Converting VMware to KVM: Rapid7’s “Metasploitable 2”

Benjamin Porter
6 min readJun 20, 2022
Photo by Señor Ashraf on Unsplash

Converting a VMware VM to KVM isn’t hard but can be tricky if you don’t know what to do. Here’s how to convert the Metasploitable2 VM to from VMware to KVM

Background (skip if you just want instructions)

I was recently asked by a (very good) friend, “how do run this VM in Gnome Boxes?” She is taking a cyber security course and is supposed to do some scanning and ‘sploiting of a VM called “Metasploitable 2” that is downloadable from Source Forge.

Unfortunately, the zip file that is downloaded contains a VMware VM that is not playable directly with KVM, such as Gnome Boxes. Yes one could simply download and install VMware Player (which is free of charge for running one machine at a time), but it is sorely lacking in features and it is not open source or free software. If you buy a licensed copy, you can get an amazing pack of features, but if you are already running Linux then you have a wonderful free and open source system for running VMs at your fingerprints, free of charge! This system is a combination of several tools, among the most important are KVM, qemu,virt-manager, and Gnome Boxes.

Finding instructions and resources for my friend was incredibly difficult. The small number of resources I could find were nearly 10 years old, and things have changed since then that made them insufficient. However, the post Convert VMware Virtual Machine to KVM was very helpful. What was supposed to be 10 minutes of work ended up taking hours. What follows are my instructions for getting this going. I’ve written this in more of a “tutorial” style that helps guide the user through, such as including mistakes and breakages.

The machine I used for this is Fedora 35 running on a Framework laptop, but it should be very similar for other distributions. I will try to point out areas where YMMV.

Preparation

0.1: Download and unpack the zip file

If you want to follow along exactly, you should download the Metasploitable 2 zip file from source forge. You should then extract it. I will leave it in my ~/Downloads directory.

cd ~/Downloads
unzip metasploitable-linux-2.0.0.zip
cd…

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Benjamin Porter

Ben Porter is a Software Engineer/Architect who specializes in distributed applications (like web apps). He is currently Head of Engineering at Ameelio.org