Sony PCG-FX501

Linux Install Guide

This is written specifically for redhat 7.2. You will need to recompile the kernel(don't worry, instructions on howto will follow). I have indicated the problems and solutions as I found them.

First the steps involved

0. Repartition Hard disk on Laptop

1. Install Redhat

2. Add modules to redhat install to allow recompile of kernel

3. Get the new Kernel

4. Reboot and copy new kernel source/kernel config to laptop

5. Compile kernel using config and source

6. Modify Lilo.conf

7. Give it a try

8. Modify the network card setup

Use partition Magic or similar to repartition your laptop, to allow dual boot of winXP and Linux. For this example, the 20Gb hard disk was split into a 6Gb partition for XP and a 14Gb partition for Redhat Linux. The choice is yours.

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Install redhat 7.2 from the cdrom. Select everything you desire exactly as a standard install. note. Things will go more smoothly if you select the developers workstation, however the following assumes that you have chosen the standard laptop setup.

note: you will notice that when you reboot, you will see a kernel panic with output similar to below

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First you need to ensure you have 5 additional "modules" installed(note if you did a developer workstation install you can skip this step)

Insert the redhat cd1 cdrom and reboot, this should result in the "boot:" prompt.

Next select Enter, or just wait 20 seconds or so and it will automatically start the setup program.

Next select your language(English)

Next select Keyboard Model, Layout and deadkeys as desired(or leave the defaults)

Next select your mouse

You should now be presented with a choice of installation type. In this case you should choose upgrade and select Next

Next you should be presented with a check box, saying "Customize packages to be upgraded". Select(or tick) this box

. Next select the boot laoder - I recommend Lilo here as it is well documented and easier for Nubbies...

On the same screen on the INstall Boot Loader record on:- select /dev/hda Master Boot Record (MBR)

Note: On some newsgroups for various other sony laptops I have seen a recommendation to use /dev/hda1 FIrst sector of boot partition. However, the MBR has been seen to work on my laptop.

Also, note that the /hda and /hda1 may be different on your laptop, depending on your configuration.

Accept the defaults in the remaining Partitin section(unless you know what you are doing) and select Next to go to the next page

Next you should select the following 5 components under the Tree View:-




Development\System\kernel-source - note this is not required, but helps to have it on your system just in case


Select Next and continue

The "About to upgrade" screen appears, select Next if you are happy to proceed.

Various "preparing to install bars should appear, sit back enjoy/

At the prompt, insert cd2 from the redhat collection.

You will receive a "No kernel packages were installed...." message box, select OK.

Next you have the option to create a boot disk, select next

note you can skip this step, its your call.

Finally you reach the Congratulation screen, remove the boot floppy, the redhat cd2 cdrom and select EXIT to reboot

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Next You need to obtain a download of the Kernel. At this time, the only kernel images that I have tested are 2.4.16 and 2.4.17. I have not tested any other version at this time. The kernel image is available from the following link The file to download is linux-2.4.16.tar.gz. You can use later versions of the kernel, but this version is known good and has been running on my laptop for 2 months now.

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In order to get the downloaded file onto the laptop, there are a mix of methods, the one used here is to copy the kernel image onto the windows partition(any other suggestions here greatly appreciated) and then use the redhat cd to boot to a working console prompt. The instructions follow:-

Start windows, then copy the kernel source to "c:\temp".

At this point you reboot using cd1 from the redhat cd collection

This should result in the following ommand prompt:


At this command prompt type:

linux rescue

And press return

Next select your language and press OK

Next select your keyboard and press OK

You should see a "Running anaconda - please wait"

You will now see a "Rescue" dialogue box that indicates that it will try to find your redhat image and mount it under the directory /mnt/sysimage. Select Continue and press return

This should have found your redhat image, if not, time to visit some newsgroups, however if it does, note the following in the Rescue dialogue box "chroot /mnt/sysimage" - you will need this command to generally make your life easier.

Select OK

12. Congratulations, you now have a shell(ie a command prompt for DOS people)

13. You can now run the following command

chroot /mnt/sysimage

Note: All this command is doing is basically setting the root of the tree to a directory two steps down from the root. This is useful if you are doing any compiling, as you will be doing in just a few minutes.

Next create a directory to temporarily store the kernel source. For this I created a directory as follows:-

cd /usr

mkdir kernelsrc

cd /kernelsrc

Next copy the kernel image from the windows partition using the following commands:

mkdir /cdrive

mount -t vfat /dev/hda1 /cdrive

cd /cdrive/temp

cp * /kernelsrc

Next uncompress the file as follows:-

gunzip linux-2.4.16.tar.gz

Which should uncompress the file. List the file name in the directory to verify as follows:-

ls -al

which produces the follwing output. Notice the .gz extension has gone

-rw--r--r- 1 scott scott 129699840 Nov 27 10:56 linux-2.4.16.tar

Next untar the file as follows: this will create a directory strucuture below the existing directory

tar -xvf linux-2.4.16.tar

If you now do an "ls -al" you will notice the original file, plus a directory call "linux"

Next type:-

cd linux

ls -al

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So far so good, you are now ready to start the steps towards your new kernel. Here are the commands, but don't do all of them yet, I will take you through each of them.

make menuconfig

make mrproper

make dep

make bzImage

make modules

make modules_install

cp /usr/kernelsrc/linux/arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.16


During menuconfig, you are prompted to include certain items directly into the kernel. You must find and choose all of the following:- Note, I have a copy of my config, which you can copy into the /usr/kernelsrc/linux directory instead of doing this step. Then type "make menuconfig" then select "Load an Alternate Configuration File", and choose the file "sonyPCG-FX501". Then save the new configuration and exit. If you do this, then miss the following steps. to be done here, incomplete..... should use file above for now.......

Next you can now start the compile process

make dep

make bzImage

make modules

make modules_install

You can verify the modules have been correctly copied, using the following:

cd /lib/modules

ls -al

You should see two directories, 2.4.7-10 and the newly created 2.4.16, congrats.

Next you must copy the new boot image to the correct location. Don't skip this step!

cp /usr/kernelsrc/linux/arch/i386/boot/bzImage /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.16

This sets puts the boot image exactly where it is needed.

Next create a ramdisk image of the kernel

mkinitrd /boot/vmlinuz-2.4.16.img 2.4.16

Next, edit the /etc/lilo.conf file and add the following at the end of the file:-

append= " nobiospnp mem=nopentium"

Note, hda3 may be different on your laptop.

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Finally, run the following commands:

cd /etc


This command "lilo" is essential and is often forgotten. It basically tells the OS the exact physical location on the hard disk where the new kernel image lies.

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That should be it. Now reboot and choose the linux-2.4.16 option on the lilo screen and you should have a working version of redhat on your Sony......

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Once you have logged in, edit the file /etc/modules.conf and add the following line below the "alias eth0 8130too" line

options 8139too io=0x1800 irq=10

For simplicity, reboot and this should enable the network. Note you may need to check that the above settings are correct on your laptop, to do this, simply use Preferences,Information, PCI and search through for "Ethernet Controller: Realteck Semiconductor Co." - below this line will be your io and irq settings, though I doubt they will be different from above.

Any emails on your success appreciated.

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Posted by '김용환'

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