Linux on Sony Vaio C1X(D or S)

Fedora Core 7

Booting into Fedora Core 7

The hardware:

  • Year 2000 model Vaio C1XD (UK version)
  • 128 Mb RAM extension module bought in Japan through an ebay store
  • Replacement battery bought on an eBay store from Chinese company for $42 freight to Europe included!!! It doesn't have the Sony chip set so there is no information on charge remaining. It lasts about an hour under normal use - web browsing, e-mail, powering WiFi interface. The original Sony battery never went over 40 minutes, more like 35...
  • I still have the USB floppy drive that came in the box. This is useful for getting Fedora Core on the machine if you don't have a PC Card EN interface.
  • Linksys Wireless B USB Network Adaptor, $1.50 on eBay
  • Everything else is stock standard and original, including the 12Gb HD (touches wood...)

OK smarty! Fedora Core 7 does not have a boot floppy, how did you do it?

Well I used the instructions here [] and a little cunning! You will need another machine connected to the internet and a USB drive if you need a non standard kernel to run ndiswrapper as I did.

If you have a bootable CD-ROM drive you do not need these pages. Make a bootable CD following instructions on [] site, boot from it and install. If you only have a USB floppy drive you will need to install FC5 with the slinky floppies. Then using yum, install FC7 using yum upgrade. This method is strongly discouraged - read the notes on this page before trying. But it will work if you are doing a clean install of a minimal system - which brings us to performance...

How does it perform?

If you only have the "standard" 128 Mb RAM (original 64 Mb + 64 Mb extension module as most of these machines are equiped now) then FC7 is not for you. Something like DSL (Damn Small Linux) will be better suited. With the RAM boosted to the maximum 192 Mb FC7 will run at a reasonable speed. There is a _BUT_, you are much better off running one application at a time. This will prevent using swap and spending minutes watching your data being written from RAM to the swap file. So you can run Evolution _OR_ Firefox. Running both at the same time requires that you be a zen Buddhist or have nerves of steel. You can run but please, don't open too many documents...

I use the computer for listening to music, with the screen closed (not completely, just enough to turn it off and not shut down the computer) you will get about 1 hour 45 minutes of play time from the standard battery. I use it for browsing the web when I am on the road - I use a webmail client for my mail. And of course note taking, updating web pages with Bluefish and for stocking photos when the card in my camera is full. Less than a kilo and still up to all these simple tasks when out of the house after seven years. Think about that for a while =:-D

At home some days we have a computer shortage - 2 desktop computers and 4 people. So the trusty Vaio lets me get things done without having to negotiate! I SSH into my desktop and have access to all my files. This has always been, and remains, a very useful tool well worth the premium price paid for it new. It is so easy to carry everywhere you don't hesitate. My previous "portable" computer was a Mac Powerbook G3 of the second generation (5300) and it was so heavy I sold it!

| 14-November-2007 © tgds 2007 | tgrant at |