I have been using Ubuntu Server to host many of my projects here at home; everything from my media servers, testing systems and web/blog site. I have install the VMware tools in the past and ran into issues or just found them to break. At best I just need the minimal the tools offer, and this is where the opensource tools play a good substitution. Best of all, they are supported by VMware.
So all you need to do is use apt-get and your done. Here are my steps.
apt-get update && apt-get install --no-install-recommends linux-headers-virtual open-vm-dkms open-vm-tools -y
The “–no-install-recommends” disables the selection of all the X components; We wouldn’t want a desktop environment to be installed.
What are some of the things provideded with this? Well this package provides the vmxnet hardware, as well as the majority of the other VMware Tools functionality (Shutdown, Restart etc).