Sony VAIO SZ6 and Ubuntu

Update Oct 28 2007:: The webcam now works!

Update Oct 18 2007:: Suspend/Resume works with the 2.6.23 linux kernel.

I purchased a Sony VGN-SZ650N/C in September 2007. Full specs are here. It’s a great laptop except for the fact that you have to pay the Microsoft Tax and that the preinstalled vista has a whole heap of junk preinstalled (I’ve never seen anything quite this bad before. Anyways, this is not a review, there’s plenty of those online already, but an attempt to document my efforts to make the GNU/Linux distribution: Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (32 bit)  run smoothly on this laptop and by extension, hopefully the rest in the VAIO SZ6xx series. Most of the stuff in here is more or less distribution independent and should work on recent version of Fedora/OpenSUSE/Gentoo/whatever as well. I have not had the time to spend too much time on all of the items below yet, this is very much a document “under construction”. If you happen to have something working which I have not mentioned/solved yet please write me and I will put it here (and give proper credit of course).

PCI Devices

Here is the output from lspci in stamina mode.

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile Memory Controller Hub (rev 0c)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0c)
00:02.1 Display controller: Intel Corporation Mobile Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 0c)
00:1a.0 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI #4 (rev 03)
00:1a.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI #5 (rev 03)
00:1a.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI #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 #1 (rev 03)
00:1d.1 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI #2 (rev 03)
00:1d.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB UHCI #3 (rev 03)
00:1d.7 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) USB2 EHCI #1 (rev 03)
00:1e.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 82801 Mobile PCI Bridge (rev f3)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Mobile LPC Interface Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation Mobile IDE Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.2 IDE interface: Intel Corporation Mobile SATA IDE Controller (rev 03)
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) SMBus Controller (rev 03)
06:00.0 Network controller: Intel Corporation Unknown device 4229 (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)

USB Devices

Here is the output from lsusb:

Bus 006 Device 003: ID 05ca:183a Ricoh Co., Ltd
Bus 006 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 007 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 147e:2016
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 005 Device 002: ID 044e:300d Alps Electric Co., Ltd
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 0000:0000
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 0000:0000

Installation

The installation worked without any problems (using Ubuntu Gubsy Gibbon Tribe 5), I used the “stamina” mode.

Sound

Worked partly out of the box. The sound works, but speakers are not independent from the head phone plug. This means that plugging in head phones does not mute the speakers, and the speakers cannot manually be muted without also muting the head phones. In general, alsa exports very few controls for the sound card (which is a Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) ). Ubuntu is running Alsa version 1.0.14, and the changelog for 1.0.15rc1 lists a lot of changes to the snd-hda-intel driver, which is good. I have not tried installing any release canditate of 1.0.15, but will probably try it.

Update:
I installed alsa version 1.0.15rc2 and now the speakers are muted when the headphones are inserted. The microphone works as well after enabling it in the mixer. Using the GNOME alsa mixer, it looks like this:
screenshot-volume-control-hda-intel-alsa-mixer.png

Suspend/Hibernate

Suspend/Resume works with the 2.6.23 release of the linux kernel. See The Master Kernel Thread for help on compiling your own kernel. Note that you will have to install the wireless drivers for the Intel 4965 wlan card as well, which is a bit tricky. More information about that process can be found here.

Fingerprint Scanner

Not working yet.

Webcam

The webcam, identified by lsusb as:

Bus 005 Device 005: ID 05ca:183a Ricoh Co., Ltd

works by patching the Ricoh R5U870 linux driver as explained by Utz-Uwe Haus.

Brightness Controls

Not working yet.

Stamina vs. Speed mode

Not tested yet, should work out of the box. You need to use different xorg.conf files. This little script by Ariel Vardi copies the right xorg.conf file on startup depending on whether or not the nvidia card is activated or not.

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

if [ "$VIDEO" = 1 ]; then
cp -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf.speed /etc/X11/xorg.conf
else
cp -f /etc/X11/xorg.conf.stamina /etc/X11/xorg.conf
fi

The script should be placed in the /etc/init.d so it is run on startup (before gdm) and the two xorg configurations (speed and stamina) should exist, full details on Ariel Vardi’s excellent site.

