15z

Introduction

This page should give you all the information you need about running Ubuntu on a Dell XPS 15z laptop. XPS 15z works fine with Ubuntu, read this whole guide before start installation.

Installation gotcha's

  • Boot installer as described on the boot options section (to access boot options press any key when the purple screen with human=keyboard appears.)
  • USB installation: booting with an USB 2.0 storage on the USB 3 slot works to direct installation.

Hardware Support Matrix

Precise 12.04

Quantal 12.10

Raring 13.04

Keyboard

Works

Works

Works

Screen

Works

Works

Works

Ext. Screen (HDMI)

Broken*

Broken*

TBD

Ext. Screen (Mini Displayport)

Works

Works

Works

Wired ethernet

Works

Works

Works

Wireless ethernet

Works

Works

Works

Trackpad

Works

Works

Works

Sound

Works

Works

Works

Optimus

Works with manual changes

Works with manual changes

TBD

9-in-1 card reader

Works

Works

TBD

Webcam

Works

Works

Works

* The HDMI is physically connected to the nVidia card -- by manually changing the xorg.conf, it is possible to start X on the nVidia card only, getting the HDMI video (at the cost of inactive main laptop screen and the Mini Displayport output).

Hardware

Boot options

Depending on your kernel version one of the two following fixes are needed (before 3.2.0-33 or on and later).

Add to the grub boot line the following options by pressing [e] when on the grub loading page, and add the following just before quiet splash :

For 3.2.33 or later and 3.5 or later

acpi_backlight=vendor dell_laptop.backlight=0

For 3.2.32 or before

acpi=noirq

To keep these option edit the grub command. Execute this in a terminal :

$ sudo gedit /etc/default/grub

And modify the line :

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

It to obtain this line :

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="acpi=noirq quiet splash"

Then, save, close, and back in the terminal, execute :

$ sudo update-grub

Now, when you will restart, it should be great.

Optimus / Graphics cards

Bumblebee and nvidia-current driver

With 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 525M Graphics Card with Optimus installing nvidia-current drivers from restricted drivers causes the loss of compositing. Moreover running nvidia-xconfig crashes X on the next reboot (fix it with sudo rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf and reboot). This happens because you need Bumblebee to make it work, more explanations follow the suggested procedure.

The Bumblebee stable PPA and more information about this subject can be found in Bumblebee.

As an example, using Bumblebee, it changes battery rate from 1900+ to around 1600 for me (verwilst). The current rate (with disconnected charger) can be tested using:

grep rate /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state

Installation on 12.04

Add bumblebee ppa, reload, check your update and install bumblebee. Finally add your $USER (replace by your username) to the group bumblebee :

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bumblebee/stable

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

$ sudo apt-get install bumblebee bumblebee-nvidia

$ sudo usermod -a -G bumblebee $USER

Now restart, and check your configuration :

$ glxspheres

$ optirun glxspheres

And compare the fps... If you need to use the nvidia video card, launch your application with optirun at the begin of the command line.

Black screen with mouse pointer after boot

If you get a black screen with only the mouse pointer displayed, you might be having a race condition with lightdm. This seems to happen more frequently when booting from an SSD drive. You can find the resolution of this error here.

9 in 1 card reader

Download the drivers at post #10 http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1718934 uncompress the file, open a terminal and cd to the uncompressed directory and type

# make

and then

# sudo make install

reboot

The above procedure doesn't seem to work on 12.04, a workaround I found is to run the following script

#!/bin/sh

echo Insert the card

TEMP_FILE=mktemp

echo 1 > $TEMP_FILE

sudo cp $TEMP_FILE /sys/bus/pci/rescan

rm -f $TEMP_FILE

and then insert the card in the card reader.

The abose workaround doesn't seems to work for all configurations. The following works fine:

Insert your card in the card reader

Reboot

Your card is automatically detected

Trackpad

Full multi-gesture trackpad usage does not work at this moment.

A kernel update provided by Project Sputnik seems to bring basic functionality out of the box, therefore the "basic mouse" procedure described below won't be necessary.

Information about the recently released kernel can be found here and the kernel PPA is here.

Hopefully the drivers included with the Project Sputnik kernel will be included in the mainstream kernel soon.

If you don't feel confortable installing a non-standard kernel, it is possible to get basic mouse functionality with the following command:

# sudo rmmod psmouse; sudo modprobe psmouse proto=imps

( Or use proto=bare or proto=exps ).

To make this persistent, add the following line to a file in /etc/modprobe.d/ (/etc/modprobe.d/options.conf could be an option, but modprobe parses all the files in that directory):

options psmouse proto=imps

With 12.04, works fine since the kernel update 3.2.0-31.

Wireless connection

Wireless connection can be seldom hard to bound or discontinue, it depends on power management settings.

A script named wireless and located in /usr/lib/pm-utils/power.d fires PSP when the pc is running on battery. If you want to override this setting create an empty file named wireless into the folder /etc/pm/power.d/.

In some cases PSP can be triggered also by other events like stand-by. If this is your case add the following lines to /etc/pm/power.d/wireless

#!/bin/sh

/sbin/iwconfig eth1 power off

Anyway power management can be always manually turned on or off by giving the following command on terminal

sudo iwconfig your lan name power off or power on

With 12.04, if your wireless connection is very slow, do the following:

$ sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi.conf

Add the following content to that new file:

options iwlwifi 11n_disable=1

Save this file

$ sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi

$ sudo modprobe iwlwifi

USB 3 mass storage

If your USB 3.0 mass storage device is not recognized, even for fdisk or lsusb, you can try blacklisting the USB Attached SCSI module. Add the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

blacklist uas

Hibernate

To hibernate, on ubuntu 12.04, laptop should be certified, but it is working fine with this type of laptop, so if you like to activate hibernate function, you have just to create this file :

$ sudo gedit /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/com.ubuntu.desktop.pkla

And add this content inside :

[Re-active lhibernation]

Identity=unix-user:*

Action=org.freedesktop.upower.hibernate

ResultActive=yes

It's all done, just reboot !

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/HybridGraphics

Boot options for kernel 3.2.0-33 or later

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1072891

Trackpad

http://comments.gmane.org/gmane.linux.kernel/1108661

Information on Bumblebee (for graphics card Optimus support)

Wireless

Power saving polling issues on Official Dell Forum

How to disable PSP on Ubuntu

HardwareSupport/Machines/Laptops/Dell/XPS/15z (last edited 2013-04-27 06:16:24 by kaaloo)