Vaio Pro 13 Fedora

Sony Vaio Pro 13 vs Fedora 19

So I gave in and purchased my shiny new i5 Vaio Pro on Saturday from JB HiFi for $1184 with a bonus 1TB Sony 2.5″ USB3 HDD thrown in for free.

The first order of business is of course removing Windows 😉

Well it was more of a fight than I thought it would be (or maybe, due to the fact I usually install Linux on older laptops which tend to have better support, I was just naive).

After waiting what seemed like an age to burn the Windows 8 Recovery DVDs (all 4 of them, taking a grand total of about 2 hours on my slow USB DVD burner) it was time to remove Windows 8.

Removing Windows was painless, insert the Fedora 19 DVD and power on the Vaio using the ‘ASSIST’ button positioned above the keyboard. After disabling Secure Boot and booting the Fedora Installer, the installation proceeded without incident.

Upon rebooting however, I was greeted with a screen stating that the Vaio could not start Windows. After much googling it seemed the issue lies in the non-compliant Insyde H20 BIOS looking for the EFI bootloader in only certain locations (/EFI/Microsoft, /EFI/redhat, /EFI/Boot) and requiring it to have a certain filename. This is a problem as Fedora by default adds its booloader to /EFI/fedora/grubx64.efi.

The solution is to copy the ‘fedora’ directory to one called ‘Boot’ (so you end up with /EFI/Boot). The file grubx64.efi must then be renamed to bootx64.efi. This will require a LiveCD or the Rescue mode on the install DVD. This allowed the system to boot. Update: If you experience difficulties booting, copying the files or random error messages are printed to the screen, read this.

A quick check revealed  most hardware working correctly including the touchscreen, keyboard backlight, USB, Audio, Touchpad (with a few minor annoyances that I have yet to fix). The exception to this is of course is WiFi. (From my investigation it seems the Ubuntu kernel is compiled with support for this adapter so it *may* work out of the box or simply require the firmware instead of a full kernel compile)

The Vaio Pro 13 uses an Intel 7260 802.11ac wireless adpater which currently has some issues in Fedora. This first issue is that the iwlwifi module in the the current shipping Fedora kernel (3.9.8) does not even detect the card as it lacks the PCI ID for the Sony derivative. So to fix this I downloaded the SRPM for the kernel and added my 1 line patch to add the PCI ID.

After compiling and installing the new kernel, the GRUB2 conf file must be updated as it is now in a non-standard location. Run the following command as root:

# grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/efi/EFI/Boot/grub.cfg

Now reboot and then run dmesg, which should show that the device is detected and now requires firmware (iwlwifi-7260-6.ucode).

The second issue is that the firmware is not currently shipped by Fedora. Luckily I found an rpm here. Then its just a matter of running #modprobe -r iwlwifi and  #modprobe iwlwifi or rebooting.

dmesg now showed a segfault in iwlwifi. Determined to get WiFi working I went to koji and found the latest kernel build (3.10.0-0.rc7) and proceeded to patch and test it. This time it was successful, the firmware was loaded and NetworkManager connected to my WiFi network. The kernel rpms are avialable from here.

Another problem I have noticed but not yet fixed is the CPU frequency scaling. Using the ondemand governor the frequency is stuck at 800MHz. Changing to performance clocks it to 1.6Ghz but does not allow it to enter Turbo Mode. I will be investigating the new Intel PState driver in the future. UPDATE: I have applied a patch to enable the pstate driver in my new 3.10 Kernel. See this post for more details.

Overall it now works quite well and is a very capable Ultrabook. Let me know in the comments if you need any additional details about running Linux on it.

33 thoughts on “Sony Vaio Pro 13 vs Fedora 19

  1. abcleanonme

    Thanks for the report! I’m glad to see Linux running reasonably well as I’m planning to pick one of these up in the coming weeks and that would be a deal breaker for me.

    Reply
  2. Eric Louis Young

    I am currently attempting to configure the 13 vaio pro with arch linux. It took me 2 days of trial-and-error to discover the kernel needs a boot param of “libata.force=noncq” to even use the SSD(i have the 128gb version).
    Now I’m working on the wifi, thanks for posting, some of this might help me.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Sony Vaio Pro 13 vs Fedora 19 | Nix Adventures : ちゅどん道中記

  4. John Smith

    When i boot my vaio pro with fedora i get “More than 8 outputs detected” after the fedora logo finishes loading. It waits there for about 30 seconds before it will let me log in. I have used you repo on a different post that patched the kernel and fixed the WiFi and it worked great. Do you know how to fix this other error?

