31 May, 2007

Kubuntu on Sony VAIO PCR-SRX41P

Yesterday, I bought a new laptop. My old one (a Fujitsu-Siemens, PIII-450, 192 mb ram) let me down one time too much. On FOSDEM, it kept the audience waiting a long time, but things got even worse - during my KDE 4 talk at a Mandrivaclub meeting, I had to wait a few minutes between each slide, and at the KOffice ODF, fighting the laptop took almost as much time as writing the articles. Saturday I have a talk at the local NLUUG, so I would prefer to have a workable setup by then.

So I got tired of that, and got myself a very small (10.4" screen) VAIO. PIII-800 MHZ, 256 MB ram. Nope, not like 10 times faster, but I can't afford much more (I paid 200 euro's). It doesn't have a cd drive (well, an external one, firewire based), thus it's very light: only 1.2 kg!

Now how well does it work with linux (Kubuntu Feisty Fawn)? Almost perfect. Yes, really. suspend and hibernate both work (but choosing suspend hibernates the laptop, and hibernate suspends it...); the volume keys, mute, brightness - they all work. Different from the windows ones, where you first have to do Fn-F5 and use the arrows to change brightness, here Fn-F5 decreases, and Fn-F6 increases brightness. Same goes for volume, but who's complaining? I prefer it this way, actually...

Network works fine, I haven't tried wireless much yet, but it's pretty old (802.11b) so that might be a problem here and there. At least at home, it doesn't see my wireless network...

So, let's see how it works saturday.

And here, for the people from linux-on-laptops:

Installing Kubuntu Feisty Fawn (7.04) on Sony VAIO PCR-SRX41P

General Hardware Specifications of this VAIO:

Hardware Components

Status under Linux


Pentium III-M Processor, 800 MHz Works No special procedure required during installation.
10.4 SXGA TFT Display 1024x768 Works No special procedure required during installation.
Intgrated 82815EM in Intel 815EM chipset( Works No special procedure required during installation.
256MB, PC100 Works No special procedure required during installation
30 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Bluetooth might work I can't turn it on in linux (yet), so it doesn't work.
Integrated Network Card Works No special procedure required during installation
Internal 56k Modem Not tested. It is a winmodem. Should not be hard to get working but I don't need it.
external Firewire 24X Max Variable CD-ROM/DVD Drive Works No special procedure required during installation
Internal Intel Wireless Networking (802.11b) Works No special procedure required during installation
Lithium-Ion Battery Works Guidance Power Manager DOES show time left properly, but the icons shows up always red
Internal Intel AC'97 soundcard Works

No special procedure required

This laptop is operating under Kernel version 2.6.20

Unresolved issues:
  • Bluetooth

  • KDE battery meter doesn't function correctly

Function Keys:
  • Fn + F2: Mute
  • Fn + F3: Volume down
  • Fn + F4: Volume up
  • Fn + F5: Brightness down
  • Fn + F6: Brightness up
I'm happy with the battery time, btw - works for 3 hours, no problem.


  1. Can you open bug or publish your lshal output to diagnose your battery problem with powermanager?

    Switched suspend/hibernate: is this just that the keys are swapped? Or is this powermanager operations? Does it behave the same if your chouse Suspend/Hibernate in KDE Logout dialog?

  2. Choosing suspend from the menu or in the powermanager (eg lid close > suspend) does hibernate, and visa versa. I haven't investigated this further, as I just don't have the time to do that right now.

    As for the batery problem, when I'm home, I will have a look at it again, update Kubuntu (it's now only stock, from the cd, no updates installed) etc, and make a bugreport. lshal you say? OK... ;-)

  3. How about using <!-- break --> when your blog is aggregated?

  4. ? break?

    sorry, I'm not a html-person at all, I just use the wysiwyg interface to type... I know how to make an html link and an image link, and br (the table stuff I copied from the linux-laptops page) and that's it... Just enough for the Dot articles when I write them.

    So what does break doe?

  5. Sound like a nice laptop!
    Don't forget to document how it works for you on the Laptop Testing pages of the wiki.

  6. which battery monitor? the guidance one (4 black bars) or the klaptop one (blue bar)?
    I finally had to remove the guidance thingy from /usr/share/autostart/ because every time I logged into kde, it thought I'd closed the lid and wanted to hibernate :P
    it's missing features I need from klaptop, anyways.

  7. it's the guidance one, but it does work better now. It might be due to the battery itself anyway, as it's not an original and sometimes doesn't work very well.

    I'll try klaptop... Guidance power manager is a bit big on memory anyway

  8. hi, i install ubuntu gutsy on my laptop (pcg-srx41p) and i have a very little sreen size (not the resolution) but the size of the screen is the same as the bios display screen.
    do you have any idea?

  9. Hmmmm, did you try to use the configuration tools for the screen? I believe Ubuntu now uses the Kubuntu screen config tool, which might help you... Otherwise, I wouldn't know why it doesn't work out of the box. Maybe it is worth trying to edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf by hand, but that shouldn't be necessary with a modern linux ;-)

  10. I was tortured by being stuck in 800x600 mode too! I finally edited xorg.conf by hand. Here is my version for your enjoyment! It works 1024x768 no black border around the screen. For Sony Vaio PCG-SR41P, Ubuntu 8.10.

    Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier "X.org Configured"
    Screen 0 "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
    InputDevice "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"

    Section "Files"
    ModulePath "/usr/lib/xorg/modules"
    FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/misc"
    FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/cyrillic"
    FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi/:unscaled"
    FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/Type1"
    FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/100dpi"
    FontPath "/usr/share/fonts/X11/75dpi"
    FontPath "/var/lib/defoma/x-ttcidfont-conf.d/dirs/TrueType"

    Section "Module"
    Load "xtrap"
    Load "glx"
    Load "dbe"
    Load "extmod"
    Load "dri"
    Load "record"

    Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "Keyboard0"
    Driver "kbd"

    Section "InputDevice"
    Identifier "Mouse0"
    Driver "mouse"
    Option "Protocol" "auto"
    Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
    Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5 6 7"

    Section "Monitor"
    Identifier "Monitor0"
    VendorName "Monitor Vendor"
    ModelName "Monitor Model"
    HorizSync 30-107
    VertRefresh 48-120

    Section "Device"
    ### Available Driver options are:-
    ### Values: i: integer, f: float, bool: "True"/"False",
    ### string: "String", freq: "f Hz/kHz/MHz"
    ### [arg]: arg optional
    #Option "NoAccel" # [bool]
    #Option "SWcursor" # [bool]
    #Option "ColorKey" # i
    #Option "CacheLines" # i
    #Option "Dac6Bit" # [bool]
    #Option "DRI" # [bool]
    #Option "NoDDC" # [bool]
    #Option "ShowCache" # [bool]
    #Option "XvMCSurfaces" # i
    #Option "PageFlip" # [bool]
    Identifier "Card0"
    Driver "intel"
    VendorName "Intel Corporation"
    BoardName "82815 Chipset Graphics Controller (CGC)"
    BusID "PCI:0:2:0"

    Section "Screen"
    Identifier "Screen0"
    Device "Card0"
    Monitor "Monitor0"
    SubSection "Display"
    Viewport 0 0
    Depth 15
    modes "1024x768"
    SubSection "Display"
    Viewport 0 0
    Depth 16
    modes "1024x768"
    SubSection "Display"
    Viewport 0 0
    Depth 24
    modes "1024x768"
    DefaultDepth 24


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