notepad. Add these three lines to it somewhere and save.
scsi0:0.mode = "independent-nonpersistent"
snapshot.action = "autoRevert"
snapshot.disabled = "TRUE"
Once you do this, any changes made to the Browser Appliance will be discarded when you turn it off. To test that it is working properly, put a file on the desktop, turn off Ubuntu from the log out command, then turn it back on. If the file is gone, you have set it up correctly to discard changes. This works only when you tell Ubuntu to shut down, not if you tell it to suspend or reboot.
You need to make one more change. VMware strongly discourages suspending a virtual machine that is set to discard changes. I am not sure why but I won't argue with them.
Click the "Player" button on the VM Player window and click on "Preferences". Under "Close Behavior", click the button next to "Power off the virtual machine". That will make it turn off Ubuntu when you click the X button on the VM Player.
If ever you need to disable this feature, add a pound symbol (#) to the beginning of each of those three lines you added and save the file. Remember, the Browser Appliance MUST be turned off before you edit the .vmx file.
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