Ubuntu On Sony Vaio FW Series

Tips & Tricks related to Sony Vaio FW series laptops

On Jaunty

with 47 comments

Just updated.
Brightness works out of the box if you have patched dsdt in initramfs =)
Sound works and not integrated mic.
Video/3D works with fglrx.
S1/AV and fn keys works.
I saw that usb flash/hdd drives are fast now but system load too much.

I guess I have problems with wireless, poor performance. I’ve noticed it because I’m using NFS shares through wifi, e.g. watching movies. And on Jaunty nautilus and player hangs more of a time. Something wrong there. Do you have such problems?

Written by egaistek

April 27, 2009 at 17:02

Posted in Vaio

Tagged with , , ,

47 Responses

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  1. I have a fw 378j/b. And have been upgraded to Jaunty for a while. Did not notice the wireless problem.

    But when I try to shut down or reboot, it can shut off X very quick, but hang at a black screen for ever. I have to hit ctrl+alt+del every time. This is true even when I boot from live CD.


    April 28, 2009 at 00:57

  2. Also, just updated. So, strange things:
    1. If compiz settings set to standard/hi problems with windows resizing, also window maximize (both effects applies in 2 seconds). Tryed play with compiz settings – no effect.
    2. if wifi/bluetooth switched on and try to reboot – black window, until ctrl-alt-del, than reboots.

    So, and such feeling, that all works slowly, maybe it’s subjective…

    Have fw21e, 64bit Jaunty


    April 28, 2009 at 01:15

  3. Installed a fresh Jaunty Kubuntu i386. I have a FW21z.

    My status:

    – Wifi/Bluetooth working great.

    – Sound working. Problem only in the jack detection: In Jaunty there is no file named /etc/modprobe.d/options. I tried adding the “options snd-hda-intel model=hippo” line in alsa-base.conf file in the same directory. Result: It detects the jack but when I restart the PC or when I mute and unmute the sound, the native speakers are turned on again.

    – I didn’t yet patched dsdt in initramfs, so my FN, S1 and AV mode keys are not working. I will try that soon.

    – I also have the same problem than Alexander regarding compiz. That “lag” in effects is very annoying.


    April 28, 2009 at 06:24

    • S1/AV and FN keys should work without dsdt patching, dsdt needed only for brightness, and not keys itself. But there is problems in KDE with keys I guess.
      Don’t forget, to use S1/AV keys you should map it to actions in preferences, dunno where to do this in KDE.
      I saw compiz lag too, I guess we should file a bug.
      You can create /etc/modprobe.d/options file and write what you need there. Or you can use any file in that folder for editing or create another one e.g. vaio-jack-detection and write that line there =)


      April 28, 2009 at 06:39

  4. what does: patched dsdt in initramfs mean?

    im not a linux expert so i dont understand this language.

    and another thing.

    has anyone of you tried SKYPE in Jaunty?

    is it working properly? or do we still have to use an external MIC to talk.

    and when we use SKYPE, i cant watch youtube videos at the same time.

    windows so far is much better in that respect:s

    i hope someone fixes the SKYPE issues and gets the youtube/flash player working properly while talking in SKYPE


    April 28, 2009 at 10:06

    • DSDT patching described in post about brightness.
      No, internal mic does not work. Flash works while I chat in skype.


      April 28, 2009 at 14:52

  5. Hello
    I m with Jaunty KDE, and there is a problem with the brightness keys, but and can use S1 and others.
    For the bug it already exist, you can follow it there :


    April 28, 2009 at 19:10

  6. Hi again. I confirm that AV/S1 keys work without any patching, but I still have the problem of FN button not working in KDE. I am trying in the button configuration (all keys are detected when pressed except the FN key). Without FN, no brightness… Any other Kubuntu user experiencing this issue?

    Thanks Egaistek! Keep up the good work with this page!


    April 30, 2009 at 05:16

    • Does FN sound mute key work? If not, it’s fully KDE problem. Hope someone with KDE could help.


      April 30, 2009 at 05:31

      • Yes, it works! Still it is strange why it is not detected when pressed in the key global configurations in KDE.
        But thank you! I will patch now the dsdt.


        April 30, 2009 at 05:57

      • Hi,
        i just installed Kubuntu 9.04 64bit on a Sony FW31ZJ. I patched the dsdt. Brightness was first just working via the powermanagment app. Then i installed kpowersave and now i can contoll brightness with the FN keys. kpowersave has to be started otherwise FN key are not working so better put it in autostart.

