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Red Hat 7.3 linux on Sony FX601 Laptop.


After buying myself a new laptop I decided that I would have a go at putting linux onto it. I started out by installing SuSe 8.0 onto the laptop, the install went smoothly until the end where it decided to crash. Anyhow I restarted it and all and was fine. But I quickly found that I could not get the sound or the modem to work. I had downloaded the conextant drivers for the modem and installed them, SuSE just did not like it one bit and none of the dial up agents could see the modem. So after a month of playing around trying to get it to work I thought I would wipe SuSE off and install Red Hat 7.3. As I had played around with Red Hat before on some of my desktops I knew what I was getting. I find that Red Hat has a smoother setup then SuSe and it tends to get things right first time, like setting up USB and flash cards.

The install of Red Hat went without any problems, and it even got the sound working with out me needing to do anything. At that moment I had the feeling I was going to be able to get the modem to work as well, as I thought the sound and modem problem were to do with the same thing. I went and switched on my desktop PC and download some drivers off the net for modem making sure it was suitable for the chip set I had on the modem. And hey it worked first time, I didn't even have to get involved in it too much either. Much of what is here will also be the same for other versions of the Sony FX laptops.

Anyway here's what I've done, which is not a lot

A quick spec of the laptop is:

  • AMD Duron 1.1Ghz
  • 256Mb RAM
  • 20Gb Hard Drive
  • DVD Drive
  • 14.1" XGA Screen
  • Internal Modem & LAN


The table below gives information about the devices on the laptop and what was done, hopefully in should be of some use to someone who's having difficulties getting all the parts on there laptop to work with linux.


Device Notes / Information Status of device under Red Hat 7.3
Floppy Drive Standard floppy drive. It can be removed and replaced with the weight saver. Working
Hard Drive Standard mini hard drive. Note it has two partitions C and D. when I put linux on I had to wipe windows off first then format drive D to FAT32 (so linux could recognize it), install Red Hat on drive D and finally install Windows XP making sure it only formatted drive C and not drive D as well. Working
DVD Drive Standard drive, Plays DVD OK with Ogle Working
Touch Pad Setup as a standard PS/2 mouse Working
Video card and Screen Red Hat recognized the ATI RAGE MOBILITY-M1 AGP graphics card, but I can't find any 3D drivers for it (for games). I set the screen up on install as a generic 1024 by 768 pixels laptop display Both work
Sound Red Hat recognized the sound card which is a VIA AC97 Audio controller (WDM) Vendor ID 1106 & Device ID 3058 Working
Serial and Parallel Both are standard and use standard kernel drivers Working
PCMCIA Slots Not sure about these yet, have not had anything to try them out on ?
USB Ports Red Hat sorted them out on install with no problems Working

Conexant-Ambit SoftK56 Data,Fax Modem. Vendor ID 1106 & Device ID 3068. You will need to download the HSF drivers, you will also need to know if your Kernel architecture is i386, i586, i686 or athlon and also your Kernel version.

In Red Hat you may find out your exact Kernel architecture by typing the following as a shell command:

rpm -q --qf '%{ARCH}\n' kernel

Click here to get the drivers for the modem.


Realtek RTL8139 Family Fast Ethernet NIC.

Standard drivers loaded by Red Hat on install. I've not tried it out fully but it seems OK

Power management Using the special Fn keys tends to hang linux up. For example pressing Fn and Esc (giving the suspend command) works OK going into sleep/suspend but fails to come back out of it again. Needs to be looked into more deeply

It seems that the Sony FX601 Laptop is largely compatible with Red Hat linux although there seem to be problems with SuSE linux on it.


Check the sites below out for more information about Linux on Sony laptops

Useful linux modem driver links:

Conextant drivers:

Intel drivers:







Web pages built and by A R Martin E-mail at:


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