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Running Linux on a Sony VAIO Z600RE Laptop


PIII-500, 128MB, 12GB UDMA, 16x CD-ROM external, FDD external, 12.1" TFT XGA


I am running a GNU/Debian Potato system installed by Xtops.DE. I used the installed Kernel 2.2.15 (which already allowed access on the CD-ROM) to upgrade the system to support additional devices (see below).

It's possible to install directly from CD if you give these kernel parameters at the LILO boot prompt:



As suggested by Andy Schofield I compiled a new Kernel from the 2.3.99pre9 sources.

I had to apply the same hack of linux/arch/i386/kernel/pci-pc.c as mentioned: in the file linux/arch/i386/kernel/pci-pc.c in the function pcibios_enable_device() add the line

if (dev->irq == 10) dev->irq = 0;   // Being 10 the IRQ of your
                                    // USB controller 

Just before:

if (!dev->irq) {
                u8 pin;

I can't find any drawbacks on performance, but now any new USB-device is recognized automatically. In addition, the BIOS PnP Option can be set on, which allows booting into different operating systems without BIOS fiddling.

I compiled almost any module (to get an impression of the performance :) See my Kernel Configuration (based on Andy's) for details.


The CD-ROM is connected by a PCMCIA-Card. You need the IDE Cardbus module for access. However, the location of the module seems to be changed from 2.2.x to 2.3.x modules: from pcmcia/ide_cs.o to ide/ide-cs.o. Since I a was to lazy to adopt the pcmcia settings I've set a symbolic link. Works fine. The CD-ROM can be plugged into the system without problems. It appears as /dev/hde. Pay attention to not eject a mounted CD (which is not prevented as known from desktops), since it leads to an instable PCMCIA system. At least the pcmcia has to be restarted.


The internal ethernet adaptor card was the major reason I upgraded the system: It didn't worked well with former 2.2.x kernel versions, but now the ethpro100 works fine (transfer rates of about 1500 KB/s inside my local network are not that bad).



You may find a Jog-Dial driverby Takaya Kinjo. Probably you have to change two things in the spicdriver/Makefile:

  • CCFLAG has to be extended with -D_LOOSE_KERNEL_NAMES
  • CCFLAG has to be extended with -I/usr/src/linux-<kernel-version>/include

The README seems to be in Japanese, here is my English version.

$ tar xvzf jogutils.tar.gz
$ cd jogutils
$ make
$ su
# mknod /dev/spic c 60 0
# insmod spicdriver/spicdriver
# exit
$ cp jogapp/rcfile ~/.jogapprc
$ jogapp/jogapp


I heard also, ISHIKAWA Mutsumi has written jogdiald, but I didn't have time to test it.


sjog is a program that uses the Sony Vaio laptops Jog Wheel to launch user applications. S-Jøg is also able to adjust the brightness of the Vaio screen and the sound volume using the Jog Wheel. S-Jøg pops up when you move the Jog Wheel then disappears after 3 seconds of inactivity.

PictureBook Tools

"This program captures images and movies on a Sony VAIO picturebook laptop, taking advantage of the built in CCD camera, hardware JPEG encoder, and jog dial. It also includes a utility to change the brightness of the laptop's backlight, and a utility to display detailed battery information. It may also be useful on other Sony laptops with similar hardware but without the picturebook's camera." I had no time to check this programm yet.

I/O Driver in 2.4.x Kernels

Please see ../Documentation/sonypi.txt in Kernels >= 2.4.7


picctrl is a small program that can use the Sony Programmable I/O Control device (SPIC), which is part of Sony Vaio's, to do a few simple things. Currently, it can only be used to control the brightness on the LCD backlight, and print out some information about the battery.


The touchpad is a PS/2 as usual. In addition I compiled USB HID support into the kernel. With the settings above, the mouse is hot plugable. According to the www.linux-usb.org user guide I created a /dev/input/mice device

mkdir /dev/input
mknod /dev/input/mice c 13 63

For XFree86 you have to add a Xinput section to your XF86Config:

Section "Xinput"
	SubSection "Mouse"
		DeviceName "USB Mice"
		Protocol   "IMPS/2"
		Port       "/dev/input/mice"
		ZAxisMapping	4 5
		Buttons		5

As you can see, this is the configuration for a wheel mouse.


