Installing Linux Mandrake 10.0 on SONY VAIO PCG-Z1XMP

Many hacks in this page are a bit mysterious to me. If you read this page and see that there is something I ovbiously miss or don't understand, send me a mail (contact informations here).

Basic installation

Problem: Network card is not recognized by the standard network boot disk. Use CDs.

No other problems should occur during the installation. At the end of the installation, most nice features of laptops do not work properly.

Kernel config

As I write this document, I can't really tell which feature really need a new kernel. Wifi and swsusp for sure.

Anyway, it can't be bad to have an up-to-date kernel. Here is my .config for 2.6.8.1. It is not prefect, assuming that most useless modules are still there.

You should patch your kernel for swsusp2 if you want this feature (see Swsusp section)

Important modifications of standard config are:

With a new kernel, Mandrake will complain about the lack of supermount. I don't care, I don't like it.

ACPI

Modules

ACPI modules do not load automatically. Add them manually in /etc/module.preload:

Scripts

Events are in /etc/acpi/events. Actions are in /etc/acpi/actions. Here is my /etc/acpi It handles:

It doesn't handle:

Dynamic processor frequence

The centrino can change its own frquence to save battery life. Two way to handle that:

You need a suitable kernel config (see Kernel section above).

Same problem as with ACPI, modules do not load automatically. Add 'speedstep-centrino' to your /etc/modprobe.preload, then powernowd should work without any problem.

Hard Disks Tuning

Hard disk performance is poor without tuning. Edit /etc/sysconfig/harddisks and change all options to 1, especially DMA and 32 bits access.

Another problem is the very annoying noise of the harddrive (one CLICK every 5 seconds or something). It comes from a power management mode. Add "-B 255" in EXTRAPARAMS in /etc/sysconfig/harddisks to remove it (equivalent to hdparm -B 255 /dev/hda). When you use your laptop on batteries, laptop-mode change that anyway.

Sony special keys

I use sonypidd and spicctrl (mdk packages). In my computer, sonypidd have a very strange behaviour:

Therefore, I run this script in /etc/X11/Xsession:

sudo /sbin/modprobe sonypi
sudo /sbin/modprobe -r sonypi
sudo /sbin/modprobe sonypi
sudo /usr/sbin/sonypidd

And I add the corresponding lines in visudo:

ALL     ALL=NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/sonypidd
ALL     ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/modprobe sonypi
ALL     ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/modprobe -r sonypi

This is very ugly, I'll try to investigate that as soon as I can.

Laptop mode.

This tool increase significantly battery life (4 hours with standard one, 10 hours with big one). I changed AC_HDPARM_POWERMGMT_WITHOUT_LM to 255 in /etc/laptop-mode/laptop-mode.conf, to remove HD power management when ac adapter is pluged (because of its annoying noise).

One consequence of the use of laptop-mode is that when you brutaly switch off system, you loose 10 minutes of buffered work.

Laptop-mode install an acpi script which stop laptop-mode when running out of batteries, but as batteries acpi alarms are not supported, it does not work. Use my /etc/acpi and my check_battery script instead (see above).

Wifi

Last version of ipw2200 works fine, but you need a recent kernel.