I found an issue with the HP’s ESXi 5.0 installer CD (5.0_Aug_2011_ESXi_HD_USB_SDImgeInstlr_Z7550_00204.iso): when you try and change the license you get an error message when you click apply.
The error message is:
Call “LicenseManager.UpdateLicense” for object “ha-license-manager” on ESXi “” failed.
After investigation it seems that the culprit is the /etc/vmware/vmware.lic file: in HP iso image it is flagged as read only (-r–r–r–), but in VMware ESXi 5 image (VMware-VMvisor-Installer-5.0.0-469512.x86_64.iso) it is flagged as read write with special permission (-rw——T).
To fix this, connect to the ESXi console and change the permissions on /etc/vmware/vmware.lic:
chmod 600 /etc/vmware/vmware.lic
chmod +t /etc/vmware/vmware.lic
Now it will be possible to change the license key.
I think that HP need to fix the OEM install image posted on Software depot…
Thanks to dcolpitts from vmware communities for heading me in the right direction.
Update: the fix survived a reboot, but after a full poweroff, some change in the hardware and a reboot, the fix was lost…I think that a more in depth change is needed, stay tuned