VMware Inc. released an OpenSource version of their VMware-Tools, called open-vm-tools. While they're quite easy to install on Gentoo (emerge open-vm-tools), it's not that easy having them installed on a Debian Etch (4.0) if you want to go the proper way.
Note: It is important to keep the order of this steps as written below – otherwise your network will be disabled! Make sure you’re executing this steps locally and not via an SSH session, as the network connection will be interrupted at the end when loading the modules!
Add the etch-backports repository to your sources.list
#echo "deb http://www.backports.org/debian etch-backports main contrib non-free" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
Update your local repository cache using the following command
Install some prerequisites for building the kernel modules provided by open-vm-source
#apt-get install build-essential autotools-dev libdumbnet-dev libgtk2.0-dev libicu36-dev libpam0g-dev libproc-dev libx11-dev libxinerama-dev libxtst-dev linux-headers-$(uname -r)
#apt-get install open-vm-source
Run the package build process using ‘modules assistant’
Install the generated modules
#m-a install open-vm-source
Now install the open-vm-tools
#apt-get install open-vm-tools
Restart your network interface(s)