- Installing Ubuntu on a Sony Vaio VNG-FS115B -

# Author : Vanstals Thomas [Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium]

# E-mail : thomasvst_IDONTLIKESPAM_@gmail.com (remove the _IDONTLIKESPAM_).

# Last update : October 1, 2005

# Links : Ubuntu Linux | Ubuntu-fr | Ubuntu Forums | Linux on Laptops

# Go to : Keeping using Windows | Ubuntu | General Hardware Specifications | Display | Double layer DVD±RW drive | Sound card | Integrated Network Card's | Hotkeys | Other tips

Here are some tips to install Ubuntu on a Sony Vaio VNG-FS115B.

All that you can find on this page works fine with the Hoary release of Ubuntu, from April 2005.

Keeping using Windows

If you want to continue using windows on your computer, I suggest you to install it manually on a small partition. By default, it will use 40Go of your hard disk.
Be careful, the Windows XP image is located on a partition that is hidden from the Windows side ! Don't forget to make a backup if you expect to install Windows XP back after having installed your Linux distribution. To do this, create a fat32 partition and when booting on the Sony install DVD that you have burn under Windows XP and choose the option that allow you to install it on C: without changing the partition table.

What is Ubuntu ?

Ubuntu is an operating system based on Debian and consisting of free and open source softaware.

Ubuntu is easy to install, free of viruses, and perfect for laptops, desktops ans servers. Ubuntu is community developed, commercialy supported, and offers free security updates. A new version is released every six months.

You can download it (only 1 disk) in the download section of the Ubuntu official website.
If you are looking for some help, I suggest you those websites : UbuntuLinux | Ubuntu-fr | UbuntuForums
Here is a capture done on my Sony Vaio VNG-FS115B : sony-vgn-fs115b-ubuntu-hoary-capture.png

General Hardware Specifications of the Sony Vaio VNG-FS115B

Here is a short table summarizing the most used components of the Sony Vaio VNG-FS115B.

Hardware Components Status under Linux Notes
Display Works but has to be adapted to get the wide screen working See wide screen section.
CPU [Centrino 1.6Go] Works Works without problem after the installation.
The CPU frequency scaling works great.
Memory [512Mo] Works Works without problem after the installation.
Hard drive [60Go] Works Works without problem after the installation.
Double layer DVD±RW drive Works for reading, problems with writing. DMA has to be activated to burn without problem.
See Double layer DVD±RW drive section.
External USB mouse Works -
Sound card Works if using at least ALSA 1.0.9 See Sound card section.
Integrated Network Card's Both works The wired and the wireless one works without problem, even during the installation.
To switch from one to another, see the Integrated Network Card's section.
Hotkeys (brightness, volume, etc.) Works See Hotkeys section.
External Video Not yet tested -
Sony Memory Stick Doesn't work In progress

This laptop is operating under Kernel version 2.6.10.


Activating the 1280x800 resolution

Here are the steps to get the wide screen working.

1. Download 915resolution

2. Uncompress and install 915resolution

$ tar -xzf 915resolution-0.2.tar.gz
$ cd 915resolution-0.2/
$ make
$ sudo make install

3. List the resolutions available

$ sudo 915resolution -l

4. Overwrite a reslotution that you don't use with the 1280x800 one (3c in our case)

$ sudo 915resolution 3c 1280 800

5. Check that the change has take effect.

$ sudo 915resolution -l

6. Test the new resolution :
  - Open a pseudo-terminal (CTRL+ALT+F1)
  - Log into your account and kill gdm

login : your_login
Password: your_password
$ sudo killall gdm
  - Launch gdm again
$ sudo gdm

7. The resolution should be ok in the login page, but once logged in, the resolution should come back in 1024x768, due to your personal settings. Just adapt them in the System -> Preferences -> Screen resolution menu.

8. Make the change become permanent (what we have done will be executed at every boot) :

$ sudo vi /etc/init.d/bootmisc.sh
Add the line 915resolution 3c 1280 800 after the line : [ -f /etc/default/rcS ] && . /etc/default/rcS (at aproximatively line 10)
[ -f /etc/default/rcS ] && . /etc/default/rcS
915resolution 3c 1280 800

9. Reboot and check everything is ok...

Double layer DVD±RW drive

Activating the DMA

You have to activate DMA if not activated.
Check if activated with the following command :
$ hdparm -d /dev/hdb
If the result look like to :
using_dma = 0 (off)
then, your DMA is not activated.
Just activate it doing :
$ sudo hdparm -d1 /dev/hdb
$ hdparm -d /dev/hdb
again, should now give this result :
using_dma = 1 (on)
Finally, make the change become permanent (what we have done will be executed at every boot) :
$ sudo vi /etc/init.d/bootmisc.sh
Add the line hdparm -d1 /dev/hdb after the line : [ -f /etc/default/rcS ] && . /etc/default/rcS (at approximatively line 10)
[ -f /etc/default/rcS ] && . /etc/default/rcS
hdparm -d1 /dev/hdb
Congratulations, your DMA is now activated. I use K3B (available in Synaptic) to burn. It works great, even with Gnome.

Sound card

Installing ALSA 1.0.9

The ALSA version that come with Ubuntu Hoary is 1.0.8.
To get the sound card working, you will have to install (at least) the 1.0.9 one, available on the ALSA website (they are still in development).
You have to download the Driver, Library, OSS Library, and Utilities packages.
The following packages are required to install them : kernel-headers-version, libncurses5-dev and build-essential (available in Synaptic) (uses $ uname -r if you don't know the kernel version you are using).
Just install the packages, using those commands (have a look at the README) :

1. Uncompress the Driver package and type those commands in the driver directory :
$ ./configure --with-cards=hda-intel
$ make
$ sudo make install
2. Do the same for the other packages, using those commands :
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install
3. Configure the sound card (agree with everything) and reboot :
$ sudo alsaconf
$ sudo reboot

Integrated Network Card's

Switching between card's

I've done my own script : wificonfig.
Have a look at this page : wificonfig.html


Getting the hotkeys working, thanks to pijalu

Some people report me that this works also with : Sony Vaio
- FSN-660
- FS-215E

Requirements : gcc-3.4, linux-headers-...

First, download the modified sony_acpi module here and untar it :
$ tar xzvf sony_acpi.tar.gz
Complile the sony_acpi.c file and move it to your modules directory :
$ cd sony_acpi
$ make
$ sudo cp sony_acpi.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/acpi/
Edit the /etc/modules file and add the line sony_acpi at the end of the file (the module will be lunch at every boot).
$ sudo vi /etc/modules
Download, compile and move the sonyfn.c file to your /usr/sbin directory.
$ gcc sonyfn.c -o sonyfn
$ sudo mv sonyfn /usr/sbin
Finally, modify your bootmisc.sh file so that the sonyfn script is executed at every boot :
$ sudo vi /etc/init.d/bootmisc.sh
Add the line sonyfn & after the line : [ -f /etc/default/rcS ] && . /etc/default/rcS (at approximatively line 10).
It should look like :
[ -f /etc/default/rcS ] && . /etc/default/rcS
sonyfn &
Now reboot and test if everything is ok.

Other tips

Closing lid

If you want to change the behavior of Ubuntu after having closed the lid, edit your /etc/acpi/lid.sh file.
For example, if you want Ubuntu doing nothing when closing it, just comment every lines of the file (using the # char).


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