Re: MoBo Blues
I own a higher-specced version of the Vaio Pro 13 (i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, touchscreen), here's the so far list of Linux issues:
* An annoying EFI bug that requires putting the Grub bootloader files in a non-standard location (apparently a lot of distros won't boot at all without manually moving some files around, I'm running Gentoo so I had to do it manually anyway). Fortunately disabling secure boot didn't present any challenges.
* SD Card reader (Realtek RTS5209) works fine if there's a card in it at boot, otherwise you have to tell the kernel to re-scan for PCI devices or it never shows up.
* The touchscreen (eGalaxTouch EXC7910) works with the kernel drivers, I've tried the manufacturers ones (supposedly enables 10-finger touch and other features) but all they seem to do is consume 100% of one CPU until killed.
* The WiFi card had a bad habit of not working at all after waking the machine from sleep. That seems to be fixed as of about Linux 3.13-rc1.
* Also fixed as of 3.13-rc1, USB3 devices wouldn't work on a cold boot, only after a reboot.
* The lack of a real ethernet port is not ideal, but there isn't actually any part of the laptop which is thick enough to fit an ethernet port. I bought a cheap LevelOne branded USB3 gigabit adapter after I checked it was Linux-supported (Uses ax88179_178a module), aside from a bit of extra CPU usage it works fine.
On the list of things that do work, surprisingly the NFC receiver (NXP PN544) that's mounted under the touchpad is perfectly functional, although there's something of a lack of software to do anything with it.
Battery life is reasonable, 6-6.5 hours on a good day (versus maybe 7-7.5 in Windows 8), not all that bad considering the somewhat small 36Wh battery. The intel P-States CPU scaling driver seems to help a bit over the standard ones in the kernel.
I don't know if I'm meant to have granular control over the brightness of the keyboard backlight, there's at least an on/off switch.