- Last Updated on Saturday, 07 April 2012 00:19
- Written by MrB
I put Fedora 16 64 bit on the latest Sony VAIO Z Series
Fedora 16 has stuck with Gnome 3 which is a fantastic interface but has disappointed with the lack of further development on the surface.
Gnome 3 still has no built in desktop applets for multiple clocks, weather or RSS tickers (I only really miss the multi-clocks). That said, it still looks stunning. One welcome addition is the beginning of the online integration of the desktop. So far your Google account is the only one you can add but it is a start and if you're a power Google user (mail, calendar, chat, Docs etc) then your Linux world just became a lot simpler. Other chat accounts can still be added through Empathy for integration into the desktop (as per Fedora 15) but you still need to open Empathy to get it started.
Firstly, unlike my previous Sony laptop the Webcam worked out-of-the-box which was a welcome surprise. Unfortunately though, the SD card slot in the laptop did not work (which did in my previous laptop, weird). Luckily I usually use the USB connection anyway but it would be a nice-to-have.
The most important thing to note is that hot-switching the dock in/out does not work and will crash the system. You need to power down (why is there still no button in the main menu for that?!) completely before yanking the dock cable out, plugging it in or pressing the blue button.
The hardest thing to adapt to was the trackpad. It is wild. The problem is I can't remember what it was like in Windows so I'm not sure if it's normal. For some reason when running under Linux, click and drag is done with one finger in the bottom left hand corner of the pad. Clicking and dragging with two fingers sends it into spasms. To right click you place one finger on the trackpad and left click. So you need two fingers to right click. Why? I have no idea, that's just the way it works. Again, I almost always use a Bluetooth mouse so not really an issue, just takes some adjusting to get used to it.
This leads me on to Bluetooth and Wireless. Both are working perfectly without tweaking unlike 15. Bug fixed.
The Z series VAIO comes with an external dock for when you need a little more grunt. It houses an optical drive, network point, second video card and some extra ports. All this worked fine except for the addition video card. If I want to go big screen(s) I have to use the HDMI and/or VGA ports in the laptop. This was a big disappointment. I suspect that with some proprietary ATI drivers we may have some success but, again, it's a nice-to-have that's a little further down the to-do list.
The other big disappointment which I really did want to use was the fingerprint reader that's built in to the laptop. I know Fedora supports fingerprint readers but this one is not natively recognised.
That's the built in toys covered, now for the experience. When it comes to actually using the system it is simply stunning. It laughed at everything I threw at it. Watching media, editing photos, churning md5sums, 3D rendering, nothing could slow it down. The i7 processor, 8GB RAM and RAID solid state hard drives just ate it all up. I love it. This is the best way possible to enjoy Fedora. Suspend/resume, hibernate, keyboard media controls all worked without problems. The screen is amazing. Don't be fooled by the 13.3" measure on the tin. Sony crams a full 1920x1080 resolution into that which is as good as most 24" monitors these days. It's handy if you happen to be switching to an external 24" monitor as there's little or no screen resize required.
It's very hard to get an accurate measure of power consumption but so far, no complaints. I think it claims 5 hours on the tin (like I said, I never actually used Windows on it) and depending on the task I get at least 3.5 to 4.5 hours out of it before it starts complaining. That's with me forgetting to turn the screen brightness down. Oh yes, you have to adjust the screen brightness manually in Fedora.
All in all I give it 7.5/10. It loses one each for the video and fingerprint support and and half for the crazy trackpad. The raw power makes up for it though.
- The speed, the power
- Webcam support
- Networking and Bluetooth supported
- Reasonable power consumption
- Power management (sleeping, brightness controls) supported
- No fingerprint reader natively
- No video support for the HDMI in the dock
- No SD card reader
- Freaky trackpad
- Hot-switching the dock in/out does not work - in fact, it will crash your system
Want to get the most out of Fedora? Check out the Fedora 15 enhancement guide here. It's mostly the same in 16.
Want to use Skype on 64 bit Fedora 16? Here's what you need
- First, download the RPM for Fedora on Skype website.
- Launch the terminal and type the following command to install the required libraries:
- sudo yum -y install libXv.i686 libXScrnSaver.i686 qt.i686 qt-x11.i686 pulseaudio-libs.i686 pulseaudio-libs-glib2.i686 alsa-plugins-pulseaudio.i686
- Install the Skype RPM.
- Double click the package or run (as root)...
# rpm -ivh skype-22.214.171.124-fedora.i586.rpm