Red Hat Linux 9.0 on Sony Vaio N505X

What I have recently succeeded in doing is copying the Linux partitions off my Vaio SRX51P/A onto a spare 20Gb hard disk, which is now happily living in my old N505 Vaio (together with GRUB and a copy of its old W98 parition). The hardware is sufficiently similar the same RH9+2.4.20 kernel boots and runs fine, so I've both given it an instant upgrade and created an emergency standby laptop :-) Some tweaking of modules, XFree86 and other system files was needed, I will attempt to document all the changes needed here in due course.

Disk Partitions

Here is the current partition table:

Disk /dev/hda: 20.0 GB, 20003880960 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 2432 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *         1       306   2457913+   b  Win95 FAT32
/dev/hda2           307       326    160650   83  Linux
/dev/hda3           327       358    257040   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda4           665      2432  14201460    f  Win95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/hda5           665      1429   6144831   83  Linux
/dev/hda6          1430      1951   4192933+  83  Linux
/dev/hda7          1952      2212   2096451   83  Linux
/dev/hda8          2213      2432   1767118+   b  Win95 FAT32


The current state of my config file can be found here.


Both my Lucent WaveLAN/IEEE sliver and Xircom CE3 PCMCIA adaptors work fine.


My trusty aging Xircom CEM-56G PCMCIA modem worked fine.

Power Hardware

Another curious (and annoying) similarity between my old and new Vaios are the PSU and batteries. Both run off 16V DC with 11V LiI batteries. The batteries use very similar physical and electrical connectors, but look like they have been deliberately made to be non-interchangable. Typical Sony, I wish they'd see the benefits of generating customer loyality over using tweaky proprietary connector lock-in to force people to buy stuff they don't need to duplicate.

If I can find a source of matching connectors I'll try running the machines off each other's PSUs (taking care over maximum current needs).

GSM data

I achieved this with a Mobile Action MA-8610C USB to Nokia cable (USB device ID 67b:2303:202). This is sold under various brands, in particular c/o Kondor in Dixons stores in the UK, but the important thing is that it contains a PL-2303 USB/serial convertor, which is supported by the pl2303.o CONFIG_USB_SERIAL_PL2303=y 2.4.20 kernel module. This worked nicely for my Nokia 6210 (and 7110), but did not seem to initialise correctly for the 6310i, causing the phones display to go into a "Accessory Connected" repeating loop (the Windows drivers seem to bodge around this somehow, there is also Linux source on the chipset manufacturers website which seems to be widely divergent from the standard source tree and which I did not try).

Non-working GSM Data Solutions

My Nokia NCP-2 PCMCIA card worked fine in this laptop under RH6.2, but I could not get this card to work with RH9.0 at all. Instead, I get an unenlightening error message:

	Unable to free unallocated resource
With no obvious cure - possibly I have messed up my /etc/pcmcia/config.opts file, though the other suspect may be the change of using the yenta_socket rather then pcmcia_cs code. I have similar problems with my Adaptec SCSI and some IDE PCMCIA cards (including the PCGA-CD51 CD-ROM)-: Pointers very welcome.

Infra Red

Uses the nsc-ircc FIR driver - working on this...


Hardware is Yamaha YMF744, have not got working yet.


As none of the function keys are supported in the BIOS c/o of APM, it is not possible to force the video signal to the external SVGA display dongle.

Still to do

The APM-based suspend under RH6.2 worked nicely, and I do not regard the lack of support for resume/suspend in ACPI as necessarily a step forward ! Once am feeling brave I will give a go.

Last updated 16-Jan-04