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Sony Vaio VGN-TX2

I got the Sony Vaio VGN TX2 in April 2006, and I plan to document my success (if any) in putting Gentoo on to it. I intend to dual boot with Windows, but to devote most of the disk to GNU/Linux.


The Vaio is a very lightweight (1.24 kg) laptop, with a 70G hard disk, up to 1.5G memory, a lovely 1336X768 screen, and phenomenal battery life (allegedly). There's a review in PCPro The disk, as supplied has three partitions - the first is a Compaq diagnostics partition, the next two (Disks C: and D:) are NTFS/HPFS.

I first booted into Windows, and used the Vaio recovery tool to write two recovery DVD's.

I then wrote two CD's - one a minimal x86 2006.1 CD, and one a GParted Live CD.

GParted LiveCD is a very small Linux Live CD that basically runs GParted (parted with a nice GTK GUI). There's also an equivalent GParted Live USB version. This worked like a charm, and I used it to lose the third partiton (D:, NTFS), and shrink the second partition (C: NTFS) to 15G from 30G. You may need to defragment the Windows disk first if you've used it for a while.


I have followed the Gentoo handbook closely. I will only comment on things that are different from the handbook.

Setting up your network

I set up my network manually.

#> ifconfig eth0 {ip address} broadcast {broadcast} netmask {netmask}
#> route add defualt gateway {gateway ip address}
#> nano -w /etc/resolv.conf

If you are connecting to a DHCP-server dhcpcd eth0 should be enough.

Preparing the disks

My partiton scheme now looks as follows

#> fdisk /dev/hda
The number of cylinders of this disk is set to 9729
Disk /dev/hda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sector/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device    Boot    Start     End     Id   System
/dev/hda1             1     912     12   Compaq diagnostics
/dev/hda2    *      913    2825      7   NTFS/HPFS 
/dev/hda3    *     2826    2888     83   Linux
/dev/hda4          2889    9729      5   Extended
/dev/hda5          2889    3138     82   Linux swap     /Solaris
/dev/hda6          3139    9729     83   Linux

Next I put ext2 onto /dev/hda3, ext3 onto /dev/hda6 and swap onto /dev/hda5.

#> mke2fs /dev/hda3
#> mke2fs -j /dev/hda6
#> mkswap /dev/hda5
#> swapon /dev/hda5

Installing the Gentoo Installation Files

I set the date and time, and copied and unzipped the latest stage file and portage files from I could equally have used the install CD.

Installing the Gentoo Base System

As per the manual with /dev/hda6 mounted as /mnt/gentoo and /dev/hda3 mounted as /mnt/gentoo/boot

Configuring the Kernel

I used the standard gentoo-sources kernel.

I haven't a clue which modules I will need, so I stuck to the instructions in the handbook, and added the USB Serial-Converter support which I know I will need for my PDA. I also added the Firewire module, becuase the laptop has a FireWire port. I don't have anything else with a FireWire port though!

So far I've found a few non-obvious modules needed -

HDA_INTEL (PCI Sound card)

Device Drivers
   -> Sound
      -> Advanced Linux Sound Architecture
            -> PCI devices
                  -> <*> Intel HD Audio

evdev (used by the touchpad)

Device Drivers
   -> Input Device Support
         -> <*> Event Interface     

i810 (used by the graphics card)

Device Drivers
   -> Character devices
         -> <*> /dev/agpgart (AGP support)
         -> <*>    Intel 440LX/BX/GX chipset support
         -> <*> Direct Rendering Manager ([SNIP])
         -> < > Intel 1810
         -> <M> Intel 830M, 845G, 852GM, 855GM,865G 
         -> < >    i810 driver
         -> <M>    i915 driver

Load the i915 module into the kernel, i.e. put the single line


into /etc/modules.autoload.d/kernel-2.6. Check after you reboot with the

#> lsmod


You may find when you try to configure the kernel that these i810 related options aren't visible. This is some sort of bug in the configuration software. Try a few times moving up and down the menu tree till you can see them. I am sure (well, fairly sure) that the i915 driver would also work as a built in, but I haven't done this. Don't load both the i810 and i915 drivers.

Configuring your System

More to follow

Installing Necessary System Tools

As per handbook - syslog-ng, vixie-cron. slocate and dhcpcd

Configuring the Bootloader

emerge grub - I have not yet used lilo, though it has many devoted fans. If any of them figure out how to use it with this laptop feel free to edit...

Write a grub.conf

Install grub

  1. >grub-install /dev/hda

Worked perfectly!

Exit, unmount, reboot, eject the CD quickly!

I can now boot back into Windows - which is a relief, because I tried to get back into Windows about halfway through the process, and got an 'Invalid partiton table' message when I tried to boot.

Now, the moment of truth, can I boot into Linux?? The kernel is being uncompressed - always a good sign.

Yes! Yes! Yes! a login prompt!!!

Graphics Card

See this HowTo.


See this guide.


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Last modified: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 21:35:00 +0000 Hits: 12,916