Re: OpenBSD on Sony Vaio notebook?
- From: jKILLSPAM.schipper@xxxxxxxxxx
- Date: 31 May 2006 16:31:31 GMT
RGC <graemec@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Is this a place where a BSD newbie can ask stupid questions with some
hope of getting sensible answers?
For reasonable values of 'stupid', yes. And sensible answers are not
There is also openbsd-newbies and misc@xxxxxxxxxxxx Especially the
latter does require some lurking though.
A little about myself:
I've been running Linux for over half a decade (mostly Debian in the
last few years) and I have a background in programming and electronic
design, so I'm not a total luser. Some of my software education was in
the use of formal methods for software development, which still isn't
done much except in safety-critical systems such as aerospace. (No, I
haven't done any aerospace work.) From what I've read about OpenBSD
you folks take correctness and security seriously, and that's what I'm
looking for in an operating system.
I'm considering buying a Sony Vaio VGN-FE15GP notebook and I'd like to
be able to run OpenBSD on it. I was hoping some of you could look over
the specs and tell me whether I am going to have major difficulties
getting the important parts of OpenBSD to work.
For the original specs, go to:
Here are some of the highlights (excuse the uneven editing):
Intel? Centrino? Duo Mobile Technology
Intel? Core? Duo Processor T2300 (1.66GHz) *1
Embarassingly, I do not know if and how this works. I suppose bsd.mp
(the SMP kernel) would be required.
Intel? PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
This card is supported by wpi(4), which was added in -current. I'm not
sure if it is also compiled by default, but I believe this is the case.
You'll need to pkg_add the firmware, though. Blame Intel.
Intel? 945PM Express Chipset
If this bears any relation to graphics, I'm fairly confident there's
a new port in -current that might be interesting to you -
Not sure about the specifics, but that should give you at least a
direction to Google in. ISTR it is related to using all of that nice
wide screen you mention below...
Processor System Bus 667MHz
Memory Bus 533MHz
Cache Memory L1 Cache: 64KB L2 Cache: 2MB (on CPU)
Main Memory 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (upgradeable up to 2GB)*2
(partially shared with video memory)*3
2 SO-DIMM slots (The pre-installed
memory module uses one)
Fairly uninteresting to support, though it has more power than my main
desktop computer I'm typing this at (my laptop, recently acquired, is a
venerable Thinkpad 390X).
Hard Disk 80GB (C: 20GB, D: 60GB*4) Serial ATA, 5400rpm
Optical Drive Dual Layer rewriter
Should work. Take a good look at the SATA adapter, though - it's very
likely to be supported, but it would truly suck if it wasn't.
Graphics Accelerator ?Dual display compatible
?3D graphics acceleration compatible
?NVIDIA? GeForce? Go 7400 with NVIDIA?
TurboCache?*3 (PCI Express x16)
Not supported - no graphical card is. When you run OpenBSD, you'll have
to make do with unaccelerated X.
It will, of course, do unaccelerated X just fine.
Video Memory 256MB*3
Display 15.4" Wide (WXGA: 1280 x 800) TFT colour display
This will be a pain to configure, also see my above note about
Interfaces ?USB 2.0 x 3*6Works.
?i.LINK (IEEE 1394) S400 (4 pin) ?S-Video Out connectorI wouldn't know about this.
?ExpressCard?/34 slotNo clue.
?Network (RJ-45) connector (100BASE-TX/10BASE-T)No clue, you don't list the protocol (USB?).
?Headphone jack (stereo mini)
?Microphone jack (stereo mini)
?Monitor connector (VGA, D-SUB 15 pin)
?Modular (RJ-11) connector
?Docking Station connector
?Memory Stick Duo Slot*7 (MagicGate compatible,
Memory Stick PRO Duo compatible, High-speed
data transfer compatible)
Wireless LAN ?Integrated Wireless LAN IEEE 802.11a/802.11b/802.11g*See above, about wpi(4).
?Intel? PRO/Wireless 3945ABG Network Connection
Bluetooth? standard version 2.0+EDR*9 ?Output: maximum +6dBm ?Frequency:
This isn't going to work - bluetooth isn't supported, really. Given the
number of problems with the protocol, I'm not sure that is such a bad
thing, either. ;-)
Modem V.92 and V.90 Compliant
Unlikely to work - WinModems don't work under pretty much any *NIX, or,
in fact, anything other than Windows.
