Thursday, April 23, 2015

Uubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet on the 2014 Dell XPS 13 - 9333

Ubuntu 15.04 and its community-maintained derivatives are the GNU/Linux releases that the 2014 Dell XPS 13 deserves. Shipping with the 3.19 Linux kernel, Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet has improved Intel Haswell chipset support, updates to the wi-fi driver stack, and improved multi-touch Elan touchpad drivers.

Installation of Ubuntu 15.04 is pretty straight forward. I focus on running Xubuntu, but below are are a few tweaks and tricks to get your Dell XPS 13 9393 running any Vivid Vervet release.

Sound fix
After installing Ubuntu 15.04 you may not have audio working properly on the 2014 Dell XPS. The fix is simple, you just need to turn off HDMI audio out. 

Left click the sound icon in the upper right hand corner of your desktop and select Sound Setting. Once in the Pulse Audio Volume Control navigate to the Configuration tab and set the

Suspend Fix
When installing Xubuntu you will have to set your laptop to suspend on close when on battery. Without changing this configuration the only the screen will turn off and your battery will continue to drain.

The 3.19 kernel handles suspend and wake wonderfully. To ensure you XPS 13 is suspending properly navigate to Settings>Power Manager. In the General settings tab, set When laptop lip is closed to Suspend while on battery.

Configure the Touchpad
Past Linux kernels have had broken Elan Touchpad drivers. Since the 3.16 kernel the Elan touchpad on the 2014 Dell XPS 13 has been able to accurate register two, three, and four finger gestures, finger width, and palm detection. Unfortunately the xorg-input driver has three and four finger detection disabled.  In order to re-enable them you will have to patch the xserver-xorg-input-synaptics driver.

The process is straight forward and a complete step-by-step guide can be found here.

Enable Smooth Tear Free Video Playback

Enabling Intel's tear free hardware settings allows for smooth tear-free video playback during videos and gaming with the Intel HD 4400 integrated graphic chipset.

To enable the Intel driver TearFree option in a terminal type:
sudo mkdir -p /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/
sudo wget -q -O /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-intel.conf
Then reboot:
sudo reboot

Via the terminal check to see it was the enabled:
cat /var/log/Xorg.0.log | grep Tear

Your /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/10-intel.conf file should contain the following:
# last update: 29 March 14
Section "Device"
    Identifier    "Intel Graphics"
    Driver        "intel"
    Option        "AccelMethod"  "sna"
    Option        "TearFree" "true"
If the tear free option is no showing that it has been enabled check your configuration.

Disable Bluetooth at Startup
I never use bluetooth and find that having it enabled and turned on all the time is a waste of battery resources.

First disable the adapter, in a terminal:
sudo service bluetooth stop

To check in bluetooth is turned off or on, in a terminal type:

Now we need to keep the bluetooth adapter from turning back on when we reboot. Use your favorite editor (gedit, mousepad, nano, etc) to change the InitiallyPowered entry in your /etc/bluetooth/main.conf file from true to false.

In a terminal: (mousepad is the default text editor for Xubuntu, in Ubuntu use gedit, or for Kubuntu kedit)
gksu mousepad /etc/bluetooth/main.conf

Under the InitiallyPowered entry
InitiallyPowered = true

InitiallyPowered = false

As always I want to thank the author of