        Thanx egaistek for this great patch.



        May 12, 2009 at 23:31

  7. Hi Egaistek,

    Which Jaunty version are you using? 64 or 32 bits? I’m using 32 bits in FW11M and I have the same memory problem (only detects 3GB), do you think is better to change to 64 bits or simply switch to server kernel?



    April 30, 2009 at 16:59

  8. egaistek,
    Running 9.04 on FW21M and no patching of DSDT was necessary to get brightness buttons working, oddly enough. Possibly though, I’m using the same kernel as in 8.10?

    Some major problems though that make me wish I had stayed on 8.10 a few months more:

    1) Compositing has a 2sec delay for alt-tabbing and window maximize/unmaximize, which makes a compiz desktop completely useless

    2) wifi (iwlagn) driver in this kernel/jaunty is horrible. Disconnects at least every 10 minutes during high network loads. I also use NFS to watch movies etc, and it’s so bad I often just connect an ethernet cable

    3) -rt kernel crashes when running jackd. Never did test an -rt kernel on 8.10, but it’s absolutely not usable on 9.04. A shame, since I really need it to run low latencies with jackd.

    Pulse on the other hand doesn’t have the same problems that I experienced in the earlier betas…
    Basically though, I’d recommended against upgrading. There simply aren’t anything to entice one to upgrade…


    May 1, 2009 at 00:36

    • You can try to install linux-backports-modules-jaunty package, this can help with wireless.


      May 1, 2009 at 16:30

  9. Did a fresh install of Ubuntu 9.04 x86 from CD, on a FW290 with FullHD screen.

    Brightness not working until DSDT patched. Hotkeys work. Internal microphone not working. fglrx not enabled by default, tried fglrx from synaptic but caused X to hang on startup with corrupted screen, uninstalled from command line, installed fglrx from ATI site, @D & 3D works fine, no compiz delays in GNOME.

    Only other problem is booting WITHOUT a CD in the drive (I have the DVD drive, not Blu-ray), this causes a delay of 30 seconds during boot with the massage “Failed to set xfermode”, this also results in the CD drive being inaccessible in Gnome, if there is a CD in the drive during boot neither of these problems appear.


    May 2, 2009 at 18:31

    • I have DVD to, but mine boots fine.


      May 2, 2009 at 18:45

    • I have the same problem sorta:

      “Only other problem is booting WITHOUT a CD in the drive (I have the DVD drive, not Blu-ray), this causes a delay of 30 seconds during boot with the massage “Failed to set xfermode”, this also results in the CD drive being inaccessible in Gnome, if there is a CD in the drive during boot neither of these problems appear.”

      I had this problem before I upgraded (not a clean install)


      May 5, 2009 at 02:56

      • Sorry I should say I have FW290 with Full HD screen.


        May 5, 2009 at 02:57

  10. I have an off-topic question: has anyone gotten ExpressCard working? I’ve bought a Texas Instrument-equipped ExpressCard 34mm to replace the internal FW that has the poorly supported Ricoh chipset, which works poorly.)

    However, running jackd (sound server) and ffado it dies after 5secs.
    Also, when inserting the ExpressCard, it’s very spotty at detecting it. Also have to use pciehp.pciehp_force=1 at boot time for it to work at all…

    Any pointers?


    May 6, 2009 at 16:56

  11. Strangely on Jaunty beta fglrx worked and now hangs on start up.Brightness works out of the box.So all you new user don’t install fglrx you can use this code so that metacity get’s all the cool stuff that compiz has :

    Alt+F2 then

    gconftool-2 -s ‘/apps/metacity/general/compositing_manager’ –type bool true

    My Vaio FW21E


    May 7, 2009 at 01:14

    • I guess it just enables Compiz. Lags with minimizing/maximizing windows still there.


      May 7, 2009 at 01:24

  12. I just installed jaunty 64 bit on my vaio FW292 .. brightness is not working. i dont know what to do.

    the Fn key MUTE works for some reason.. but the others dont.

    egalstek what should i do to fix the brightness here?



    May 7, 2009 at 15:09

    • well, go and read the brightness howto. If you want fn keys to do something, go and map it in keyboard shortcuts preferences.


