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Configuring the Sony VAIO SR17k

Installing RedHat

First step was to install RedHat 7.0. I had to buy the cdrom, because I just couldn't figure out how to get from win2k into some sort of linux installer. Special options required to boot to the external pcmcia (ide) cdrom: "expert ide1=0x180,0x360" (or was that without the 0x'es?)

Kernel support

I don't like redhat's kernels, so I ended up rolling my own. Currently, I'm on 2.2.19, and have almost everything working. Older sony's had incompatible chips, but this model is new enough to work.

Video: X11

Installing X; I had to build my own 4.0.* X server, and had find, add, and compile in the latest S3 Savage/IX-MV driver, since the chipset was so incredibly new. That worked, though I could only get it working at 256 colors, but I didn't try very hard. I primarily use this laptop as a terminal, so I rarely look at rich color images. Since it's been 6 months since I last did this, I probably ought to upgrade and try again. 4.0.* has had plenty of time to mature.

Also, I don't know how one would make the external video work; it seems to be some custom software only switch; the keyboard doesn't enable external video.


To this day, the Yamaha YMF-754 chipset doesn't work for sound. the ALSA drivers purportedly work, but I haven't needed sound on this laptop, so I've just been ignoring it. 2.2.18 supposedly supports this sound chip direcly, but I didn't have any luck. 2.4.* is supposed to be much better.


Several months later, I finally needed an external keyboard and mouse, and that means USB. Reconfigure your kernel and choose the standard uhci interface. RH7.0 already has everything, I just had to add "alias usb-controller usb-uhci" to /etc/modules.conf to make it load the interface drivers in rc.sysinit and then I just manually did insmod for hid, keybdev, and mousedev in rc.local, so that the drivers are always loaded. Not like memory or cpu is much of a concern here. The only gotcha is that you can't boot with the keyboard/mouse attached and expect them to be recognized. You have to unplug and replug them. Annoying, but I don't use an external keyboard or mouse often enough to matter to me. The same thing is true of resuming out of suspend.

USB & X11

XFree86 4.0.* is very easy to add multiple input devices. in /etc/X11/XF86Config, add 'InputDevice "Mouse1" "SendCoreEvents"' just below the InputDevice Mouse0 line, and add a whole new section:

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier  "Mouse1"
        Driver      "mouse"
        Option      "Protocol" "imps/2"
        Option      "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
#        Option      "Emulate3Buttons"
#        Option      "Emulate3Timeout" "50"
# for wheelie mice:
#        Option      "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Uncomment the various features as needed. The only gotcha is that the mousedev kernel module needs to be loaded before you start X, otherwise you'll get an error as it tries to open /dev/input/mice, and the driver isn't available. If the drivers are loaded from rc.local and are always there, there's no issue with this. But for testing, you might run into this, so just so you're warned.

iLink; IEEE 1394; FireWire

I have a 16x FireWire cd writer. To use this, you need the kernel drivers plus the cd burning software. Start by getting the 2.2.19 patches from sf.net, applying them, reconfiguring your kernel, turning on IEEE 1394 support (use the standard ohci1394 driver):

root@mobile:/usr/src/linux # rcsdiff .config
RCS file: .config,v
retrieving revision 1.18
diff -r1.18 .config
> # IEEE 1394 (FireWire) support
> #
> # CONFIG_IEEE1394_PCILYNX is not set
> CONFIG_IEEE1394_OHCI1394=m
rebuilding your kernel (another good reason to use a stock kernel versus the RedHat patched version. Once the kerenl is ready, you should be able to insmod ohci1394, ieee1394, raw1394, and then plug your firewire device in, reset it, and you should see stuff appear in /var/log/messages . See the Linux ieee 1394 start page for more detailed directions.

After that, you can download and install libraw1394 (don't forget to make sure that /usr/local/lib is in /etc/ld.so.conf) and gscanbus. gscanbus should make it easier to verify that your iLink device shows up on the bus properly.

As for mounting the cdrom and burning cd's, I have yet to get to that, but cdrecord should do the burning part just fine.

Last Modified 2001.08.14 kjw
Created 2001.08.14 kjw