Thanx to Ansgar Radermacher for the global structure and precious informations in his page about the Sony VAIO 747 on which he installed Linux. I'll use it as a base for my own Sony Vaio 745 Linux installation page.

GNU/Linux on a Sony VAIO 745

The installation of Mandrake 6.0 was painless. The CD-ROM coming with Mandrake booted a suitable kernel and the installation proceeded "normally" (identical to a desktop installation)


You have to delete the Windows partition, because it occupies almost the whole disk. You can restore Windows in a smaller partition using the recovery disk. Be sure to set the type of the reduced parititon correctly: the recovery CD expects the type 0b (Win95 FAT32).
There is another partitition, with the unknown type a0. The BIOS uses this partition for hibernation, do not modify or delete it. If you accidently did, you can restore the partition again:
    /dev/hda4 754 787 137088 a0 IBM Thinkpad hibernation

X11 Installation

I have had to correct my XF86Config file manually because Xconfigurator didn't detect the configuration allright at installation time.

Since XFree86, the driver for the Neomagic graphics card is linked into default XF86_SVGA binary.

I used the following monitor settings:

   # 640x480 @ 60 Hz, 31.5 kHz hsync
   Modeline "640x480"     25.175 640  664  760  800   480  491  493  525
   # 800x600 @ 60 Hz, 37.8 kHz hsync
   Modeline "800x600"     40     800  840  968 1056   600  601  605  628 +hsync +vsync
(copied from another Linux Vaio site. Unfortunately, the Vaio 745 does not accept 1024x768 Modelines... :( )

The Touchpad is supported as a standard PS/2 device. Tabbing works, however it is not possible to tweak the sensitivity. As far as I know, the touchpad is a Logitech "TouchScroll" device.
You have to get used to touchpad, to avoid triggering the mouse key accidently. Tabbing with two or three fingers simulaneously, triggers the middle or the right mouse key, respectively.

   Section "Pointer"
      Protocol "PS/2"
      Device "/dev/mouse"
      Emulate3Timeout 50

You will find here a copy of my complete XF86Config file (caveat: my configuration has a french keyboard setup). Don't hesitate to correct any mistakes... I'm not an expert in configuring X-Window, and needed it to work fast. Didn't have time to investigate further...


The custom kernel coming with the distribution has APM enabled. As far as I've tested it, it works fine for shutdown time.

Sound Card

The builtin sound card is supported as a Soundblaster 16. I choosed the settings iobase=0x220, irq=5, dma=1, dma2-16=5 MPU-I/O=0x330.


The PCMCIA support built-in in Mandrake 6.0 works allright for the modem and Network cards I own. The bundled 4-in-1 PCMCIA card (platinum MC220 card) is recognized as a modem. V90 is available as a (free) bios update via the manufactures web site, but I haven't tried that yet. I have not tested the other adapters with the Mandrake 6.0 but the network interface on the MC220 card didn't work when I previously tested it on Mandrake 5.3. I use a 3Com 3CXE589ET PCMCIA ethernet card running the autodetected 3C589 driver instead. Compared to other models with a built-in V90 modem, the 4-in-1 card does not offer additional value (when using Linux), but occupies one of the PCMCIA slots.


I haven't tried both yet, because I don't have any other USB or IRDA devices. I guess, the USB controller is standardized and will work (once the linux driver matures from its current alpha state).

Hardware issues

The Vaio 745 comes with 32 MB. This is not "state-of-the-art", but sufficient for many Linux applications. I personnaly upgraded to 64 MB. If you plan a memory upgrade, consider that the installed Intel TX chipset does not support caching of more than 64MB. Some information about the chipset can be derived from /proc/pci and /proc/devices.

The pentium 266 processor is certainly not a very fast chip, but it does not consume much power. According to /proc/cpuinfo, it has the F00F processor bug. The bug is not harmful, because Linux detects it automatically and activates a workaround.

The harddisk is a Fujitsu MHD2032AT

Software issues

I have had several problems that may be linked to my personnal configuration choices/errors, or to the pre-configured files of my distribution (Mandrake 6.0 - CodeName "Venus")... I put some information here, but you may pay carefull attention to checking if this also feets your need !

Problems with french-accentuation under Xemacs

The problem is that I couldn't get a ^ accentuated character under xemacs with the configuration I was runing.

I tried the following key-presses : '^' (next to the 'P' key on my french keyboard) gave me a "dead-circumflex not defined" in the mini-buffer, and "'Alt Gr'-'9' (top row : same key as and ^) + 'A'" only displayed a '^a'...

I solved it by first changing the default keymap configuration under X :

I choosed an unused key on my keymap (french model of Vaio 745), the one between right "Alt Gr" and "Ctrl" keys, corresponding to the Windows '95 automatic menu pulldown. I checked its keycode with "xev" under X, and found 117. Then I added a new behaviour for this key : "Multi_key", corresponding to the compose "command" I want to be able to use under xemacs. I did this with xmodmap -e "keycode 117 = Multi_key".

Now, I'm able to type the following keystroke : "'Menu key' (that new one - xemacs switches to multi-key mode) + 'Alt Gr'-'9' (^) + 'A'" and I get an ''.

Problems with supplemental emacs/xemacs packages not recognized

I've had problems running auc-tex and mailcrypt on a first time til I realized that the /usr/share/emacs/site-list directory was not present in the path under the editor, thus preventing it from using the corresponding packages.

I solved this by adding the following "(setq load-path (cons "/usr/share/emacs/site-lisp" load-path))" to my .emacs file. Now mailcrypt and auc-tex work allright.

Fell free to contact me for any other information....

Olivier Berger

Last modified: Sat Jun 26 20:53:38 CEST 1999