With concerns to the VMware issue:
Instead of clicking on the icon to launch it, launch VMware from the CLI (Command-Line Interface - ie. a shell/console). If it loads, then nothing happens when you click on the icon, more than likely it's throwing an error of some sort. Running it from the CLI will undoubtedly tell you what exactly is happening just before it craps out.
As for updating your kernel:
Download the kernel sources from www.kernel.org
. And configure the kernel parameters as you see fit. Once you've downloaded the kernel source, copy the archive to /usr/src and then type "tar -zxvf linux-2.6.X
.tar.gz" (if it is a .tar.bz2 extension, type "tar -jxvf linux-2.6.X
.tar.bz2") - where X
is the last digit in the kernel version. Then create a symbolically linked directory to the kernel source: "ln -s /usr/src/linux /usr/src/linux-2.6.X
" (if this symlink command doesn't work, try switching the last two operands).
Go into the newly created /usr/src/linux directory: "cd /usr/src/linux".
And run "make oldconfig" to create a kernel config file that's almost identical to your current kernel, and then run "make menuconfig" to bring up an ncurses-based configuration screen, and pick and choose your kernel modules/parameters to your liking (NOTE: If you don't know what something is, typing a question mark "?" will give you a module description, and if the description doesn't help you, LEAVE IT ALONE). Once you've got your personalized kernel configuration done, type "make && make modules_install". Once it's finished compiling, copy the new kernel image from /usr/src/linux/arch/i386/boot/bzImage to /boot - "cp -v /usr/src/linux/arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/linux-2.6.X
". Then add it to your GRUB or LILO kernel image list (if you're using LILO, remember to run /sbin/lilo after you've edited /etc/lilo.conf).
The joy of this, is that if the new kernel doesn't work, you can just restart your computer, and choose the old kernel. NOTE: Ubuntu may have newer kernel versions in its binary respositories.
Oh, and before I forget, do all of the above kernel tasks as root
Hope that helps.