Installing Ubuntu Jaunty on a Sony Vaio SZ6

This is a guide for installation of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) on the Sony Vaio SZ650 notebook computer. Sony have produced many similar models with minor variations in hardware configuration or market location, which are given slightly different model numbers starting with VGN-SZ6. The later SZ7 and earlier SZ4 and SZ5 series have strong similarities with the SZ6 series so these instructions may be useful for those models as well. If you find anything that's missing here, or have any other comments, please email me.

These instructions are an update on an earlier guide for Ubuntu Hardy (8.04)

Ubuntu Version

I run the 64-bit desktop version of Jaunty, downloadable here or from a mirror close to you. The torrent is usually very quick and reliable so consider using the torrent file rather than downloading the ISO directly. Ubuntu ships as a single CDROM.

Prepare the Ground

These instructions assume that you install with your Vaio in STAMINA mode. Put the CDROM in the drive and if you need to, hit F2 and change the boot options to allow booting from CDROM. Boot into the live CD or just install from CD. The installation process is very straightforward and there's lots of support around if you search the Web for it (I'd start at Ubuntu Forums).

Graphics

Graphics configuration has been a bit of a pain, but is now basically fixed. You can get full support of backlight and 3D, and the STAMINA-SPEED switch is supported (though requires a reboot).

To get 3D support on both the Intel and nVidia adapters on Jaunty, you need to do a little hacking about, but not much. There are a couple of scripts out there but they are now obsolete because the organisation of the drivers has changed. A similar fate will probably befall these instructions; if you find that they don't work, please email me.

There are 2 important libraries for 3D acceleration: libGL.so and libglx.so. The Intel driver uses libGL.so.1.2 (from libgl1-mesa-glx) and libglx.so (from xserver-xorg-core) while the nVidia driver uses libGL.so.180.44 and libglx.so.180.44 (from nvidia-glx-180; version is variable). When each driver or 3D package is installed from the .deb, these files and links get clobbered; in particular, libglx.so. So the strategy is to create a protected version by changing its name and using a link that we switch at boot. This will likely break when updated drivers are installed.

I install Jaunty with the Intel adapter active; that meant that I had a file called libglx.so in /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/. This needs to be copied to libglx.so.mesa.

]$ sudo cp /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so.mesa

Also make a link called /usr/lib/libGL.so to /usr/lib/libGL.so.1:

]$ sudo ln -sf /usr/lib/libGL.so.1 /usr/lib/libGL.so

Then create a script which switches between the two 3D libraries by changing the targets of the symbolic links

]$ sudo gedit /etc/init.d/xorg_conf

Put this text into it:

#!/bin/sh
#
# Set the appropriate xorg.conf and GL links for the speed/stamina video card switch
#

VIDEO=`/usr/bin/lspci |grep -c nVidia`

if [ "$VIDEO" = 1 ]; then
  cp -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf.speed /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  ln -sf /usr/lib/libGL.so.180.44 /usr/lib/libGL.so.1
  ln -sf /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so.180.44 /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so
else
  cp -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf.stamina /etc/X11/xorg.conf
  ln -sf /usr/lib/libGL.so.1.2 /usr/lib/libGL.so.1
  ln -sf /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so.mesa /usr/lib/xorg/modules/extensions/libglx.so
fi

Save the file and close gedit, then make the file executable and also run at boot:

]$ sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/xorg_conf
]$ sudo ln -sf /etc/init.d/xorg_conf /etc/rc2.d/S12xorg_conf

You will also need two Xorg configuration files; the ones that work for me on Jaunty right now (April 2009; they are bound to change) are xorg.conf.speed and xorg.conf.stamina. Save these files to your /etc/X11/ directory.

You have to make sure that you've got all the right drivers installed. If you are currently using the nVidia driver and SPEED mode, I'd advise uninstalling nvidia-glx-180, rebooting into STAMINA mode and starting fresh. Otherwise, just install the nVidia driver while still in STAMINA mode:

]$ sudo apt-get update
]$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-glx-180

This removes /usr/lib/libGL.so.1.2, so you have to get the package from packages.ubuntu.com (64-bit | 32-bit), open the deb with Archive Manager, extract libGL.so.1.2 (it's buried in the deb archive's directories) and copy it to /usr/lib/

Finally, log into Jaunty in SPEED mode and enable the nVidia driver (version 180) in System->Administration->Hardware Drivers and restart.

Please note that the Intel 965 is blacklisted by Compiz due to LP 363821, so there are no desktop effects in STAMINA mode.

Backlight

Backlight support for Vaios with nVidia 8 series graphics (e.g. SPEED mode on Vaio SZ6 and SZ7) is now incorporated in nvclock (incorporating smartdimmer) and there will be a nice integrated solution soon. Make sure you have nvclock installed for basic backlight control, and until HAL has been updated you have to specify the hotkey event manually.

