Ubuntu On Sony Vaio FW Series

Tips & Tricks related to Sony Vaio FW series laptops

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala beta

with 47 comments

I just want to inform you, if you have not tried it yet. Brightness control works out of the box. S1 key works, AV key does not. Headphones jack detection works. Built-in microphone does not. Web camera works in Skype.

Dmesg output when using AV key:

sony-laptop: Unknown event: 0x100 0xa1
sony-laptop: Unknown event: 0x100 0x21

I guess sony-laptop module is without our patch or just a new one. I’ll check sources when I have time.

Stay tuned.

Written by egaistek

October 3, 2009 at 08:49

47 Responses

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  1. Thanks egaistek!


    October 3, 2009 at 19:25

  2. How about our Pioneer DVD drives (that you need a CD in when you boot for it to work)?


    October 4, 2009 at 10:16

    • Somebody should try it first. I have Matshita drive.


      October 4, 2009 at 13:24

    • Looks like the Pioneer DVD issue is still present. I have done an in-place upgrade to Karmic from Jaunty I still need to have a CD/DVD in the drive at boot to be able to use the drive un Ubuntu.


      October 9, 2009 at 17:16

  3. For ATI/fglrx you need to patch xorg-server-core to get rid of the various lag issues when composition is used.


    It’s a few simple steps


    October 5, 2009 at 00:21

  4. You can find information about the int mic issue.


    Thanks for the blog


    October 6, 2009 at 05:11

  5. For the internal mic, I never tried, but anyone tried this?



    October 7, 2009 at 22:14

    I fresh installed Karmic beta today (Oct 10) and it works! Boot time is greatly improved now! 😀

    Also, fglrx works a little better. Totem displays video in the correct size now. I would personally recommend getting beta.


    October 11, 2009 at 10:05

  7. Built-in Mic works in Karmic. FW140AE.

    Add in alsa-base.conf “options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba-s06” and “alsa-mixer -Dhw” select “Int DMic” in Capture.


    October 15, 2009 at 09:07

    • Do you mean ‘alsamixer -Dhw’? I don’t see where to change to ‘Int DMic’.


      October 17, 2009 at 03:30

      • My bad, got it working! You rock! 🙂

        For everyone else:
        >alsamixer -Dhw
        >press F4
        >Go to ‘Input So’ by pressing the right arrow key
        >Press the up arrow key
        >Press Esc


        October 17, 2009 at 03:34

    • Awesome, thanks! Confirmed on Vaio VGN-FW21M


      October 18, 2009 at 20:24

      • can you post a small howto to get the mic working please? didnt understand the posts above. for example i´ve no capture secture in my alsa-base.conf.
        running karmic rc on a vaio fh41j, greets, sebastian#


        October 26, 2009 at 00:39

    • I also got the int mic working on my VGN-FW463J/B in Karmic by adding “options snd-hda-intel model=auto” to /etc/modprobe.d/options.config Now everything works except I still have to have a cdrom in while I boot.


      November 1, 2009 at 01:12

  8. yes, finaly. thankx a lot. i waited a long time for this. confirmed on vaio VGN-FW41J


    October 26, 2009 at 01:50

  9. Fw290 …Perfect Thanks again


    October 27, 2009 at 03:40

    • I also have the FW290 and I’m getting nothing from the internal mic.

      added options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba-s06 to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

      went into alsamixer -Dhw and adjusted the first Input So, hitting Up once which changes it from Mic to Front Mi setting.

      I’ve tested settings for Mic 1 and plugged a mic into the port…works fine. Settings for Microphone 2, which I assume to be the internal mic…absolutely nothing. Assistance would be much appreciated!


      November 6, 2009 at 17:54

      • Got it working with a little trial and error and a restart…thank you!


        November 7, 2009 at 10:42

  10. fz350fe… confirmed thx


    October 31, 2009 at 10:52

    • hello Guys,
      I upgraded today from 9.04 to 9.10 on my vaio-fw11l and xorg is not working.

      Can you post an xorg.conf from your box, please? I need to compare with my old one that is not still working.



