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Linux Debian Sid (2.4.21-xfs & 2.6.5) on Sony Vaio PCG-K13


Intel® Pentium® 4 processor 2.80GHz1

Cache Memory

L1: Execution trace cache: 12k decoded micro-ops / Data cache: 8K

L2: 512KB Integrated On-Die

Bus Speed: 533 MHz


15" XGA (1024 x768) TFT display with XBrite? technology


ATI RADEON? IGP 345M 64MB (shared)

Dual display support


512 MB DDR SDRAM (256MB x 2), maximum 1 GB

Hard Drive

40 GB2 hard drive

Optical Drive

Internal CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive (Max speeds: CD-R write 24x; CD-RW write 10x; CD Read 24x; DVD-ROM read 8x)

Optional Floppy Drive

External 1.44 MB, 3.5" USB floppy drive (PCGA-UFD5)


Integrated V.90 modem


10BASE-T/100BASE-TX Ethernet with RJ-45 interface

Memory Stick PRO? Media Slot

Supports optional Memory Stick PRO? media

Pointing Device / Keyboard / Input Device

Electro-Static touch pad

QWERTY, 86 keys with 2.7mm stroke and 19.2mm pitch

Estimated Battery Life4

Lithium-ion battery

1.0-2.5 hours with standard battery4

PC Card Slots

1 type III or 2 type I or type II card with CardBus support


Built-in stereo speakers; monaural mini-jack microphone

Other Interfaces

RJ-11 modem jack, i.LINK® (IEEE 1394) interface3, 3 USB2.0, J-45 Ethernet, VGA output, headphone (stereo), monaural B:mini-jack microphone

Integrated Wireless5

802.11b/g compatible

Bus/Interface: mini PCI

Radio frequency band: 2.4GHz (ISM band)

Power Requirements

168 watts maximum +10% (19.5V / AC100-240V)

Energy Star® compliant

Advanced power management - APM-ACPI compatible


7.3lbs.with a standard battery

Dimensions(H x W x D)

1.65-2.26" X 13" X 10.9"

Supplied Accessories

Lithium-ion battery, power cord, and AC adapter

I've managed to get basic things worked on my Sony Vaio PCG-K13 with Debian in a straightforward and easy way. Being a big fan of Debian, I'm too lazy to install it from scratch, so I installed it using Morphix (a lean derivative of Knoppix), on the 23GB (or so) free partition that I've found using the excellent QtParted utility available on Knoppix.

After some fine tuning, everything is working, except power management and "Sony programmable interface". Also, the ethernet port and the modem have not been tested yet. Here's the complete story:

Xfree86 works without any tweaking with the /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file provided by Morphix on a 2.4.21-xfs kernel. Works not too bad with a 2.6.5 kernel, except for intermitent erratic mouse (touchpad) problems. To solve it, you have to configure the system to use the synaptic driver, which provide more functions than regular ps2. So I installed (apt-get) tpconfig & xfree86-driver-synaptics packages and replaced all mouse sections in /etc/X11/XF86Config-4 file according to instructions provided on the synaptic driver page: Finally, you need to add a "psmouse" linue in /etc/modules in order to allow the synaptic driver to play nicely at startup time with kdm (and maybe other display manager like gdm and xdm). plays well too with the same parameters, except that you have to put it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

The sound card is a Ali M5451, PCI type. It worked out of the box with Morphix/Knoppix using the OSS Trident driver. The problem is that this driver is functionally limited (see Eric Brombaugh's Linux Info page on Trident 4DWave: ) and seems to cause problems with Arts on KDE. The solution I've found is to use the Alsa driver going through the following steps:

1. Install and configure Alsa stuff by following these instructions: (in French)

Note: After I installed Alsa stuff (apt-get install alsa-source alsa-base alsa-utils alsa-oss) and I was sure that the OSS driver was not loaded, I managed to get Alsa working quite easily with a 2.6.5 kernel by doing dpkg-reconfigure alsa-base and choosing the ali5451 driver. Make sure that the content of /etc/alsa/modutils/1.0 is integrated in /etc/modutils/alsa file and (after running update-modules if necessary) in /etc/modules.conf; with a 2.4 kernel, it seems that you need alsa-modules and that there's a compilation process to go through with alsa source…;

2. Make sure that the trident OSS module is not loaded; check with the "lsmod" command in a console; if it is loaded, remove it with the "rmmod trident" command; you can make sure that the trident driver will not be loaded at each boot by commenting it out in the /etc/modules file (not modules.conf or modprobe.conf);

3. Make sure that the /etc/init.d/alsa script is started and will be started at each boot time according to your default runlevel;

3. Test it with any ALSA sound application; you can try it out with the KDE sound system, in the KDE configuration Centre.

