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I'm trying to get as much working as possible as quickly as possible. Your continued feedback below would be greatly appreciated. This guide is based on my Installing Fedora Core 5 on Sony Vaio page. If you have an interest in helping to get Linux running on this laptop I encourage you to join the mailing list I've set up and help out.
Having owned several laptops I now realize there are only a couple things that are truly important. Size (small but not too small) and a great screen. Based on those two needs I chose the Sony Vaio VGN-FJ170/B (decoding the model number: FJ series with 1.7Ghz processor in Black)
Please also refer to my Fedora Core 6 Tips & Tricks or Fedora 7 Tips & Tricks. These tips work pretty much the same on both of those versions of Fedora. If you're using Fedora 8 there are some things that now "just work" such as Wifi and other things that I haven't yet figured out how to get to work such as Fn key support.
For those interested here is the full lspci output:
Please note I've also created a very low volume mailing list to discuss Linux on Sony Vaio FJ series notebooks. You can sign up HERE
I'm told that Gparted available at http://gparted.sourceforge.net/ is a very easy way to resize an NTFS partition. It has a downloadable live CD which is only 22.5MB and has an easy to use interface for re-sizing partitions. I have no experience with it but other people reported it works great.
Please note this is not an easy laptop to get going with Linux and the steps outlined below are not intended for Linux novices.
It probably wouldn't hurt to do a yum -y update as soon as you get everything installed.
It is possible to get it to work but a little tricky. First, you'll want Stelian Pop's sony_acpi driver which I modified slightly as well as the fsfn-1.1-take2.tar.gz. Put the files in /usr/src and extract and compile them. You'll obviously also need kernel sources and a compiler in case you didn't install them previously.
# yum -y install kernel-devel gcc # gtar xzvf sony_acpi-0.3.tar.gz # cd sony_acpi-0.3 # make install # modprobe sony_acpiPlease note that you will also have to re-install the driver when you upgrade to a newer kernel.
If that worked you should have a directory /proc/acpi/sony and it will contain three files. You can manually adjust the brightness by echoing numbers between 1 and 8 to the brightness file.
Now you need to get fsfn to handle the special Fn keys and it will then control the audio volume and screen brightness for you and will display the new value in an on screen display. You'll need the xosd and alsa libraries installed for this to work properly.
# yum -y install xosd xosd-devel alsa-lib-devel # gtar xzvf fsfn-1.1-take2.tar.gz # cd fsfn-1.1 # ./configure # make install # cp fedora/fsfn /etc/init.dBefore you start you'll probably want to read the fsfn(5) man page and create the configuration file /etc/fsfn.conf containing at least the following line to enable a special hack necessary for the VAIO FJ series of notebooks:
BRT_HACK_FJS=1 ALSA_NAME=HeadphoneSetting the ALSA_NAME is a hack to make the volume work. For some reason with FC6 the main volume controller is named Headphone instead of Front so until we find a solution to the naming problem this workaround will allow the Fn buttons to control the main volume.
To get this all working you'll need to start the fsfn service at boot time (after the driver above is loaded). Rather than having it start automatically I added it to my startup file /etc/rc.d/rc.local :
service fsfn startAnd finally you will need the client that handles the on screen display to start when you log in. Go to Desktop -> Preferences -> No Preferences -> Sessions. Once there go to Startup Programs and add the command fsfn -o to the list of startup programs.
Once you do all that you should be able to adjust the volume and screen brightness with the special Fn keys just like in XP.
# rpm -ihv http://ayo.freshrpms.net/fedora/linux/6/i386/RPMS.freshrpms/freshrpms-release-1.1-1.fc.noarch.rpm # yum -y install ipw2200-firmware # modprobe ipw2200That will load the driver which will now have access to the firmware so the interface will come up automatically from now on. You can now set up your wireless interface as you would normally.
# gtar xzvf gspcav1-20070426.tar.gz # cd gspcav1-20070426 # ./gspca_buildThat will build and install the kernel drivers. You will need to re-run that after upgrading your kernel. If you run dmesg you could make sure this driver loaded and successfully found the camera.
# dmesg . . /usr/src/gspcav1-20070426/gspca_core.c: USB GSPCA camera found.(VC0321) /usr/src/gspcav1-20070426/gspca_core.c: [spca5xx_probe:4041] Camera type YUYV /usr/src/gspcav1-20070426/Vimicro/vc032x.h: [vc032x_probe_sensor:137] check sensor header 44 /usr/src/gspcav1-20070426/Vimicro/vc032x.h: [vc0321_config:354] Find Sensor OV7660 /usr/src/gspcav1-20070426/gspca_core.c: [spca5xx_getcapability:1198] maxw 640 maxh 480 minw 176 minh 144 usbcore: registered new interface driver gspca /usr/src/gspcav1-20070426/gspca_core.c: gspca driver 01.00.16 registeredThen you can test to make sure the camera works by using an application such as VLC. Just open it as a local video capture device and you should then see yourself on the screen.
If you have any leads on getting any more features working pleae drop me a line.
Linux on the VAIO TR3 - This site helped me figure out some of the goofier things about Sony laptops. Why do some companies feel the urge to re-invent things that have already been invented better by others?
Sony Vaio FS series FN keys - This site was a great source of information. It was for Gentoo/Ubuntu but the tips work just as well in Fedora.
HOWTO: Adjust brightness on Sony Vaio - Another Ubuntu related page for the FS series but many of the tips work on the FJ as well. A lot of what is in this guide came from this site.
Sony Vaio VGN FJ 1S Debian Installation - This is a great guide by blicero on getting Debian Unstable working on this laptop. He goes into some more detail on things such as getting getting external VGA to work as well as references to drivers in the works to support the MemoryStick port on the front.
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