    Reply
      1. John Smith

        yes I followed all of your instructions in all of your blog posts. When I use the “systemd-analyze blame” command, 2.095s plymouth-start.service is the longest time. I feel like it just hangs or something on boot and is not actually doing anything.

        Reply
  5. gr0undzer0

    Thanks so much or this article and your repo. I was bashing my head against a wall trying to install arch. I’m a fedora guy but was trying something new. I went back to fedora to make sure it wasn’t the laptop its self. When I searched fedora vs vaio pro and found your site you’re the only one who had the answers. Most people just said “you’re hardrive is dying”. So cheers!!! Please also submit your kernel mod upstream.

    Reply
  6. John

    So everything was working fine until today after I updated and now my Wi-Fi has stopped working. I even switched to the kernel that came from your rpm in the grub but it still did not work. Any idea on how to fix this?

    Reply
    1. Nick Brackley Post author

      You will need to uninstall iwl7260-firmware.noarch and install the version from my repository. This is because the kernel I compiled uses version 6 and the Fedora package is version 7.
      I am in the process of recompiling the new Fedora kernel (3.10.3) with patches so that the new firmware can be used. I will post SRPMS and patches too.

      Reply
  7. struberg

    Txs for this very helpful blog!

    Got my vaio pro 13 today.
    I’m a long time linux user (interrupted by some MBP lately) but I did fear about driver support for this pretty fresh baby. So I did some testing + power metering with a F19 boot USB stick
    Since I got 4 to 5W on fedora and btw 5..7W on the pre-installed Win8 (even after uninstalling McAffee) the decision to switch to Linux was pretty easy.

    To add also some more feedback: Fedora rawhide now contains a nice 3.11 kernel which contains most of the needed stuff [1] and also the firmware for the WLAN module [2].

    What I’m missing right now is the proper cpufreq. Mine only stays at 800MHz right now.

    [1] http://koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/buildinfo?buildID=457729
    [2] http://koji.fedoraproject.org/koji/buildinfo?buildID=438478

    Reply
    1. Mike

      Thanks for the tip.

      That rawhide 3.11 looks good. I did the following:

      # yum install fedora-release-rawhide
      # yum –enablerepo=rawhide update kernel kernel-modules-extra

      This installed me:

      kernel-3.11.0-0.rc7.git0.1.fc21.x86_64
      kernel-modules-extra-3.11.0-0.rc7.git0.1.fc21.x86_64

      The wifi firmware can be taken from the fc19 repo, which is the version 7 matching that needed by the above kernels:

      iwl7260-firmware-22.0.7.0-28.fc19.noarch

      After rebooting WiFi works, and the SD card reader has come to life.

      CPUs still look stuck at 800 MHz though (unless I manually change the govenor to ‘performance’).

      Reply
  8. Pingback: Any openSUSE-12.3 Intel-7260 wireless experience ?

  9. Mike

    Any luck getting the SD card reader to work? I think it’s this device, but no luck finding a driver yet:

    Bus 002 Device 003: ID 0bda:5727 Realtek Semiconductor Corp.

    Reply
    1. Mike

      Actually I think that Id might be the webcam, and the 3.11 Kernel makes the SD card reader work in anycase!

      Sorry for the noise.

      Reply
      1. Nick Brackley Post author

        Hi Mike,

        After some testing it seems that the SD card reader works on older Kernels too (3.10) but only if the SD Card is inserted before the laptop is powered on. It’s certainly a bit strange and something I will be looking at when I get a bit more time. I will compile a 3.11 Kernel when they make it to Fedora 19 updates (updates-testing if I get impatient).

        Reply
        1. Mike

          SD card hot swapping works okay with kernel-3.11.0-0.rc7.git0.1.fc21.x86_64. I too am looking forward to the official 3.11 kernel hitting updates-testing.

