Friday, 13 August 2010

HOWTO Sony Vaio Z Series (2010) and Ubuntu Maverick alpha-3

Re: [Sony-vaio-z-series] vpcz12 and maverick alpha-3
On Thursday 12 August 2010 15:49:06 Justin Karneges wrote:
> I tried booting from the latest Ubuntu alpha live CD. The initial menu
> sometimes appears, where you can choose to install or do a memory test,
> etc. However, more often than not it doesn't appear and a timeout will
> cause the system to go on ahead with booting the live desktop.

It seems if I press an F-key (e.g. F1, F2, or F3, etc), I can get the menu to
appear most of the time. There have been a couple of occasions when this
doesn't work but the majority of the time it does work. It might be a timing
thing. I think you have to press a key rather quickly.

> The initial menu has the wrong colors (pink-ish), as well as X once it
> loads. Under X, the color distortion is more severe.

If I press F6 and add xforcevesa and nomodeset to the end of the kernel
parameters string (so that the string ends looking like "-- xforcevesa
nomodeset"), color is fixed in X. I'm not sure if the "i915.modeset=0"
option suggested by Martin has any effect. It doesn't seem to for me.

However, X resolution remains incorrect (1024x768, stretched to 1600x900,
looks pretty terrible!). Also, I still can't say for sure if the physical
graphics switch does *anything*. I get the exact same results whether it is
set to speed or stamina at cold boot. I have a feeling this means that I'm
using the same card every time, no matter what I have selected with the
physical switch. At least, this feels more likely to me than both cards
having the exact same color distortions with the exact same kernel params
fix. I wonder which card it is using?

> Once X loads, the touchpad does not work.

Solved by adding the i8042.nopnp kernel param. I don't know if the touchpad
is getting used in its full capacity but it seems to work well enough, and I
can even slide along the side for a wheel effect.

> I can flip over to the VTs and back to X no problem. The VTs have the wrong
> colors but otherwise seem to work fine.

Once the desktop loads, using the above fixes for X, the VTs have the correct

> I tried suspending (via keyboard in X, mostly blindly) and the system
> appeared to go into suspend, but on wakeup I was greeted with a blank
> screen.

Maybe this was a graphics issue. With the above fixes for X, suspend and wake
now works. Strange behavior I noticed: when X restores after waking, the
screen is no longer stretched, and instead the 1024x768 desktop is centered
1:1 in the middle of the display. Flipping to a VT and back to X will cause
the stretching to restore.

Now that I can actually use the computer, I'll note that wifi also works.

> So that's the current "out of the box" experience with bleeding edge
> Ubuntu.

And just three added kernel parameters later, a usable Live CD experience!
Not too shabby.

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