Coding, Life/Work, Manic Innovation Challenge, Tools, Videos

Breaking new ground : An UBER Tool for the Mac

Screen Shot 2012-01-10 at 12.45.45 AMA few months ago I bought my first Mac. I had been a hardcore Windows workstation kind of guy. And being a C# coder in the late hours of the night it was all I needed. But, after seeing my former teammates (vSpecs) using their sexy Mac Books I finally made the switch. I picked up a Mac Book Air and from the minute I started using it, fell in love with everything about it.

Because of this switch I have come to learn the things that the Mac (and Lion) do really well with some things while Windows does better with others. For almost all of my UBER projects I use my beefy Windows workstation running VMware Workstation to setup my lab/dev environments.

But, recently I started trying to move over to my Mac and using VMware Fusion to build lab virtual machines for developing. And to my surprise I found that things in the Fusion world aren’t quite the same as for Workstation. Namely, the networking options are rather limited. By default you only get the choices of three networks 1) DHCP w/ NAT  2) DHCP and 3) Bridging to a physical interface. For me that meant that I couldn’t get a network without DHCP (important if you are testing it) or create multiple isolated networks like I could on Workstation.

So I went digging and found that at one point someone has written some slick scripts to allow for custom multi-network setup but it stopped being updated after Fusion 2. I also found that VMware has some KB articles on how to hack your way to adding networks. But neither was very easy to do or dealt with modifying the VM’s well.

So I decided to fill this gap myself. Over the Christmas holiday I worked furiously to make this and now I am proud to present the next UBER release and my first project in the Manic Innovation Challenge: UBER Network Fuser (UNF)

UNF is a native Mac OSX application supported on Snow Leopard and Lion that allows you to add additional networks to VMware Fusion, customize their settings, and easily change network selection for any Fusion VM’s. I designed it to be simple to use and be similiar to how VMware Workstation network editor works.

Screen Shot 2012-01-10 at 12.46.01 AMHere is the full feature list:

  1. Allows up to 10 additional custom networks (total of 12)
  2. You can enable/disable DHCP, NAT, virtual host adaptor on any network
  3. Protects and provides rollback of default Fusion settings
  4. Allows dynamic changes of network membership with Fusion VM’s
  5. You may alias networks with custom names (even Workstation doesn’t do this)
  6. Tested and confirmed that VLAN tagging works as expected within private networks
  7. Saves configuration per user (names, paths, etc)
  8. Integrates with Apple’s Security framework for elevated privileges when needed

 

I created a video to demonstrate how it works below:

And to download (free as always) use the link below:

Download UBER Network Fuser 1.0 – DMG for Snow Leopard & Lion (Updated link to new 1.701 version)

 

This is my first release in the Manic Innovation Challenge. It is written in Objective C & C and uses the Cocoa and Security frameworks. Challenge-wise it was definitely an experience learning and writing an app in Objective C in  few weeks. But, it was crazy fun and I have all kinds of cool ideas for the Mac now.

Also, this marks post #100 for me in the 2.3 years I have been running Nickapedia.com. Being that it is also my birthday I am considering today a good day.

As always please test and play with it and let me know with some comments below.

.nick

30 thoughts on “Breaking new ground : An UBER Tool for the Mac

  1. Seanjohns

    Outstanding sir… thank you very much.  I am hoping this will help me solve an issue with our home surveillance software that only works in XP but I could never get to work in fusion.  Slick install screen, looks great so far but I had immediate crash so will troubleshoot/reboot etc. Happy Birthday and thanks for giving us all a gift.

    • Anonymous

      There was a bug for OSX 10.6.* users

      Try the new update: http://nickapedia.com/2012/01/11/quick-update-unf-version-1-701/

  2. Dave P

    Nick I as the guy who write those scripts many years ago. Great to see a new take on the networking for Fusion. Thanks for the work.

  3. Chris C.

    Ha, I also spent some time recently writing exactly the same piece of software, you got a lot further than I did though!

  4. Chris C.

    I can’t copy the app out of the dmg, I get “The operation can’t be completed because you don’t have permission to access some of the items.”

  5. Kyle H

    Cool App. I would like to see the ability to modify the DHCP range for NAT connections.

