VMware vCSA Hacks

There are some aspects of the new vCSA 6.0 system that are a little annoying if you want to investigate the structure and functioning of the appliance. For example the console size is quite small if logging in directly to the appliance. Another issue is that bash is not the default shell for root but appliancesh, which has more limited functionality, but allows access to vCSA APIs and plugins.

1. Make bash default shell for root

Modify /etc/passwd using your favourite editor and change the line for root from:


Save and logoff and login.

2. Change size of console for boot and shell

Thew default size for the console is defined in the grub menu.lst file “vga” parameter.

If we check the file out in an editor

From this we can see the default mode:

which translates to:

vga=0x311 – Mode 0x0311: 640×480 (+1280), 16 bits

To create a larger screen you csan pick a mode from the hwinfo command. I this case I changed it to 0x333

vga=0x333 – Mode 0x0333: 1024×768 (+2048), 16 bits

3. Bash input timeout

The bash shell has a timeout value of 15 minutes. To change this the file /etc/profile.d/tmout.sh needs to be edited. Change the TMOUT value to 0 to disable automatic logout.