]$ sudo apt-get install nvclock
]$ nvclock -S 100
]$ nvclock -S 15
]$ nvclock -S +10

Enable the "brighter" hotkey:

]$ sudo gedit /etc/acpi/events/sony-brightness-up

put this text into it:

event=sony/hotkey SPIC 00000001 00000011
action=/usr/bin/nvclock -S +10

And the "dimmer" hotkey:

]$ sudo gedit /etc/acpi/events/sony-brightness-down

put this text into it:

event=sony/hotkey SPIC 00000001 00000010
action=/usr/bin/nvclock -S -10

Make the scripts executable

]$ sudo chmod +x /etc/acpi/events/sony-brightness-*

Restart acpid

]$ sudo /etc/init.d/acpid restart

If you have a different model, you might have different keys controlling your backlight. To check the event ID, run

]$ acpi_listen

Audio

Ubuntu Jaunty contains ALSA that supports the sound card, but you have to do a bit of configuring yourself. Open the ALSA config file:

]$ sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

Add these lines to the end:

alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel
options snd-card-0 index=0
options snd-hda-intel model=vaio

Then restart your Vaio.

Then in the volume control app (double click the wee speaker icon by the clock), Edit->Preferences and check all the check boxes.

Webcam

Support for the webcam was previously supplied by the kernel module r5u870, and is now supported by the firmware loader r5u87x. I found these instructions, which worked for me:

]$ sudo apt-get install libglib2.0-dev libusb-dev build-essential gcc automake fakeroot mercurial
]$ hg clone http://bitbucket.org/ahixon/r5u87x/
]$ cd r5u87x
]$ make
]$ make rules
]$ sudo make install
]$ sudo r5u87x-loader --reload

r5u87x was nominated for inclusion in the Ubuntu repositories but there were some problems with the package. Keep an eye on this bug and this bug for updates to this issue.

Bluetooth LED

I've got no bluetooth peripherals so no need for bluetooth. It just uses power and gives people a way to poke at your computer. If you turn bluetooth off by disabling the modules (e.g. with powertop), the LED stays on, and the device stays powered. To turn off the device you have to enable the superuser (root) account by going to System->Administration->Users and Groups then:

]$ su
]$ echo "0" > /sys/devices/platform/sony-laptop/bluetoothpower

And voila, the LED goes out and power supply to bluetooth ceases.

Battery and Power Management

The best way to extend battery life is to install powertop and follow the on-screen instructions:

]$ sudo apt-get install powertop
]$ sudo powertop

The battery-saving feature of the Windows install makes the battery stop charging at 50%, 80% or 100%; the only way to get to 100% charge is to turn off the battery-saving feature in Windows (in the Vaio control panel). See this bug report.

Also, check out Less Watts.

Hard disk

These disk-related devices are unsupported:

Fingerprint sensor

Support for the fingerprint sensor is partial. If you don't mind compiling your own drivers, try these instructions, and keep up to date with LP 163156.

External Resources

These were useful sources of information:

Device List

This is here for completeness: note the output of lspci is different if you are in SPEED or STAMINA mode.

]$ lspci
00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 Memory Controller Hub (rev 0c)

SPEED mode:
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile PM965/GM965/GL960 PCI Express Root Port (rev 0c)

STAMINA mode:
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0c)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile GM965/GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0c)

Both:
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 1 (rev 03)
00:1c.1 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 2 (rev 03)
00:1c.2 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 3 (rev 03)
00:1c.3 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) PCI Express Port 4 (rev 03)
00:1d.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI Controller #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI Controller #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev f3)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82801HEM (ICH8M) LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) IDE Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 SATA controller: Intel Corporation 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M/ICH8M-E) SATA AHCI Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)

SPEED mode:
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation GeForce 8400M GS (rev a1)

Both:
06:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation PRO/Wireless 4965 AG or AGN Network Connection (rev 61)
07:00.0 Ethernet controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88E8055 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller (rev 12)
09:04.0 CardBus bridge: Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Cardbus Controller
09:04.1 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Texas Instruments PCIxx12 OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
09:04.2 Mass storage controller: Texas Instruments 5-in-1 Multimedia Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO/xD)

]$ lsusb
Bus 007 Device 004: ID 054c:0281 Sony Corp. <- Vaio memory card adapter
Bus 007 Device 001: ID 0000:0000  
Bus 006 Device 003: ID 05ca:183a Ricoh Co., Ltd  <- webcam 
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 0000:0000  
Bus 005 Device 003: ID 044e:300d Alps Electric Co., Ltd <- bluetooth
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000  
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000  
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000  
Bus 003 Device 002: ID 046d:c018 Logitech, Inc. <- an external USB mouse
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000  
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 147e:2016  <- UPEK touchstrip fingerprint scanner
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

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This file last modified 0803hrs 28 July 2011 Michael Doube 2004-2014 :: Designed to be interoperable and standards-compliant. Looks best with Mozilla Firefox.