ACPI must be used to benefit from some power management functions. APM does not appear to work at all. Tot install it, you need to have a compliant ACPI kernel, to have acpid installed (apt-get install acpid) and to use usual tools like klaptop. With this, you get the following:

1. CPU throttling setting & Battery/AC/temperature monitoring;

2. Recognition of events (power button pressed, lid closed, etc.);

  1. With a 2.6.5 kernel (and without suspend2 patch), hibernation works well, i.e. it saves the current state to disk, shutdown and then resume. However, you have to put the following append line in /etc/lilo.conf (i.e. lilo config file, or the equivalent if you use Grub) : resume=/dev/hda3 (or wathever partition that is your swap partition).

  2. With a 2.6.5 kernel, suspend is "half working", i.e. the system seems to complete the suspend process but does not resume (if someone knows a way to make it work, please let me know at the following address: marco dot laverdiere at sympatico dot ca);

  3. Screen backlight automatically turned off with Klaptop upon lid closing is also half working, since it does not revert back to backlight on when you reopen the lid on a 2.4.21-xfs kernel; it seems to be a klaptop glitch since you don't have this kind of problem with the Gnome equivalent utility or with the console; anyway, you don't have this problem with a 2.6.5 kernel.

The integrated Wifi card is an Atheros AR5212 PCI 802.11abg, PCI type (reported as LAN-Express mini-pci under XP). It's working with the Madwifi driver:

The signal quality is not as good as with my Netgear Wifi PCMCIA card, but hey, it's working! One thing I noticed is that while the integrated card is active, the CPU activity seems to be higher than usual, at a point that with a 2.4.21-xfs kernel, the system can become unusable. So it seems that it is a good idea to stick with a 2.6 kernel.

Particular instructions for Debian installation can be found at:

Finaly, if like me, you don't want the card to be automatically started at boot time, you have to comment out the "ath_pci" line from /etc/modules and to add a "ath_pci" line to /etc/hotplug/blacklist.

I've managed to have sonypi recognized within KDE, by following these instructions: (see the instructions in the modules section, which suppose that you have a kernel compiled with sonypi modules enabled)

With the Vaio tool in the KDE Configuration Centre you're supposed to be able to monitor the battery, use the jogdial, use fn keys, capture button events. Also, with the additional functions that sonypi seems to provide to Klaptop, you're supposed to be able to adjust the screen brightness. Since the PCG-K13 has no jogdial and since Klaptop & ACPI already provide the battery monitoring function, the only things that I would like to benefit from the sonypi is the use of fn keys and the adjustement of screen brightness. Unfortunately, right now, none of the sonypi functions are working on my machine (if someone knows a way to make it work, please let me know at the following address: marco dot laverdiere at sympatico dot ca).

Well, it seems that this laptop, like many others, is not equipped with a cable link between the CDROM drive and the sound card.  The result is that you have to rely on CD audio extraction (or digital extraction) compatible players, like KsCD, XMMS (see "digital" option in the CD audio plugin configuration dialog) or Xine (while you're there, take a look at Kaffeine, the Xine KDE frontend:  Some basic CD audio players rely only on "analog" signal output from the CD drive to the sound card.  Such basic players will read the Audio CD and may display CDDB data, but you won't hear any sound.  He...

The modem is an ALI M5457 AC-Link/Intel 537.  It works under Linux with the SmartLink driver (  For installation under Debian with kernel 2.6.5, I just had to do an "apt-get install sl-modem-daemon", then edit /etc/default/sl-modem-daemon to specify the device since "auto" appeared to failed, by replacing "SLMODEMD_DEVICE=auto" line by  "SLMODEMD_DEVICE=hw:0 #(or hw:1depends on your soundcard, I guess)".  That's it!

Here are some instructions I found ( for using this modem under Ubuntu, a Debian derivative Linux distro: 

 Put these two packages on a floppy:
 Try the two sl-modem packages (daemon and source) first. By default, it will try to use the GPL alsa driver (already in the Ubuntu kernel) for the intel chipset since the smartlink modules are not compiled yet.) 
 sudo dpkg -i sl-modem*.deb
 It will complain about missing dependancies. (build-essential and so forth)
 You then do:
 sudo apt-get -f install 
 and eveything else needed is found on your cd. (build-essential...)
 Try to connect to the net.
 You may need to edit /etc/default/sl-modem-daemon to specify the device if 'auto' fails.
 SLMODEMD_DEVICE=hw:0 #(or hw:1depends on your soundcard, I guess)
 If it still don't work, download and install the modules (or make them youself...)
 Then reconfigure sl-modem-daemon to use the slarm modules instead of the snd_intel8x0m module...
 sudo dpkg-reconfigure sl-modem-daemon
 To make the modules yourself, unpack the sl-modem.tar.bz2 in /usr/src
 tar xvjf sl-modem*
 cd /usr/src/modules/sl-modem/debian
 Depends: linux-image-_KVERS_
 This is because Ubuntu uses different package names for the kernel-headers.
 Then do:
 cd ..
 debian/rules kdist KVERS=$(uname -r) KSRC=/usr/src/linux-headers-$(uname -r)
 then install the modules by installing the package you just made:
 dpkg -i sl-modem-modules*

Not tested yet, but I'm pretty sure that it works without problem. It is reported as a Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8139/8139C/8139C+ (rev 10).

Good luck!

Marco Laverdière

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