The external floppy is connected via a USB port. You have to insert the usb-storage module and scsi support. For me the floppy seems to be hot plugable without problems, it appears under /dev/sda


Again I refer to Andy's Page . He explains the settings for the new ALSA package 0.5.8a, which is necessary for the Yamaha DS-XG. Sound works quite well, however I can't listen to audio CDs yet.

Modem (PCMCIA)

The modem is a MC221 ComOne PCMCIA modem. To me it seems like a WinModem (CardBus) and I couldn't get to work. I have tried ltmodem_cs, ltmodem, serial_cs and serial_cb module. [WH]

Power Saving

Suspend and hybernate works. Initiated by the Fn-Keys or by simply closing the display. The sound has the be restarted after awaking the system: reinsert the snd-card-ymfpci module. The ethernet card seems not to the be affected. In addition the the xscreensaver can be configured to switch off the display (under GNOME).

On another machine I used the lphdisk utility which intended to be the Linux equivalent of the DOS-only utility "PHDISK.EXE" from Phoenix. This utility prepares and formats the hibernation partition for notebook computers that use Phoenix NoteBIOS. Once this partition has been prepared, it can be used with the BIOS's APM Suspend-To-Disk feature. And it works fine on the VAIO Z600RE. [WH]

Fn Keys

I don't know why, but I have access on the hardware settings (like volume, brightness, video output, ... ) via the keyboard as the icons imply. Use Fn-(Key) to increase and Fn-Shift-(Key) for decrease. From Win98 the features are known from the jog-dial.

Frank Ronneburg reported for a Sony VAIO 505X , which seems to be the predecessor of the Sony VAIO Z600RE:

Fn+Sound            first time OFF, second time ON (volume doesn't work)
Fn+Brightness       brighter
Fn+Shift+Brightness darker
Fn+Zz               don't use, machine will lock
Fn+LCD/VGA          LCD or VGA or LCD+VGA

The key combination <Fn>+<d> seems to shut of the display backlight and <Fn>+<f> toggles the resolution in console mode. Couldn't check this, because I don't have this machine anymore [WH].

Hard Disk

I have got two reports of problems with the hard disk, under heavy CPU load (e.g. burning MP3s to a CD). This is possbibly caused by to much heat emitted by the CPU. [WH]


The XF86Config (3.3.6) file made by Xtops.DE.

The XF86Config-4 (4.0.1) file made by Xtops.DE.


  • Paul Czerwionka <paulc_at_pacemedia.de>


'lanoche' report , automatically created, with some manual changes


This is a survey about Linux related hardware features of the VAIO PCG-Z600RE. I don't try to explain the usual installation details (for instance, which partitions I have made).


On my VAIO PCG-Z600RE I have installed the Debian 2.2 Linux distribution. The installation wasn't possible from the PCMCIA-CD or the USB floppy drive. So I had to choose a separate hard disk partition, where I put the initial Debian files from CD first.

General Hardware Data

General system information:
Linux debian 2.2.15 #1 Tue Apr 25 17:13:48 EST 2000 i686 unknown

Calibrating delay loop... 989.59 BogoMIPS
Filesystem           1k-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/hda7              5043900    340316   4447352   7% /
/dev/hda1              2044244   1029140   1015104  50% /dos/c
/dev/hda6                23300      1407     20690   6% /boot

Disk /dev/hda: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 1467 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1             1       255   2048256    b  Win95 FAT32
/dev/hda2   *       256      1467   9735390    f  Win95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/hda5           256       262     56196    b  Win95 FAT32
/dev/hda6           263       265     24066   83  Linux
/dev/hda7           266       903   5124703+  83  Linux
/dev/hda8           904      1433   4257193+   b  Win95 FAT32
/dev/hda9          1434      1450    136521   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda10         1451      1467    136521   83  Linux

Disk /dev/hdc: 1 heads, 2147483647 sectors, 1 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2147483647 * 512 bytes


Output of probe:

	PCI bridge probe: Ricoh RL5C475 found, 2 sockets. 


