The laptop is a R505 EL and the cd drive is built into the docking station.
The main laptop doesn't have a cd drive (no hdb cdrom).
The CD drive on the docking station interfaces with the laptop using firewire. The CD drive itself is an IDE device.
I can login as root, yes.
After fdisk, I type 'setup' and go into the setup menu.
In the menu, I want to choose CD/DVD drive as the source, but the system can't find it.
I ask the installer to search for the CD drive, but the installer won't find it.
I've visited a few of the sites on http://www.linux-on-laptops.com/sony.html before coming here. The site doesn't have my model but the installations are similar for most of the models.
The solution they propose is getting an operational linux going using NFS, FTP, or other installation methods. Then, compiling the modules or adding the functions into the kernel, like you suggest Tobyl.
What I really want, is to find a solution so that people that buy Vaio's with docking stations will have an easier time installing linux. (Can't start an installation without the CD drive.
Hopefully within the week, I'll install slackware on a spare machine, compile a kernel with support for the CD drive, then make a boot (floppy/cd) so that I can start the install process on the laptop. This way, assuming it works, my floppy/cd can be distributed to people and I can claim to have made a tiny, itsy, bitsy contribution.
Thank you very much Tobyl and Hiper for your responses. At least I know I wasn't completely ignored. Thanks to the communittee for looking at the post.