      May 7, 2009 at 15:14

  13. i did egalstek… and i posted my problem in that thread. it used to work with intrepid.. but now with 9.04 i cant get it to work. im a newbie and dont know how to fix it

    i followed your steps and all seems to be clear except the last part i have an extra bit

    you will see it i copy pasted it for you



    May 7, 2009 at 19:16

  14. cont..

    I had a black screen after installing. On reboot I selected Recovery Mode and did a repair X windows from the menu, then booted into Gnome and enabled desktop effects.

    Now working fine, no delays and no visible display corruption.


    May 9, 2009 at 12:03

  15. Hi,

    I managed to solve the problem simply adding the new repositories and upgrading packges. You can find the solution in the links I posted above.


    But now I have a problem… when I try to play movies on fullscreen mode I get black screen! Except for this, the rest works great!


    May 11, 2009 at 13:58

    • so what do i do to get the brightness controls on my vaio fw?

      add your repositories?

      im a newbie and i dont understand this site’s explanation. its for experts.



      May 12, 2009 at 16:40

  16. What is the general opinion then – is it worth updating yet? I like Intrepid and it works well – what are the pros and cons of upgrading. I have a VGN-FW31M.




    May 13, 2009 at 18:02

    • I see absolutely no reason right now.


      May 18, 2009 at 22:04





    May 21, 2009 at 06:15

  18. I hve a problem with the BOOTING

    i get this failure err_mass = 0x4 and stuff like that when i start up .. it takes about 20 seconds then boots normally

    anyone else facing this problem?

    i used to have 8.10 .. then i removed the partition and created a new one over it and installed 9.04


    May 21, 2009 at 06:17

    • @jungar
      That is the same problem I had, try booting with a CD/DVD in the drive (but not a bootable one!).


      May 22, 2009 at 11:17

  19. Hi there, not in the topic but I can’t find other way to establish contact.

    Are you interested in this story?



    May 21, 2009 at 16:46

  20. Brightness works out of the box if you have patched dsdt in initramfs =)

    Hi there. Can you elaborate a bit more on “patching dsdt in initramfs”? So far I’ve been unable to get brightness (or any other Fn function for that matter) to work, with the problems reported here:


    I’m pretty happy to change to Jakalope if that solves the issue.

    Can anyone help? Thank you.


    May 23, 2009 at 23:15

  21. I also have the same problem about DVD drive with FW 290. It works fine if there is CD/DVD in the bay when booting. If there is not, it says “failed to set xfermode” and drive is not accessible. It happened after I upgraded to ubuntu 9.04.
    I researched about it and it seems to a kernel problem.
    Anyone found a solution ?


    May 27, 2009 at 02:21

  22. For those of you having issues with hanging on shutdown when wireless is enabled, this fix worked for me:


    Has anyone found a solution for the laginess with fglrx?


    May 30, 2009 at 01:27

  23. Sony Vaio FW3 (custom built, ATI 3470 HD screen)
    – Brightness work with DSTD patch
    – wireless need backports modules to avoid kernel panics/crashes)
    – no internal mic 😦

    Desktop seems to be very-very unresponsive during high disk load, like copying MP3s from USB disk to Laptop’s disk. Anyone having this problem?


    June 3, 2009 at 19:09

    • Yeah… don’t know if it really is abnormal, since I’ve never worked with a 4200 RPM hard drive.


      June 4, 2009 at 00:21

      • mine is 5400 RPM (320 GB), and I don’t think it’s normal.

        root@sony-vaio-fw3:/home/illes# hdparm -tT /dev/sda

        Timing cached reads: 12386 MB in 1.99 seconds = 6214.00 MB/sec
        Timing buffered disk reads: 192 MB in 3.01 seconds = 63.73 MB/sec


        June 4, 2009 at 00:28

  24. I’ve been having quite worrying issues lately…

    My FW21M has been hard locking (capslock and scroll lock blinking) generally after reconnecting to wifi.

    Any clues?


    June 9, 2009 at 14:53

    • 2.6.28-11-generic + backports…


      June 9, 2009 at 14:53

      • hi,

        I had the same problem on my fw3, but installing the backport drivers did the trick. Make sure it’s using the backport modules

        modprobe -l iwlagn

        any clues in dmesg? or syslog?

        this is my bugreport:
        make sure to check and confirm if u have the same bug.


        June 9, 2009 at 15:16

      • In reply to s.illes79:
        only that wireless errors are always in the logs before a crash.
        I’ve removed backports now, as I was using that before… will see if that helps my situation.


        June 9, 2009 at 19:15

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