73 thoughts on “Sony VAIO SZ6 and Ubuntu

  1. ok, now it works. I have not tried negative values before :-). Using negative values reduces the brightness.

  2. Has anybody succeeded in setting up both the intel X3100 and the Nvidia 8400M to be used with compiz?

    Nic

  3. Hi Thomas,

    I got an SZ650N recently and this page is great! I haven’t been able to get the touchpad working as it should, i.e. with tap-drag to drag windows, or with scrolling. Also, the lid switch doesn’t work for me.

    Anyone have these two problems solved?

    S

  4. Hey, I have an SZ640 which has recently lost all signs of life. It was working fine the night before, but wouldn’t start the following morning.

    Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions as to what the problem might be would be great.

    Thanks

  5. Colin

    That can happen if you let your battery deep discharge – I did that by accident a few times with my old Acer Aspire by leaving it suspended for ages. I just had to let it charge for a while before trying to switch it back on.

    Mike

  6. Has anyone upgraded to Hardy? If so, is you sound working properly? My headphone jack is not working, once again.

  7. Hi! great site! I would ask how to tur on and off the bluetooth becouse it is turnet on by default!

    thanks!

  8. Thomas, are you using 8.04 without any sound problems? I haven’t found any other suggestions so my headphone jack still isn’t working.

  9. I actually switched to Fedora 9 after a short stint of Debian unstable. None of that should matter though, Hardy Heron ought to have the right version of alsa for this to work. Is the sound muted when you plug in your head phones, or does nothing happen at all? (Or does sound come both the speakers and the head phones)

    Have you seen this link: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Gutsy_Intel_HD_Audio_Controller

  10. No, I haven’t. I’ll check it out thanks.

    Without this line, options snd-hda-intel model=vaio in alsa-base, I get sound but only from the speakers. When I add that line, I get no sound. It’s not that the sound is muted. I checked both the gnome alsa mixer and alsamixer in the shell.

    My sound worked with alsa 1.0.15, so I thought I’d go back to that. I’m having troubles compiling it, however.

    I get this message:

    make[1]: Entering directory `/usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.24-16-generic’
    scripts/Makefile.build:46: *** CFLAGS was changed in “/usr/src/alsa-driver-1.0.15rc2/acore/Makefile”. Fix it to use EXTRA_CFLAGS. Stop.

    I’m not sure what to make of it.

  11. Thanks, I hadn’t seen it, but I’ll check it out.

    As for my sound, without this line, options snd-hda-intel model=vaio in alsa-base, I have sound from the speakers. When I add it, I have no sound at all.

  12. Thanks! Great site. I have Ubuntu Hardy running fine in a VAIO SZ650N and nVidia with just two problems:

    - Suspend and Hibernate not reliable.
    - Integrated Memory Stick reader can not be mounted.

    Any suggestions specially for the first problem?

  13. Just an update that it appears a fingerprint scanner solution is in the works and UPEK had confirmed several times that a driver is in alpha and hopefully beta by now. I have emailed them requesting the driver if it is to beta condition (they targeted a 5/2008 release).

    Also a developer named Daniel Drake has said he most likely can work with it, but I believe has held off waiting for the offical one. Read more at:

    http://projects.reactivated.net/fprint/bugs/index.php?do=details&task_id=9

  14. Well I got a reply. It’s not a driver they are releasing, but rather a SDK. According to the EULA the library itself is redistributable so it looks like we have what we need now to write a interface, possibly integrating with fprint. Mirek Buran, the same guy others have talked with is how gave me the link and again asked that I not redistribute the package of course.

    I’ll work on a proof of concept / test that it works and update here soon!

  15. Hey,

    I’ve got a Vaio VGN SZ61 and first of all I have to say thx cause youre page helped alot since I´m new to Linux.
    If brought the Motion Eye Camera to work with the R5U870 driver, but it but it works not correctly with wengophone and linphone(Wengo->Alot of Green Pixels in the Picture, Linphone->Totally distored Picture, mostly black). I was wonder if you maybe know what this problem may cause or if other SZ6 useres have the same problem.

    Thx

  16. I guess I never really used the speed/stamina switch or something, and only recently learned that it switched graphics chips. Now I want it to work, but I guess it is broken. With the switch in either position lspci never lists nVidia.

    Is there a way other than the switch to get speed mode?

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