GNU/Linux on the Sony VAIO PCG-NV309

last modified: Aug 18, 2005@12:07:07.

Warning: This documentation comes with no warranty whatsoever. Use at your own risk. Or go home.

Distribution Mandrake 9.1 [updated to Mandriva LE 2005] works
Processor AMD Mobile Athlon 2000 XP works
RAM 256 MB PC100 SDRAM (512 MB Max) works
Chipset ? works
Display 15¨ TFT 1024 x 768 works
Graphics Adapter NVidia GeForce4 420 Go works
Sound Integrated Via chip VT 8233 (AC97) works
Hard Disk 30 GB ATA/IDE works
Optical Drive Matshita CD-RW/DVD Combo works
Ethernet Integrated 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX works
Modem Conexant Integrated V.90/K56flex Winmodem not tested
WLAN Netgear MA401 works
Pointing Device Two Button Touch Pad works
USB Three ports (UHCI) works
Battery Lithium-ion (PCGA-BP1N) works
i.LINK (aka IEEE 1394, FireWire) S400 4-pin not tested
Power Management ACPI works
Floppy Drive Removable 1.44 MB, 3.5¨ works


I'm running Linux Mandrake on my desktop computer so I chose the same distribution for my laptop as well. It used to be the Mandrake 9.1 Download edition. [Upgraded to Mandrake 9.2 on December 20th 2003.] Inserted the first cd into the cd/dvd drive and booted off the cd. I chose the usual software, configured X Windows and everything went smooth. Instead of a standard mouse I chose GlidePoint as a PS/2 device. In Mandrake 9.2 the standard PS/2 device works well, so I chose this.
In October 2004 I upgraded to Mandrake 10.1 Community edition. Most worked well. After Easy Urpmi included these sources as well, I was able to update the edition. In June 2005 I updated to Mandriva LE 2005.

I have not compiled a new kernel, because sound, touchpad and network adapter worked out of the box. There are some things left to be done, however. Power management (acpi) has not been thoroughly tested. I get messages that tell me eveything is alright, but I cannot get the jogdial working.


[tom@milo]$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
processor	: 0
vendor_id	: AuthenticAMD
cpu family	: 6
model		: 8
model name	: mobile AMD Athlon(tm) XP 2000+  
stepping	: 0
cpu MHz		: 1666.772
cache size	: 256 KB
fdiv_bug	: no
hlt_bug		: no
f00f_bug	: no
coma_bug	: no
fpu		: yes
fpu_exception	: yes
cpuid level	: 1
wp		: yes
flags		: fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov 
		  pat pse36 mmx fxsr sse syscall mmxext 3dnowext 3dnow
bogomips	: 3322.67


The machine has two memory slots, supporting a maximum of 512 MB RAM. It came with 256 MB. That's enough for now...


Sound worked with the Alsa drivers in Mandrake 9.1. The new Alsa drivers seem to be broken when using the via82xx driver. The oss emulation works but has annoying background noises, when using Alsa in xmms, no sound is heard. With a geexbox cd, which uses a newer Alsa driver, everything works. Strange. This is what dmesg has to say:

Via 686a/8233/8235 audio driver 1.9.1-ac2
via82cxxx: Six channel audio available
PCI: Setting latency timer of device 00:11.5 to 64
ac97_codec: AC97 Audio codec, id: YMH3 (Unknown)
via82cxxx: Codec rate locked at 48Khz
via82cxxx: board #1 at 0x1800, IRQ 11

With Mandrake 10.0 Community sound works again. So it looks like it really was a buggy Alsa driver. But then again in 10.1 there were sound problems...

Hard Disk

30 GB ATA/IDE drive: The disk came with two partitions; one held Windows XP Home Edition and the other contained only one directory for Sony's Sonic Stage application. I just formatted the second partition and installed Linux on it without affecting Windows.

[root@milo]# dmesg | grep -i hda

hda: IC25N030ATCS04-0, ATA DISK drive
hda: DMA disabled
hda: host protected area => 1
hda: 58605120 sectors (30006 MB) w/1768KiB Cache, CHS=3648/255/63, UDMA(100)
[root@milo]# /sbin/hdparm /dev/hda

 multcount    = 16 (on)
 IO_support   =  1 (32-bit)
 unmaskirq    =  1 (on)
 using_dma    =  1 (on)
 keepsettings =  0 (off)
 readonly     =  0 (off)
 readahead    =  8 (on)
 geometry     = 3648/255/63, sectors = 58605120, start = 0

[root@milo}# /sbin/hdparm -Tt /dev/hda

 Timing buffer-cache reads:   128 MB in  0.48 seconds =266.67 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  64 MB in  3.20 seconds = 20.00 MB/sec

Optical Drive

Vendor: MATSHITA Model: UJDA730 DVD/CDRW, 8x CD-R, 4x CD-RW, 24x CDROM, 8x DVD. According to another page about Linux on a Sony Vaio laptop, this drive is region locked (RPC-2) and that there's currently no known way to disable it.

