Installing Slackware Linux 13.1 on Sony Vaio VGN-C140G
Last updated: 28 August 2010
Note: No Longer Maintained, Laptop Given Away.
This is my laptop, facing open. The built-in Memory Stick
reader is on the right bottom.
This is my laptop, lid closed.
My various Memory Stick related hardware. From left to
ExpressCard 5-in-1 reader, Memory Stick Duo Adapter, and 4 GB
Stick Pro Duo card.
General Hardware Specifications of Sony Vaio VGN-C140G:
Status under Linux
|Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo 1.66GHz (each)
|13.3" XWGA LCD with XBRITE-ECO
|Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
||Does not like VESA modes. Do not know
to switch between external and internal monitor in Linux
|2GB PC4200 RAM
|250 GB Western Digital Scorpio 5400 rpm SATA
||Not original equipment: an upgrade.
|Built-in Memory Stick reader
|Compatible with Sony Memory Sticks up to 4 GB
|Marvel Fast Ethernet 10/100
|Internal 56k Modem
||I don't care. Removed it.
|CD+/-RW, DVD+/-RW / DL drive
|Intel 3945 series Wireless Card
|Lithium-Ion Battery (not sure total capacity)
||I get about 2.5 hours life on it in Linux so
| Texas Instruments PCIxx12 Cardbus
| Texas Instruments
OHCI Compliant IEEE 1394 Host Controller
|Keyboard Media Keys
|Sony VGA-MCA20 5-in-1 Memory
|Reads xD, SD, MMC, and Memory
Stick Pro up to 4 GB in size, and Memory Stick Pro Duo (with
adapter). Not compatible with SD HC or any cards
larger than 4 GB
This laptop is operating under Kernel version 188.8.131.52
Basic Installation of Slackware 13.1 Linux:
- I use Slackware Linux because I am familiar with it. I
like its stability, predictability, ease of use (believe it or
and the fact that there are no disappointments with it like with
distributions. Better to promise nothing and deliver
than to promise something you cannot deliver ("Hope deferred
- I installed Slackware on a "fully" encrypted disk (everything
except /boot). The
instructions are available as README_CRYPT.TXT on the Slackware
mirrors. I have mine set up using LUKS via one
also encrypted my external hard
drive using LUKS. This configuration helps quite a bit
someone steals (or I lose) my laptop or external hard drive, I
have to worry about them stealing my information. I did
the 256 bit encryption key size specified, however: I went with
default (128). So
far I do not see much of a slow-down.
- I get Slackware Linux from the
- Installing Slackware Linux is easy if you follow the
directions. See below, however, for additional advice.
- I do a lot of post-installation tweaks. I have a running
package repository on my machine courtesy of Robby Workman, Eric
and Slack Builds dot org.
- Most my security related tweaks are found here and my configuration
- I add a firewall to /etc/rc.d/rc.firewall. This is very
easy, and Slackware is already programmed to run this script if
is a link to the Easy Iptables Firewall Generator that Eric Hameleers
- I did a little benchmarking. There are some raw
device read times at the bottom of this page. Also, I
the various filesystems against each other using a 1GB SD Card
had lying around. I will say that before EXT4, XFS was the
filesystem to use. It is still a very good filesystem to
to the features such as a defragmenter and its ease of use of
files. However, I benchmarked based on actions I typically
perform, such as upgrading software due to security patches, and
building kernels, and EXT4 was faster than XFS. My default
filesystem is now EXT4.
- Just because the Slackware installer has ext4 selected doesn't
mean that it is the "default" filesystem. In my opinion it
just where the cursor begins when you get to choose your
- If you are worried about the supposed "write hole" problem
EXT4 (i.e. losing files in a power outage, something I never
experienced), add the auto_da_alloc, journal_checksum, and
options in your /etc/fstab per the
Setting up additional features for Slackware Linux:
- If you're like me, you got annoyed when Slackware 13.1 booted
and chose your screen's maximum resolution, making the text
unreadably small. To change this, set video= in your
append statement to video=800x600 or whatever you wish. My
tend to like 800x600 on this laptop.
- Slackware 13.1 ships with cryptsetup and Xfce not liking each
other (not Slackware's fault: the fault exists in cryptsetup and
Xfce). I suggest recompiling cryptsetup to the latest
then upgrading Xfce to the one Robby Workman has in his
repository. Also, you may need to fix udev a bit (read here
for how to fix it, but only if you run into further problems).
- Slackware 13.1 ships with KNotify that crashes all the time
no apparent reason. The fix is here:
tell it to use an external sound player. That and I
disabled sound notifications altogether in KDE (because I'm not
KDE so much). Seems to have fixed the problem.
- To use wicd (in /extra) to graphically select your wireless
network, you must add such a user to the netdev group.
they will not be allowed to manage network devices.
- This is the first release of Slackware Linux where, even when
installed as a fully encrypted hard drive using the instructions
hibernate the machine (suspend to disk) and
it works both in saving and restoring from. Just make sure
follow the directions and specify at boot
As of writing this, Slackware Linux 13.0 and higher are the ONLY
distribution I know that you can install completely encrypted
drive and the system not break itself. Ubuntu didn't seem
the option (though you can hack it and make it work), Mandriva
Free had the option but at first system update it broke, etc.
