VMware Fusion 11.5.2

Originally published at: https://tidbits.com/watchlist/vmware-fusion-11-5-2/

Brings bug fixes and important security patches to the standard and Pro editions of the virtualization package. ($79.99/$159.99 new, free update, 519 MB)

VMware does a terrible job of specifying exactly their system requirements in each release. They often have combinations of hardware dates and OS version requirements, which can in itself be an interesting matrix to navigate. But then comes this odd mix of uncertainty:

  1. VMware Fusion 11.5.0 Release Notes specifies minimum hardware requirements from 2011 forward (with a couple of exceptions) AND MacOS 10.13 High Sierra or newer.

  2. VMware Fusion 11.5.1 Release Notes makes no mention of minimum system requirements.

  3. VMware Fusion 11.5.2 Release Notes makes no mention of minimum system requirements, BUT under “Resolved Issues,” it says:

“The VMware Tools kernel extensions can’t be launched on a virtual machine with older macOS versions.** In a virtual machine running macOS version 10.9 to 10.12, after installing VMware Tools, it’s kernel extensions cannot be launched. As a result, VMware Tools functionality is limited. This issue is now resolved.”

Ignoring the grammar errors and misinterpretation that might provide, does that mean that minimum system requirements are MacOS 10.9 or newer?

I have been a loyal user of this software for years, but their obtuseness in this area is beyond confounding, especially for my “Late 2011” refurbished in 2012 hardware running MacOS 10.2. I have no clue whether I should stay with version 11.1.1 or “upgrade” to 11.5.1.

I wonder if VMware makes a distinction between “supported” (newer macOS versions) and “might work” (older macOS versions). Your best bet would probably be to open a support ticket with them or post in their forums (and report back here!).

I don’t use VMWare Fusion myself, but I believe that the references to:

In a virtual machine running macOS version 10.9 to 10.12, after installing VMware Tools, it’s kernel extensions cannot be launched. As a result, VMware Tools functionality is limited. This issue is now resolved.

They are talking about the guest virtual machine, not the actual version that you are running on your hardware. In other words, you need High Sierra or later to install VMWare on your system, but you can install El Capitan as a guest virtual machine, just like you can install Windows 7 as a guest virtual machine.

Acknowledged and agreed. My issue is that it should not be that difficult to determine what they really meant. It took me a while to parse their wording to get there as well.

Thank you, Adam. I was able to deduce the answer after considerable thought and actually trying the newer version on my system (no, it did not work, even though the new version did NOT have the universal “no” slashed circle symbol superimposed on it).

My point was just that I wish they could be more clear and user-oriented in their approach. They have other issues as well. Their most recent versions require the user to type commands in Terminal to the downloaded disk image file in order to make it work. I DID open a ticket for that and got the technical response back, but why should regular users have to go through that process? They said it was Apple’s sandbox issue, but have you ever had a downloaded disk image installer that would not work right out of the box without modifying the downloaded disk image file first? Here’s the sample code that they gave me for an older version:

 xattr -l ~/Downloads/VMware-Fusion-11.1.1-14328561.dmg
 xattr -dr com.apple.quarantine ~/Downloads/VMware-Fusion-11.1.1-14328561.dmg

Really! They expected all of their customers to do that just to open and install a new version!

I haven’t used Fusion in ages, but my experience is that Parallels doesn’t require such fussing.

That’s odd. I hadn’t run into that issue with VMWare or any other .dmg files. I’m still running Mojave, and in some cases Sierra on my set of computers though.

Are you by any chance running macOS Catalina? A quick google search (“macos catalina xattr -dr”) reveals that there was a change to the downloaded app quarantine process in Catalina which caused (is causing) a lot of headaches with some files, especially if you’ve upgraded from an older version of macOS. The workaround is to use the xattr command that VMWare gave you. So, it’s really not their fault in this case.

I wasn’t aware of this issue, so TIL something new to watch out for when I eventually have to deal with Catalina at work (I’m a sysadmin for a school district). Guess I better fire up a Catalina VM and test a few installers…

I’m still running MacOS 10.12.6, Sierra!