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RedHat Linux 8.0 on the Sony Vaio C1XD Picturebook

My workstation is a tiny Sony Vaio C1XD Picturebook. I wrote some pages explaining how to install Redhat Linux on it a couple of years ago.

At the moment I am running stock Redhat 8.0

The machine

Sony Vaio C1XD Picturebook (same as XS), 192 Mb RAM (I-O Data 128 Mb extension), Samsung SyncMaster 150MB external TFT, Logitech Internet Navigator USB keyboard, Logitech Cordless USB mouse, Sony USB floppy drive and Belkin USB hub. The EN card is a 3Com.

The sordid details

WARNING: If you are new to Linux get help BEFORE trying this!!! If you break your machine you can't say I didn't warn you. It is not my fault!

I do not have a CD-Rom drive so I will be explaining a NFS install. To do a NFS install you need a NFS file server on your LAN. I have two: a Linux server for software development and a Mac OS X desktop machine. I used the Linux box because it had more spare space on the hard drive.

First of all copy the contents of the RedHat ISO images to your file server (read the online instructions for NFS install here).

Make the PCMCIA boot floppies (NOTE: if you have a PCMCIA CD-Rom drive you will need these floppies too). Copy an XF86Config file to another floppy. You can find an old one that should work here.

Boot from the first floppy (the floppy drive must be connected directly to the internal USB port of the C1), insert the second one when asked (yes usb-storage works now!) and at the boot# prompt type lowres

This will put you in the graphical installer mode at 640x480 pixels. The installer disk doesn't know how to handle a virtual 1024x768 pixel screen.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When chosing the file system type choose ext2 and not ext3. This should save you about two days trying to find out why you get a kernel panic on boot. Please feel free to send a donation to my PayPal account =:-D

When the install process comes to an end it may crash.


Reboot from the install floppy to the first screen of the graphical installer. Open the shell Ctrl-Alt-F2.

Make a mount point for your /boot partition and your / partition in /mnt. Mount the two partitions and install GRUB by hand. I found the GRUB page by searching Google.

Reboot to see if your GRUB boot loader is working.

You are now in RedHat 8.0 as root if you are lucky. Set the root password (yes it got lost in the crash) DO IT NOW you may forget to do it later.

Copy the XF86Config file from the floppy to /etc/X11/ and type gdm

Et voila! Now wasn't that fun!

You are now in front of one of the finest desktop OS available today. It is a shame that we Picturebok owners have so many hoops to jump through but I can say it was well worth it. This version of RedHat is awesome. I say that as someone who also uses Mac OS X 10.2...

As I warned you this is not a trivial install. Print the page and get a Linux geek and some beer over to your house to help you.


  July 9, 2003 © tgds 2002 | tgrant@tgds.net | Privacy