TuxMobil - Linux on Laptops, PDAs and mobile Phones

Linux On The Sony Vaio PCG-TR1MP

Last updated 27 August 2004 by stray@stray.ch

Summary

Most of the features of the TR1MP/TR1A work under linux. While it may be easier to rely on some 3rd party closed source commercial drivers (for full screen resolution and the built-in wireless card), you can get the rest to work with open source components, too. The Motion Eye camera won't work, and hibernation is limited to swsusp.

About the TR1MP

  • Comes pre-partitioned with two 15 GB chunks
  • Booting from internal CD-ROM is no problem
  • BIOS settings seem to allow for network boot, too
  • Full specs are here

Installation

I installed Fedora Core 2 on the TR1MP. No problem there... I installed Linux on the second 15 GB partition, and although the installer warns you about this, GRUB boots the pre-installed XP and the Fedora core just fine.

 

Video

Although X works with 1024x768, you need to either patch your VBIOS using an experimental hack by deyzarc, or a proprietary server to run in the full 1280x768 mode for now. Given the fact you just bought this machine, shelling out a bit more to make it work under Linux might be an option for you (it was for me).

I got this server from xig.com, and it does the job for me. There's a free trial version that restarts X after a couple of minutes, check it out. Installation is pretty simple, but the kernel module that's installed won't work for 2.6. If the installer needs to compile a module for your system, make sure the kernel source is there, and check that there's a soft link to /usr/src/linux. The server from xig will then allow you to run using the full screen, and also allows for configuration of additional input devices (usb mice, tablets..) and also make use of the external monitor adapter (mirrored and dualhead both work, yes...). The server is accelerated (3D) for your tuxracer needs :-)

While this solution is probably not viable for open source purists, it gets the job done.

Check our deyzarc's solution if this isn't your cup of tea: Andrew aka deyzarc wrote a VBIOS patcher that lets you use the regular X server in full resolution mode. For more information see his announcement here or download his patch here.

Audio/Sound

Audio works fine using the ALSA drivers. I'm not sure if OSS would also work, the drivers loaded fine, but I couldn't get the "External Amplifier" to unmute. This is also the trick with the ALSA installation.. open alsamixer and unmute the rightmost control (press m). (Thanks to Wolfram Schlich for pointing this out!)

If you get OSS to unmute, please let me know!

 

Internal Ethernet 10/100

Works with the regular e100 module. Nothing to see here, move on :-)

Built-in wireless LAN

Like the video part, this will work using a proprietary driver. WLAN DriverLoader from Linuxant will let you use the chip. It's actually a wrapper for using the Windows driver..

One thing about the DriverLoader: I couldn't get it to actually route packets (AP discovery worked though) until I enabled ACPI.

There seems to be an open source attempt called ndiswrapper to do the same. Check it out here. I haven't tried this yet though. If you know if it works with this machine, please let me know!

Update 18. Feb 2004: Thomas Hirsch reports:

I just wanted to drop you a note that ndiswrapper works quite nicely on my TR1MP. After a few attempts (I realized that, when they say "make sure you disable SMP support", they mean it) I managed to bring my wireless to work.

Thank you Thomas!

 

Battery, Power, ACPI

Make sure you have acpi support in your kernel or modules, and pass acpi=on to your kernel at boot time (add it to grub.conf for instance..), or you won't get the battery status and other nice stuff like temperature etc. in /proc/acpi.

I got the machine to hibernate to swap using software-suspend 2.0.0.104 on a kernel 2.6.8.1. To get this to work, make sure that:

  • You have a big enough swap partition ready
  • Compile software suspend 2 into the kernel with "ACPI S4 support" disabled; if it's enabled, hibernating will lock the machine after shutdown and it has to be re-cycled by removing the battery
  • If you're using the linuxant drivers for the wifi card, unload them before going to sleep.
The XiG server now behaves nicely upon waking up the machine.

 

That's all for now

The TR1MP is very usable under linux for me, but your mileage may vary. If you have any more information on hardware support, please drop me a line and let's keep our fingers crossed that Intel will soon keep their promise to release Linux drivers for their chipsets.

Does anyone have information about the following?

  • Motion Eye camera support on the TR1MP? There seems to be a project on sourceforge with the goal of building a driver, but it looks very dead.
  • "Native" suspend support using acpi?
  • Using the volume controls on the screen lid?

Links


Login | Current user: Guest | Elapsed: 0.024797 seconds. Requests: 4. Average: 0.02886025