I have been using
open-vm-tools, or the equivalent previous name of the package since Debian 5 or Debian 6 instead of the official VMWare tools, as they are less complicated to install and keep up, and have automatic security updates.
Right now I am using Stretch with
open-vm-tools 10.1.5 with the kernel
I used to have installed linux kernel sources and
dkms for modules to be compiled for it, since we do disk paravirtualization and mainly network paravirtualization.
However, over time, the development packages, kernel sources and dkms stopped being necessary, also because I think, the linux kernel started being more "vmware-aware".
I still have here three Stretch i386 based VMs, with the kernels,
4.8.0-2-686-pae. They all have the
build-essentials and source module packages installed.
Interestingly enough, only the
4.8.0-2-amd64 has the module compiled at
Short of deleting packages and not being able to boot, how can I determine if that module is not needed or not?
Bonus question, when did it happen, kernel source and/or
open-vm-tools, that it was not mandatory anymore to compile modules, for having the open vmtools working?