    Looks like there is a bug that if you have the network editor open and have Default NAT selected and you have Fusion open, then you close Fusion the buttons for DHCP/NAT/Virtual Adapter become click-able.

  6. Kyle H

    another small issue, If I close the window using the red X in the top left corner it does not close the app, but it leaves me in a state where I need to close and reopen the app again to get the main window back up. You should be able to select Window > UBER Network Fuser after you click the red X so you can bring it back. That or just make it so when you click the red X it actually closes the application.

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  8. John

    This doesn’t seem to work with my Fusion 4.1.1.  It only seems to pick up VMs that have NOT been run under 4.1…my older 4.0 VMs can be modified by your program, but it doesn’t pick up the 4.1 VMs.  It also seems to screw up the default networking so badly that I’m going to have to reinstall Fusion in order to (hopefully) regain access to vnet1 & vnet8. None of my 4.1 VMs are able to access them anymore and complain they are not there when I try to run them.  I am running 10.7.2 on a Spring 2011 MBP, 16Gb Ram, 750Gb HD.  Thanks.

    • lynxbat

      John,

      This does work under 4.1.1 as I am using it now as well as some friends. If you look below you will see the requirements for the VM’s being Fusion only (not Workstation) and 4+ only,I am using <4 mo new Macbook Air running Lion running a complex multi-network setup without issue,Also, UNF doesn't touch the networking stack of Fusion, an OS reinstall would be pointless. It only modifies the network config and there is reset button for restoring to before UNF first touched it.Your comment history seems to be full of flaming problems with other software also. If this doesn't work for you – don't use it please.

      • John

         Ok…Just trying to help you out man.  Consider me told off.   Just to add to my post in case someone else runs into this issue…  the reset button doesn’t restore the network settings either, as I still have a ‘vnic0′ and ‘vnic1′ network device from the two Host-Only networks I tried to set up. Rebooting the MBP doesn’t clear them either.  Reinstall of Fusion does seem to return the default ‘vmnet1′ & ‘vmnet8′ network devices, so that is good.

      • lynxbat

        There should be a networking.bak or networking.bak.0 within HDD->Library->Preferences->VMware Fusion

        Could you paste it here. That was your backup file, if it didn’t restore it means it had post-change settings in it.

      • John

         Here’s my /Library/Perferences/VMware Fusion/networking.bak.0 file:
        VERSION=1,0
        answer VNET_1_DHCP yes
        answer VNET_1_DHCP_CFG_HASH RZVTSGDAEUD4MW2AB7EV6E6RC622HN1IKQBGXIMI
        answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_NETMASK 255.255.255.0
        answer VNET_1_HOSTONLY_SUBNET 192.168.136.0
        answer VNET_1_NAT no
        answer VNET_1_VIRTUAL_ADAPTER yes
        answer VNET_8_DHCP yes
        answer VNET_8_DHCP_CFG_HASH A56D66C8B983700E4C26052614B292657F0AD91E
        answer VNET_8_HOSTONLY_NETMASK 255.255.255.0
        answer VNET_8_HOSTONLY_SUBNET 10.147.185.0
        answer VNET_8_NAT yes
        answer VNET_8_VIRTUAL_ADAPTER yes

        Funny thing here is that VNET1 has a subnet that was not there before….it was a 10.147.130.0 as I recall. Where that subnet came from, I don’t know.  Is that a default subnet from Fusion??

      • lynxbat

        Doesn’t look like a default subnet. A restore button click should have set this one back. Nothing wrong with this file in syntax.

  9. Tivoli

    Hi,
    I would like to use your wonderfull tool with  autolab which allows to build a vmware lab nearly fully automated.
    The point is it need to add a VMNet3 with 192.168.199.0 network, with your tool I’m not able to choose the network I want.
    Would you mind if possible either add the 199 as a default or put an option ?

    Thanks by advance

  10. It looks like you did a great job, this is something really missing in Fusion, that makes you hide in a hole when looking at someone work with VMware Server for example.
    Now, what could be f*** awesome, is provide settings for /Library/Preferences/VMware Fusion/vmnetx/dhcpd.conf, I tried some years ago to customize those parameters to lab PXE configurations without success, but Fusion changed a lot since then, and I’m pretty sure there is a way, maybe just editing those file can make it possible to send TFTP server’sIP and boot file location.

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