Though Gentoo Linux is my main operating system, there are still a handful of Windows apps that I need to run in my day-to-day business operations. I’ve been using VMware Workstation to take care of these for quite some time. Over the years VMware has really matured and I’ve generally been quite happy with it. I’ve been able to do almost anything I needed to in Windows on VMware as opposed to Windows on a physical workstation.
With VMware Workstation version 7 coming out not long ago, I was excited to see improved 3D graphics support. I installed the updated version on my desktop system running Nvidia graphics and things loaded up without a hitch. When it came to my laptop running an Intel GMA 4500MHD graphics adapter however, things weren’t quite so seamless. I fired up my Windows 7 virtual machine in VMware Workstation for the first time and got a disappointing message: 3D Acceleration will be disabled along with something to the effect of having a video card that didn’t fully support OpenGL.
Since one, I don’t like error messages and two, I don’t like the idea of decreased functionality in my workstations, I started out on my quest to fix this. The first stop was the VMware logs (found in the folder that contains your virtual machine). On looking through the log files, I noticed some various OpenGL extensions that were flagged as missing. One in particular stood out as it was flagged as required: mks| GLUtil_InstallExtensionLists: Missing required extension GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc. A little research showed that this particular extension, S3TC, is not included in Mesa as in some locales it may infringe on software patents. Most of the time, it is not required as most newer games, etc. use precompressed textures with hardware decompression. VMware however checks for this one as it is apparently a prerequisite for DirectX.
To get around this, I installed driconf which allows you to set visual and performance quality settings on OpenGL drivers. On the “Image Quality” tab in driconf, I clicked to “enable S3TC texture compression even if software support is not available.” The long and the short of it is that this will allow support for the S3TC extension to be reported to VMware even if the external third party library is not installed on your system. VMware sees this and then allows 3D acceleration to be enabled.
There is source code for the third party S3TC library available and a Gentoo ebuild for it should be hitting my overlay shortly. It will be found under dev-libs/libtxc_dxtn.
The Stormfront overlay can be added through layman and can also be found here: http://code.google.com/p/stormfront/