Sometimes I just spend hours and hours trying to do something because I can't believe that it cannot work! I thought there should be quite a number of people running linux as guest on VMware and then running the arduino IDE on it.
I can tell you that it all works very very well, including the exchange of serial data when the sketch is already loaded to the board. All is good. That is until you try to load a sketch to your arduino. When you try to do that you get:
avrdude: stk500_getsync(): not in sync: resp=0x00
avrdude: stk500_disable(): protocol error, expect0x14, resp=0x00
meaning there's exchange of info for a while but then something fails. the rx and tx lights on the board, light up briefly and then it fails.
And after spending a good part of a day going around with it, I finally start to become closer to giving up. Besides all the things I tried (it doesn't matter to list them here, because they obviously did not work!) the following links started to make it clear...
http://abhitak.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/microcontroller-programming-in-linux/(in the page above, see the small print at the bottom: "Note: I tried to program using Linux on VMware on windows 7… but it was not working.")
http://www.avrfreaks.net/index.php?name=PNphpBB2&file=printview&t=66714&start=0 this is a user that is trying to use avrdude (the program the arduino IDE uses to upload the sketches to the board) under vmware, very similar setup to mine but earlier distro versions of ubuntu. It also does not work.
http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1288623198 win7 guest on (I think a win7 host). Slightly different problem of the arduino not being recognized on the guest OS, points for some trouble on the comms when using virtual machines to upload programs to the arduino board.
I spent a day on this and so far I have not found a solution for this problem. I will try a bit more because I just like to suffer, but I start to loose hope. Almost for sure, the problem seems to be coming from the communication phase between the board and avr-dude, some kind of reply that takes too long to come back from the board. I will keep looking for a solution, if you know of one, please write something on the comments area.