          Reply
  10. vincent

    I’m trying to install fedora 19 on vaio pro 13. The install went fine, but I can’t boot to F19.
    In the /EFI partition I have a Boot and a Microsoft directory, but no fedora directora.
    I have these 3 directories in /boot/efi/EFI/.
    Should I delete /EFI/Boot and /EFI/Microsoft and replace them with those in /boot/efi/EFI/?
    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
  11. vincent

    I was looking at partition SONYSYS (/dev/sda1) and not at the /EFI partition (/dev/sda3). Now everything is just going fine. SDcard works if the card is inserted before starting the computer. Thanks a lot!!!
    vincent

    Reply
    1. Mike

      SD card works properly under kernel-3.12.0-0.rc2.git1.1.fc21.x86_64, taken from rawhide but under Fedora 19. The Intel pstate driver is also in, so finally it looks to make use of the fancy i7 CPU.

      Bluetooth still doesn’t work though:

      hci0: Start Discovery (0x0023) failed: Not Powered (0x0f)

      Pretty much every Bluetooth action reports “Not Powered 0x0f”.

      Amazing that Linux is so late supporting this hardware….

      Reply
  12. Anonymous

    I just don’t know what is going on here.

    With UEFI:
    LiveUSB verifies fine, partitions are configured for UEFI, install, restart, “VAIO has detected an invalid operating system”. Try Legacy, “Operating system not found.

    With Legacy:
    “Operating system not found”.

    The instructions aren’t good enough, although I have tried everything. There are several /Boot directories. With UEFI there’s Sony’s /EFI/Boot, efi partition with /EFI/Boot, other boot partition with /efi/EFI/Boot, root partition /boot/efi/EFI/Boot

    I’ve tried those together with /fedora and in some cases even with /redhat, none of them works. I didn’t forget to rename grubx64.efi where it’s supposed to be renamed.

    What am I missing? Why are there so many options? What is going here?

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I deleted the last original partition, installed Fedora 20 Alpha because reasons, and it worked. I guess the disk needs to be completely wiped before anything will work.

    My concern was that the assist button feature (going into bios) would be gone, but it’s still there.

    Reply
    1. Pascal C

      Hello,

      I tried your tip (put /EFI/fedora/* under /EFI/boot + renaming grubx64.efi or shim.efi to bootx64), but it did’nt work for my Vaio Pro. I had to use bcdedit (shell windows 8):
      bcdedit /set {bootmgr} path \EFI\fedora\shim.efi

      Now, it is OK:
      # efibootmgr -v
      BootCurrent: 0001
      Timeout: 0 seconds
      BootOrder: 0005,0008,0001
      Boot0001 Windows Boot Manager HD(3,363800,82000,ca3648d5-6a17-4dc0-bef3-58b69d08bef0)File(\EFI\fedora\shim.efi)WINDOWS………x…B.C.D.O.B.J.E.C.T.=.{.9.d.e.a.8.6.2.c.-.5.c.d.d.-.4.e.7.0.-.a.c.c.1.-.f.3.2.b.3.4.4.d.4.7.9.5.}……………..…
      Boot0005 Sony Original HD(1,800,82000,7ea56625-9f8c-4c9a-9f76-d700d78ab469)File(\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\bootmgfw.efi)
      Boot0008* Windows Boot Manager HD(5,425800,a785800,c40355b5-afc7-44e0-98ed-aa192a095f0a)File(\EFI\Boot\bootx64.efi)

      Maybe bios update or windows 8.1 update may explain that your solution didn’t work for me (perhaps new security features for bootmgr)

      Regards,
      Pascal

      Reply
  14. R

    Thanks, Pascal! Your solution worked for my Vaio Pro 11 to dual boot Fedora 19 and Windows 8.1 using Grub as the default bootloader.

    Reply
  15. H,

    Thank you, but i’m wondering if anyone can do a video tutorial (there are beginners here) that will be awesome. thanks again.

    Reply
  16. Pierrick Couderc

    Hi!

    Has anyone tried to upgrade with Fedup to Fedora 20? I did, but unfortunately Grub doesn’t work anymore. I can boot using the Grub dreaded prompt, if I regenerate my grub.cfg it recognizes everything, but each time I reboot there’s always the dreaded prompt…

    I asked on FedoraForum if someone knows, for now nothing…

    Reply
    1. Pierrick Couderc

      So, for those interested, I didn’t managed to get it work. I finally formatted my Fedora and EFI partitions to reinstall from scratch, and it worked out of the box, without any change to do in the EFI partition =) Fedora 20 works like a charm on the VP!

      Reply

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