VGA out, avi weirdness (was Re: [Techtalk] sonypid/spicctrl)

Akkana akkana at
Sun Aug 18 19:05:43 EST 2002

Conni writes:
> The Fn/F7
> combination doesn't really *do* anything, nor does Fn/F4 increase the
> volume, nor Fn/F3 mute.  And the jogdial still doesn't work.  When I put

On my SR17 (don't know if this is true of your '77), the function keys
are handled in software, not hardware -- so they have to be handled by
the sonypi driver.  But on my machine (I talk about this on my page)
enabling the function keys disables the machine's ability to suspend,
so I don't enable function keys because they aren't that important to
me.  (As of 2.4.17; maybe this is fixed in the current sonypi driver,
but I haven't tried to find out.)  Anyway, the sonypi documentation
(sonypi.txt in the kernel's Documentation directory) talks about how
to enable them using fnkeyinit, and why it's not on by default.

> the line 'sonypid &' in .Xclients and startx, X starts, then fails, with
> this as the last few lines: 

You need to specify some sort of window manager in .Xclients.
X starts up, executes that file, and only hangs around until the file is
finished executing; that's why quitting from the window manager makes
X close down.  So you need to add a line after sonypid & with "startkde"
or "gnome-session" or "icewm" or whatever window manager you use.

Also, you can test by just starting up X normally and then running
sonypid -d from a shell window, and watch the output to see if it's
seeing events when you scroll the wheel.  Then if you want to fiddle
with anything, you can just hit ^C to kill the program, stay in X,
make whatever changes you need to make and then run sonypid -d again.
That's a lot faster than starting and stopping X all the time.

> This is normally where I just throw my hands up and give up, and wait for
> a newer kernel or what have you.  Unfortunately, I *really* need to get
> the VGA out and divx working by 9/10, because I've said I'd let the anime
> club show digisubs from my laptop.  (Or I could just give up and say I

I'll be interested to hear how that goes.  I have managed to drive
an external monitor with my SR17: I made a backup copy of XF86Config-4
then edited the existing one to use 800x600 instead of 1024x768, and
it drove a monitor fine.  I think this means it will also drive a
projector, but I haven't had a chance to try it and see.

Probably a better way is to add 800x600 and 640x480 as optional
resolutions in XF86Config-4, then use the magic "switch resolutions"
key in X (I know there is one, but I always forget what it is)
just before hooking up to the projector.  I'll probably try that
first if I ever have to give a talk using computer slides.


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