      October 31, 2009 at 19:25

  11. Hi All,
    9.10 fabulous, ALSA updated, HDMI now working

    Had 9.4 running fine on a VGN-FZ31M model, with propriatary drivers nvidia 180 and HPLIP for printer, alsa config updated to get headphone jack working. no HDMI

    Yesterday I upgraded to 9.10,
    included new Nvidia driver 185 and updated Alsa,
    sound settings show the HMDI digital output.
    Dual monitor (my LCD TV screen) works fine, sound working fine.

    I am ecstatic that the whole OS is now so comprehensive and working. My next challenge is to get the motion eye to work. Any advice ?

    Best wishes,
    Chrubuntu / Christophe on Ubuntu


    November 2, 2009 at 14:02

    • motioneye should work out of the box.


      November 2, 2009 at 19:37

  12. I have Vaio FW11S and built-in mic doesn’t work. I have tried the tricks above. Any ideas how to get it work?


    November 3, 2009 at 02:54

    • I got it working using Jeff’s method. Only difference was that I had to add the line to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf


      November 3, 2009 at 03:03

  13. FW290 confirmed.

    Add end line:
    “options snd-hda-intel model=auto”

    Terminal (by x.v_)
    >alsamixer -Dhw
    >press F4
    >Go to ‘Input So’ by pressing the right arrow key
    >Press the up arrow key
    >Press Esc


    November 3, 2009 at 19:29

    • i have 3 ‘Input So’ in “alsamixer”, which one i should change?


      November 5, 2009 at 00:15

  14. If anyone knows how to get standby working properly I would be very happy. It goes to standby but after I try to resume there’s nothing but a blank screen.

    The model is VGN-FW11S.


    November 3, 2009 at 22:16

  15. Hi,

    Since you all seem to be very efficient with Ubuntu on the Sony, I have a VGN-FW160D and installed Ubuntu 64bits.

    I can’t activate FGLRX, my touch pad for the mouse does not work. I am not familiar with Ubuntu, at least not enough to know where to start to correct the problem. Is there a book that will give me the information needed to be able to fix my problems ?



    November 4, 2009 at 02:08

    • Try 32bit version on live-cd first.


      November 4, 2009 at 02:19

      • Is there a reason why I should limit myself to 32 bits ? Since I have 4Gb of RAM, I would like to be able to use it with a 64 bits OS.

        Furthermore, Ubuntu Ibex, and Jaunty were both working all well with the 64 bits version.


        November 4, 2009 at 02:39

    • You will have 4gb (actually 3 and 1 reserved for kernel) on 32bit version. There maybe problems with fglrx in 64bit version. Touchpad should work anyway. You can always try live-cd first to check compatibility. There was not any problems with touchpad in ubuntu since I first tried 7.* version. Try lsusb -v | grep -i alps or lsusb and cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep -i alps and search for Alps in output. Do not forget to enable tapping in mouse preferences. If mouse movement not work, maybe you disabled it in xorg.conf. If you have “(II) XINPUT: Adding extended input device “AlpsPS/2 ALPS GlidePoint” (type: TOUCHPAD)” line in /var/log/Xorg.*.log then touchpad should work.


      November 4, 2009 at 03:01

  16. Joel, I use Karmic 64 bit, too. I have fw11. I didnot have any problems. (except sound card). Did you try using ati’s (x86_64) 9.10 driver?

    Savas Sen

    November 4, 2009 at 07:45

  17. I finally got my LCD backlight to turn off (and not just black out the screen, exaggerating every brightness imbalance) by adding the following to my monitor section of xorg.conf

    Option “PM” # power management
    # first blank the screen, then turn off backlight 1 min later
    Option “BlankTime” “11” # doesn’t turn off backlight
    # Option “StandbyTime” “10” # doesn’t turn off backlight
    Option “OffTime” “12” # Turns off backlight

    it will blank the screen after 10 min, and turn the backlight OFF after 11 min. Actually I had the same problem with 9.04.

    I snagged it from here:



    November 5, 2009 at 03:47

  18. I use Sony Vaio and running latest Ubuntu 9.10

    I did the following.. right click on the sound icon on the task bar. select preference.

    In the sound preference window, select Input tab. In the tab, you will find 3 input devices. Select 2, the built in microphone. Select amplification factor to be good enough.

    Application -> Sound & Video -> Sound Recorder
    Record and playback!

