Oct 16, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneric on Dell XPS17 L702x (Updated Dec 14 2011)

The good news is that everything works. My spec is 8Gb, Core i7-2720QM, hybrid dual graphics Optimus technology - HD3000 + NVidia GT550M with dual 640Gb drives and 1920x1080 display.

Now, here is what you need to do to get everything working. Thankfully, its all relatively simple:

Install Ubuntu 11.10 from scratch. My attempts at upgrading in place where not exactly successful. Everything seemed to work, but it was unstable and I began finding things that did not work as well as they should. An fresh install and everything went very smooth indeed.

After the install you will encounter the following issues:
  1. The touchpad stops working a few seconds after you login.
  2. You cant hybernate or suspend and shutdowns may hang.
  3. OpenGL Graphics do not work, you may be prompted to install nvidia drivers (dont do it, it is the kiss of death).

Its very simple to fix all of the above.

  • Fix the touchpad by changing turning off the 'Disable touchpad while typing' option. While you are there, turn on two finger scrolling and horizontal scrolling. The Synaptics touchpad hardware and the Linux multi-touch implementation is as good as the Apples.

  • The issue with the shutdown, hibernation and suspension is an issue with the USB3 driver. To work around it, insert a file into /etc/pm/config.d (I called mine 'XPS17-custom') with the following content:

SUSPEND_MODULES="$SUSPEND_MODULES xhci-hcd ehci-hcd xhci_hcd ehci_hcd"

  • To fix the OpenGL graphics and to enable the use of both Graphics adapters, install mesa-utils, driconf and Bumblebee. There are several distributions out there for both Bumblebee and an offshoot project called IronHide. Dont use any of the distributions from Github, instead carefully follow the instructions on the stable Ubuntu Bumblebee Project


Follow these steps ...

Install mesa-utils and driconf...

    $ sudo apt-get install mesa-utils driconf

    When selecting the profile to install, if you are unsure which to use, use mine. There is one called 'cmdematos'. If you are happy with it, confirm it to increase confidence in others as well.

    Published in the hope that this helps you towards a smooth installation experience!

    [Edit 10/17/2011] - I am using an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 with built-in Bluetooth and experience no problems with it whatsoever. Some earlier Intel wireless cards have reported having issues suspending and waking up. These issues are supposedly corrected as of kernel 3.0.0-8.11.

    If you experiencing issues with your suspend/hibernate, try adding the following to a file in /etc/pm/config.d/intel-wireless.