So like me you’ve been hanging out for another Long Term Support (LTS) Ubuntu release and having arrived last month (8.04) you’ve got it up and running in VMware (Fusion in my case).
To make VMware tools install you need to:
Virtual Machine->Install VMware Tools (that’s the easy part)
apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r) mount /cdrom cd /cdrom cp VMwareTools*.tar.gz /tmp cd /tmp tar xzf VMwareTools* cd vmware-tools-distrib ./vmware-install.pl
Press enter for everything until it won’t go any further because it wants the real location of your kernel headers. Give it ‘/lib/modules/2.6.24-16-server/build/include’ and then keep pressing enter again until you get back to your prompt.
VMware Tools should start up (except perhaps for the advanced networking guff).
Update: Added extraction steps.
Update: The same process works for Debian 4.0 (etch)