VaioDiva: Linux on a Vaio PCG-FX190K

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I recently purchased a Sony Vaio PCG-FX190K from Fry's. I got a good enough price that even several months later, I'm still seeing them being sold for more than I paid for mine. I primarily needed a laptop that ran Linux and had the most resolution (dots on the screen) for the least money. So, for the things that I need it for, primarily editing software and connecting to the net, it works just fine.

However, it has lots of nifty features that I'd like to be able to make use of. For example, I can neither play mpegs, nor any sound under linux. Mpegs, and realmedia, just show up with blue in the screen, much like when they are on the second display of my dual headed home system. I've been too busy with work to spend a lot of time wrestling with trying to figure out how to configure this system.

The point of this page is to collect information helpful for people trying to run Linux on one of these machines.

I've set up a Yahoo group to discuss these issues, and to exchange configuration files and suchlike:

I have mine set up as a dual boot system in Windows 2000 professional. I tried to repartition the drive, but that failed miserably. The install disk that came with the machine doesn't give you any choice in partitioning, and if you try anything else, it falls over seriously. I just bit the bullet and left /dev/hda1 the factory configured size and split the rest of it up into /dev/hda2 (my root file system) and /dev/hda4 as swap:

[root@unsigned root]# fdisk -l

Disk /dev/hda: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 3648 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *         1      1531  12297726    c  Win95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/hda2          1532      3499  15807960   83  Linux
/dev/hda4          3500      3648   1196842+  82  Linux swap

My XF86Config file is at:

Various collected configuration files.

A bit of research and I found gvaiocontrols, which was written for another Vaio, but seems to run on the 190, if you're root. It allows you to adjust the LCD brightness. My copies are at:

And the original site is at:"

I initially had some problems with the internal ethernet. But only on my home network, and only while running Linux. When I substituted my hub for a switch, so that there wasn't a 10-base-T NIC around, the problems cleared up. I suspect that the Linux driver for the NIC, does not properly handle changing speed, or noting when there's a 10 Mb NIC around.

It has a winmodem, that I didn't even bother with trying to wrestle into submission. I was given a PCMCIA modem by a friend, but have since determined that as of January 2002, the best place to find a modem card for it in the San Jose area is Central Computer. Don't even bother looking at Fry's. All they have are winmodems.

When I got my noisy harddrive replaced, I decided to try reinstalling with debian rather than redhat. Various notes and files on that project are at:

VAIO specific links:
Kryz's Vaio Page

Linux on Laptops links:

Links courtesy of Mike Rose:
Sony Support Wireless LAN
Vaio PCG-C1F Subnotebook
Linux on a Sony Vaio FX209K - orig
Linux on a Sony Vaio FX209K
Linux on Sony VAIO PCG F-series laptops
Linux on the Sony VAIO
Linux on the Sony Vaio PCG-C1XS and the Sony Vaio PCG-F680
Linux on Laptops - bugzilla
REDHAT.COM -- Serving the Linux and Open Source Communities
Linux Laptop-HOWTO Hardware In Detail
Freezer Burn - Increasing the Penguin Population
ORiNOCO - Linux Driver for ORiNOCO v6.10 - Summer 2001 release.
Linux PCMCIA Information

Larry Colen
Copyright (C) 2002 Larry Colen
Most recently modified by vaiodiva at Mon Jul 28 11:46:51 PDT 2003