The drive is manufactured by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., also known as Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Industries, Ltd. or Panasonic.

I've successfully burned CD-Rs using eroaster, have watched DVDs with Xine and have ripped CDs. I have problems listening to CDs though. Whether gnome-cd or grip is used, the drive plays the disc, but no sound is heard. However, the mixer settings are correct.


Integrated 10BASE-T/100BASE-TX ethernet card with a Realtek chip. I have used the network card only to connect my laptop with my t-dsl modem. I had no problems so far. I still have to test the card in my local network. At my parents' place it worked with a Netgear router and dhcp enabled. This is what dmesg says about the card:

eth0: RealTek RTL8139 Fast Ethernet at 0xd2a30000, 08:00:46:64:f3:7b, IRQ 9
eth0:  Identified 8139 chip type 'RTL-8139C'
eth0: Setting half-duplex based on auto-negotiated partner ability 0000.


It's a Conexant Integrated V.90/K56flex Winmodem. I have not tested it yet.


Netgear MA 401 works. With the Mandrake Control Center it was fairly easy to configure. After I activated WEP, I had to edit the file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth1. [10.1 Community screwed this up, maybe the Official cd set has a fix. 10.1 Official worked, but 10.2 Beta1 doesn't. Perhaps I should stick to the official distribution.] This is how it looked in 9.1-10.0:

WIRELESS_ENC_KEY="aabb5455565758595a5b5c5d" [No, this is not my real key.]
WIRELESS_IWCONFIG="key restricted"


Getting USB working required no additional work. I tested USB with my Nike psa[play and rioutil. I can format the device and upload new songs. The Logitech mouse works as well, my Archos mp3/video player is automatically detected [Mandriva LE 2005].

At boot I get some annoying error messages about ¨disk read failed¨, I think it is the USB memory stick thingy, which complains that no stick is attached to the ¨drive¨. [It was the Memory stick. With Mandrake 9.2 the complaints are only visible in syslog or with dmesg.


I enabled acpi by passing the appropriate option to Lilo. At boot there are no complaints about acpi trouble, but I did not get very far, when I tried to enable the jogdial.
I've had enough fiddling with the jogdial and bought an optical Logitech mouse (PS/2 and USB). Works, has a scroll wheel, need I say more?

[root@milo]# dmesg | grep -i acpi

ACPI: Subsystem revision 20030122
ACPI: Interpreter enabled
ACPI: Using PIC for interrupt routing
ACPI: System [ACPI] (supports S0 S3 S4 S5)
ACPI: PCI Root Bridge [PCI0] (00:00)
ACPI: PCI Interrupt Routing Table [\_SB_.PCI0._PRT]
ACPI: PCI Interrupt Link [LNKA] (IRQs 9 10 11 12, disabled)
ACPI: PCI Interrupt Link [LNKB] (IRQs *9 10 11 12)
ACPI: PCI Interrupt Link [LNKC] (IRQs 9 10 *11 12)
ACPI: PCI Interrupt Link [LNKD] (IRQs *9 10 11 12)
ACPI: Embedded Controller [EC0] (gpe 1)
ACPI: PCI Interrupt Routing Table [\_SB_.PCI0.PPB_._PRT]
ACPI: PCI Interrupt Link [LNKA] enabled at IRQ 10
PCI: Using ACPI for IRQ routing
PCI: if you experience problems, try using option 'pci=noacpi' or even 'acpi=off'
apm: overridden by ACPI.
ACPI: Battery Slot [BAT1] (battery present)
ACPI: AC Adapter [ACAD] (on-line)
ACPI: Processor [CPU0] (supports C1 C2, 16 throttling states)
ACPI: Thermal Zone [THRM] (54 C)
ACPI: Power Button (FF) [PWRF]
ACPI: Sleep Button (CM) [SBTN]
ACPI: Lid Switch [LID]



(c) 2003-2005 tom at allroy dot de, last modified: Aug 18, 2005@12:07:07.