I was in the process of spinning up a few Debian 6 squeeze servers today when I ran into a little bit of trouble installing VMware tools inside the guest.  These were bare bone installs, containing basically just the system utilities from the tasksel menu (no desktop gui environment).  I proceeded to install VMware tools the way I normally do and have for previous versions of Debian. Right-Click VM -> Guest -> Install/Update VMware Tools when I ran into the following error during the install.

'The path "/usr/bin/gcc" is not valid path to the gcc binary.

It was at this point I when and pulled down the build-essential package, thinking maybe gcc wasn't installed, and I knew that I would need 'make' as well.

After an apt-get install build-essential I received the same error when trying to re-install.  The path /usr/bin/gcc was certain valid, and it most certainly pointed to the the gcc package.  Basically, what I found out is that when you do the base install with Debian 6 Squeeze (through a net-install image) you do not receive the header files for the kernel you are running.  These files are actually needed for VMware tools to recompile and configure itself for the version you are running.  So, an easy fix…

apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)

After running this command, and then re installing your VMware tools again you should see the following during your installation process.

"Detected GCC binary at "/usr/bin/gcc-4.3".

Just accept the default here to not change the path, complete the rest of the VMware tools install and bobs your uncle.