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I have a Sony Vaio notebook (VGN-SR) which came with Windows Vista, which I un-installed and replaced with Ubuntu Linux 9.04. Under Windows I had the ability to adjust the screen brightness, volume, etc, by holding down the function modifier key (labled “fn” and located between the control and window keys) and pressing the corresponding function key (i.e. F3, F4, F5, etc).

The computer also came with a few built in keys called “mode, “settings,” as well as five other keys with no labels. They did something under Windows Vista, but now don't do a thing. The computer also came with a built in web cam. Any idea how to get all of this working under Linux?

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There are Ubuntu Laptop Testing pages at the Ubuntu Wiki.
There is also a short page on the Sony VGN-SR19XN.
This page lists compatibilities already tested for specific models.
And, you can add-in details of your testing.

I am not sure of your 'SR' model is the same as the one listed there,
moreover, that page does not give a lot of checks either.
It is usually a good idea to check these pages while
getting a new laptop that you intend to boot with Ubuntu.

Having said this, if you do not find your model on those pages,
the next place to start looking at is the UbuntuForums (an example from google lookup).

There is also a VaioUbuntu blog which might have some useful notes
(turns out its for the FW series though).

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