PC Card (PCMCIA) Slot Type I/II x 1, CardBus Support
Camera 310,000 pixels effectiveNo clue, probably not.
Image Device: OmniVision 1/5", VGA CMOS
Built-in monaural microphone (front side)I wouldn't know about this.
Audio ?DSD compatible high quality sound chip: "Sound Reality"
(Intel? High Definition Audio compatible)
?3D audio (Direct Sound 3D support)
I tried to boot OpenBSD 3.8 on the Vaio but didn't get very far. A few
screens of unfamiliar messages rolled by and then it all came to a
screaming halt. I suppose I should've written down the last thing that
appeared on the screen but it didn't seem very important since the
obvious next thing to try is to download 3.9 and see if it fares any
Actually, upgrading to -current seems to be the way. If you want to have
the latest and greatest hardware, -current is probably the way to go -
but you do get to keep the pieces.
Wait until after the hackathon, though - -current is currently far too
unstable. There are some slightly older and mostly functional snapshots
on my server at
http://jschipper.dynalias.net/pub/OpenBSD/snapshots/i386, but you would
not be wise to trust some random usenet poster.
Be aware, though, that running -current does mean that you're expected
to be able to solve most smallish problems. In particular, the provided
snapshots at http://www.openbsd.org/pub/OpenBSD/snapshots/i386 should be
mostly functional, but the source tree might or might not build at any
If you still have problems, post back with the messages you see. It's
usually possible to get troublesome hardware to boot by disabling one or
more devices - boot -c enables kernel configuration before boot, and
'verbose' is a very useful command here.
I was able to run Damn Small Linux 1.3.1 (I had it lying around and just
thought I'd try it) but it didn't recognise a USB mouse (it did work
with the built-in pointing device). Perhaps DSL needs to be specially
reconfigured to work with an extra pointing device.
I was able to run Knoppix 4.0.2 on one at the store (just around the
corner (trying to support local business)) but I had to use acpi=off,
noapic and pci=bios in order to do so, or else it only got as far as
loading the cardmgr for PCMCIA before blanking the screen and hanging.
The Knoppix F2 screen says that that's for buggy BIOSes. It's a Phoenix
Once Knoppix was up, it recognised the mouse but not my Creative Labs
MuVo TX FM MP3 player as a flash drive. Strange, because the MuVo
appeared okay under DSL on the Vaio. On my home computer, plugging in
the MuVo eventually causes a new icon to pop up in Knoppix. Strange,
because USB was definitely working, or else the mouse wouldn't work. I
couldn't get sound to work under either DSL or Knoppix, though the mixer
seemed to think there was some sort of Intel sound system under Knoppix.
I don't know what DSD sound is, whether Sony's implementation of it is
any good, or whether there are any decent drivers for it. I'm prepared
to live without sound under Linux if that's necessary. Fortunately the
(wired) networking Just Worked(TM), so that's a relief. Also, Nvidia
has recently released Linux drivers that support the Go 7400 and can
suspend, so there's hope for the 3d graphics subsystem, at least under
From what I've done so far, it seems that I should be able to get Linux
working on the thing, sort of, so I'm _probably_ going to go ahead and
buy one with a gig of main memory.
What I want to know from you people is how well the thing is likely to
work under OpenBSD, and where the pitfalls are likely to be.
If you want to have a slightly less painful way to meet with OpenBSD -
which is really nice but does not always support as much devices as
Linux, especially where laptops are concerned - and really want to do so
on a laptop, I'd prefer anything by IBM. The developers are Thinkpad
junkies, so Thinkpads in particular tend to be well supported.
Which is not to say that you should not be able to get the Intel one
working with OpenBSD - most of it should be supported now, and work is
definitely underway to add support for the rest - but between running a
system you're not really familiar with, the usual troubles with
-current, 'testing' some new drivers, and having generally difficult
hardware, it might be more trouble than you'd be willing to go through.
OTOH, it will teach you a lot about the internals. And it should be
 This is a bit of a hot topic in OpenBSD land.
http://www.undeadly.org and the offical OpenBSD site are both
campaigning for truly open drivers, instead of Linux' wrappers for
binaries provided by vendors.
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