Output of SuperProbe:

SuperProbe Version 2.21 (12 October 1999)
	(c) Copyright 1993,1994 by David Wexelblat dwex_at_xfree86.org
	(c) Copyright 1994-1998 by The XFree86 Project, Inc


First video: Super-VGA
	Chipset: Yamaha 6388 VPDC (Port Probed)
	RAMDAC:  Generic 8-bit pseudo-color DAC
		 (with 6-bit wide lookup tables (or in 6-bit mode))


Output of cat /dev/sndstat:

Load type: Driver loaded as a module
Kernel: Linux debian 2.2.15 #1 Tue Apr 25 17:13:48 EST 2000 i686
Config options: 0

Installed drivers: 

Card config: 

Audio devices:
0: Sound Blaster Pro (8 BIT ONLY) (3.01)

Synth devices:

Midi devices:
0: Sound Blaster

0: System clock

0: Sound Blaster

Infrared Port - IrDA(TM)

ttyS00 at 0x03f8 (irq = 4) is a 16550A
ttyS02 at 0x03e8 (irq = 4) is a 8250


hdc: ATAPI 16X CD-ROM drive, 128kB Cache
Uniform CDROM driver Revision: 2.56


Floppy drive(s): fd0 is 1.44M
floppy0: no floppy controllers found
QIC-117 driver for QIC-40/80/3010/3020 floppy tape drives
[000] ftape-init.c (ftape_init) - installing QIC-117 floppy tape hardware drive ... .
vfs interface for ftape floppy tape driver.

Survey PCI Devices

Output from lspci:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX - 82443BX/ZX Host bridge [..]
00:01.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation 440BX/ZX - 82443BX/ZX AGP bridge [..]
00:07.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation 82371AB PIIX4 ISA (rev 02)
00:07.1 IDE interface: Intel Corporation 82371AB PIIX4 IDE (rev 01)
00:07.2 USB Controller: Intel Corporation 82371AB PIIX4 USB [..]
00:07.3 Bridge: Intel Corporation 82371AB PIIX4 ACPI (rev 03)
00:08.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Sony Corporation CXD3222 iLINK Controller [..]
00:09.0 Multimedia audio controller: Yamaha Corporation YMF-744B [..]
00:0b.0 Ethernet controller: Intel Corporation 82557 [Ethernet Pro 100] [..]
00:0c.0 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c475 (rev 80)
00:0d.0 FLASH memory: Sony Corporation: Unknown device 808a [..]
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Neomagic Corporation [MagicGraph 256AV] [..]

Survey RS232

Output from setserial:

/dev/ttyS0, Line 0, UART: 16550A, Port: 0x03f8, IRQ: 4
	Baud_base: 115200, close_delay: 50, divisor: 0
	closing_wait: 3000
	Flags: spd_normal skip_test

/dev/ttyS1, Line 1, UART: unknown, Port: 0x02f8, IRQ: 3
	Baud_base: 115200, close_delay: 50, divisor: 0
	closing_wait: 3000
	Flags: spd_normal skip_test

/dev/ttyS2, Line 2, UART: 8250, Port: 0x03e8, IRQ: 4
	Baud_base: 115200, close_delay: 50, divisor: 0
	closing_wait: 3000
	Flags: spd_normal skip_test

/dev/ttyS3, Line 3, UART: unknown, Port: 0x02e8, IRQ: 3
	Baud_base: 115200, close_delay: 50, divisor: 0
	closing_wait: 3000
	Flags: spd_normal  

Other Resources

This document is a courtesy of Frank Koormann - Intevation - Professional Service around Free Software. Some additions by me are marked [WH] At the end I have added an appendix created by 'lanoche' - the laptop and notebook report program. [WH]

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© Werner Heuser 1997-2015 · http://tuxmobil.org/sony_z600re.html · last change Mon Aug 31 2009