- Slackware no longer requires an xorg.conf for the Intel
- Previously you had to recompile your kernel because
default generic-smp kernel did not have the scheduler timers
PowerTop required, and was missing some laptop-friendly
tweaks. However, now Patrick has included these, and
comes with Slackware, so recompiling the kernel (at least for
me) is no
- The touchpad on this machine works fine. It is an ALPS
touchpad. I don't bother using any enhancements. In
usually specify "options psmouse proto=exps resetafter=1" in
/etc/modprobe.d/psmouse.conf with good effect. This
fanciness I don't need while ensuring that tap-to-click, and
double-tap-and-drag work properly. Previously, you had to
to get tap-to-click and other things working. Now for some
Xorg likes to add scroll regions to the touchpad (which annoys
I'm still specifying these module options, but for most of you
it is no
- To create a script that backs up your important information,
add the script to /etc/cron.daily/ as "backup", i.e. name the
and make it executable. From there it's very easy.
look at my own backup script, found here.
use a cron job to
update my machine because it is a laptop and, due to my work
changing often, this can lead to lack of updates to my
Therefore, usually I manually run my backup script at every
an icon on my XFCE4 desktop (see my Xfce
page for more information on the stuff you can do to
- I used to defragment my filesystem once a week when using
XFS. My defrag
script is located here. The
run LILO afterwards is because if a kernel image is moved during
resizing, the result is that your system will not boot if you
update LILO. Personally, I prefer LILO to GRUB, for those
thinking that GRUB would be the way to fix not having to do
- When using the built-in Memory Stick Pro card reader, memory
cards are created as /dev/mspblk0 and then partitions on
them as /dev/mspblk0p1, etc. With Slackware 13.1, now
up on the desktop in Xfce automatically (before you had to add
- I noticed that Slackware specifies no options to tmpfs in
/etc/fstab, meaning half your RAM becomes a tmpfs file space at
have yet to meet anyone using Slackware whose tmpfs is actually
utilized. I have yet to see it get used. On my own
I specify "size=1m" in /etc/fstab options for tmpfs so that it
only 1 MB of RAM. So far I have yet to see any
adverse effects, but change the size of tmpfs only with
Supposedly the Synaptics driver for Linux uses tmpfs, but since
laptop doesn't have a Synaptics touchpad. Since I
get cleaned at poweroff, I sometimes set up /tmp to be tmpfs by
specifying "tmpfs /tmp tmpfs defaults,mode=1777,size=128m" in
- I made a custom acpi_handler.sh
script. I started off first with a logger that simply
what was going on by logging to /var/log/acpi. After this,
started adding features to it. I used to use it to change
scaling governors, but now the Xfce power manager thingy does
me. I will add features as I have the time, but for now
at least useful so that you can see what is going on and then
take actions on it. My
acpi_handler.sh script typically only contains some entries for
tweaking the virtual machine via /proc and setting hard drive
features using hdparm.
- The media keys on this keyboard work, you just need to map
them. I use Xfce so I use their keyboard shortcuts
As for the volume up/down, this works, because Xfce's
keyboard preferences uses XF86AudioRaiseVolume to run "aumix
and XF86AudioLowerVolume to run "aumix -v-10", etc. These
tell aumix program to raise/lower the volume by 10 percent
(roughly). You can therefore adjust how much raising /
you get by adjusting the command. As for screen
Xorg sees these buttons and already maps them so that the Xfce
manager turns up/down the LCD brightness (previously you had to
- If you are using a "fully" encrypted hard drive setup, make
you use a proper initrd (see /boot/README.initrd, the mkinitrd
page, and README_CRYPT.TXT on the install CD/DVD for more
Remember that -r is the root crypto device (/dev/cryptvg/root
example) and -C is the partition (/dev/sda3 for example).
that now you can suspend to disk ("hibernate"), so be sure to
and set the suspend partition (/dev/cryptvg/swap) and you should
good to go.
- This graphics card does not
like VESA modes in Slackware 13.1. Be sure you use
in your lilo.conf
statement, at least for now. As of Slackware 13.1, the
module / driver automatically loads at boot and
sets up framebuffer. I do not know how to control what
switches to as of right now because it appears not to honor
entry in lilo.conf.
- I cannot figure out how to switch between local
LCD and external VGA monitors at will on Slackware 13.1.
Basically, restart your
computer with the external monitor plugged in and hope it
like garbage. I've ran the church slide projector from my
using that method.
- xorg.conf (no longer needed due to new
Xorg in Slackware 13.0 and higher)
- If you really
want my kernel config, here
for kernel 184.108.40.206.
- hdparm test of local Western Digital Scorpio WD2500BEVS-00UST0
Hard Drive (firmware: 01.01A01): cached reads:
MB/sec, buffered disk reads: 56.95 MB/sec.
- hdparm test of local optical drive (PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-K16M,
cached reads: 896.02 MB/sec, buffered disk
- hdparm test of local card reader: Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo
cached reads: 748.36 MB/sec, buffered disk
- hdparm test of a Sandisk Cruzer Titanium 4GB USB stick: cached
reads: 862 MB/sec, buffered disk reads: 18.44 MB/sec.
- hdparm test of a 512MB SD Card in the Sony Memory Card
cached reads: 768.23 MB/sec, buffered disk reads: 8.04 MB/sec.
- In a real world read test of Slackware 12.2's packages (i.e.
slackware-12.2/slackware/*/*.tgz), I got the following for
read performance: it took 1 minute 45 seconds to read all
from my USB Sandisk Cruzer 4GB drive, 2 minutes 45 seconds to
my onboard Sony Memory Stick Pro Duo reader, and 4 minutes 30
to read from my onboard DVD drive. However, since
Slackware takes about 12 minutes, due to writing to the onboard
drive, installation media speed may not be much of an
that if your install media is the same as your install target
installing from one partition on the hard drive to another
that same hard drive) your install and upgrade speed will be
than using a separate drive.