    Hope it helps


    November 10, 2009 at 19:45

  19. I have a FW-290 with ATI 3650 graphics,
    Using the fglrx restricted driver with desktop effects enabled I was still suffering from the lag in maximize / restore of large windows.

    Anyone else suffering from this ‘bug’ can use a patched version of xserver as a workaround.

    To use the updated server you need to add a new software source and update the system, full instructions here:


    November 13, 2009 at 07:40

  20. I will share my experience regarding my internal mic.
    I am running a sony vaio VGN FW35G

    1. Normally, if i go to the sound input preferences tab, I have a combo box showing 3 inputs ‘Microphone 1, Microphone 2, and Line in’.

    So far as I know, they only, by default, use the front input jack. Unfortunately today I am testing this because I forgot to bring home my headphones…

    When I add the options in alsa-base.conf to:

    options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba-s06

    reboot, and then go to the alsa configuration screen
    (alsamixer -Dhw)
    I then only have one input possible (where as before I had 3). But now, the DMic is available.
    Similarly, in the input tab of the sound preferences, now I do not have a combo box to choose input from.
    The input is now fixed to the internal mic.
    I can change the gain, and use the mic. Have tested in skype.

    However, I suspect, were I to put my headphones into the jack, this wouldn’t work. I will try it out tomorrow.

    Anyone got the same experience?


    December 4, 2009 at 01:43

  21. I’ve succeeded on fixing this bug on my SONY VAIO VGN AW series by upgrading the Alsa drivers as described here :


    December 7, 2009 at 22:56

  22. Worked for me in Jaunty. Godamn! Everything works! Half of it thanks to this blog. Brightness and mic at least are due to egaistek. Thanks!


    December 8, 2009 at 12:25

  23. Thanks a lot Sean and all of the others !!

    I’ve a FW21E
    I’ve put in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
    at the end, the line : options snd-hda-intel model=toshiba-s06

    I’ve rebooted
    then alsamixer -Dhw
    then F4
    then right arrow to go on inputso
    then select int DMic
    then go left and ajust the gain.
    and ESC.
    After that I tried with sound recorder and it works !!


    December 9, 2009 at 03:55

  24. I have been having a problem with resuming from suspend since I installed Karmic 4 months ago. I finally figured out that it is the “video” module that is causing the problem. Unfortunately adding it to the usual /etc/default/acpi-support to have it unloaded and reloaded, does not work. However, I have got a workaround for this problem.

    Add the following line to /etc/pm/config.d/unload_modules (you may have to create it)


    Everything should work after that.

    Hope this helps!


    January 27, 2010 at 05:38

    • Could you explain how did you find out that this module cause problem. I’ve used your solution now and still have black screen with blinking cursor in console mode and no any activity after suspending 🙂


      January 27, 2010 at 20:39

      • It was a hunch followed by a lot of trial and error. It sounds like we have different symptoms though. The resume problem I had was that it would start to resume then just stop after a couple of seconds of HDD activity. I did not have any display (black no cursor) and no wireless indicator LED.

        I was guessing that it was a driver problem so I killed off about everything I could to see if it would resume. It worked. Then, I made a list of what I killed and cut it in half and tested again. I did this until I was able to narrow it down to a single module. It took me several hours of constant rebooting to locate the problem, then several more to find a proper fix.

        I guess next time, I’ll mention the exact nature of the problem when I offer a solution. The strange part is that this would happen even if X was not running (single user, recovery option in GRUB) and with the open source drivers as well as fglrx. It even works on the live CD of Lucid.


        January 28, 2010 at 04:32

  25. built in mic seems to work out of the box, with lucid!


    March 19, 2010 at 04:05

  26. Can confirm microphone is working. However I’m on Karmic 9.10 still and but with upgraded kernel. Running kernel 2.6.32-020632-generic.

    Do not think it has anything to do with lucid, just the kernel.


    March 19, 2010 at 08:48

  27. Hi all,

    Just like to know if anyone knows anyone who is developing in Lucid at the moment ?

    I want to know who to talk to, in order to provide information about a sony vaio machine with brightness not working in lucid. A regression, as it worked perfect in Karmic out-of-the-box.

    I have posted to an existing bug report, (which was specifically related to Kubuntu, but I think it is a general issue) but I am not sure If my bug information is getting to the right people.

    anyone ?


    March 24, 2010 at 22:05

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