Install Ubuntu 15.04 on the Dell XPS 13 9343 (2015) : A complete guide (update)

This guide is outdated and for reference material only! Please use the new and up-to-date guide now ! 

Update 8/11/2015 : 15.10 Installation guide is live!

Update 2/11/2015 : Ubuntu 15.10 is out and includes a lot of new features (kernel 4.3 🙂 ). Some bugs have been corrected, some new bug have appeared. I am compiling my experience and I will soon publish a new guide on how to install and make Ubuntu 15.10 run smoothly on the Dell XPS 13. See you soon!

Update 14/10/2015 : I missed it but the fix for the kernel panic on resume as been released on 11/10/2015 . No need to add  lp14115880 PPA anymore. A simple system update will fix the issue. The guide has been updated in consequence.

Update 30/09/2015 : Barton George published a way to use the touchpad in PS2 mode using the new libinput. I tried it. After an hard time to configure it properly, I did not noticed any improvement so I went back to the default touchpad in I2C mode. That is the reason I won’t add this to the guide. If you want to use it regardless. You can follow this guide (witch is the same than Barton’s guide but better explained in my opinion). Please leave a feedback on your experience!

Update 10/09/2015 : Barton George explained on his blog that the XPS 13 Developer Edition has been sold out in Europe (not yet in US) and won’t be produced again because Dell is working on a new model (witch will come out “sooner that 9 month“).


Hi everyone!

It’s been a little more than one month since I published my first guide “Installing Ubuntu 15.04 on the Dell XPS 13 9343 (2015) : A complete guide“. I got a lot of comments and feedbacks. I was not expecting this and I’m glad I helped !

Since the last guide, a lot of thing changed. First of all the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition was pulled from the market. The Sputnik Team wanted to fix the major issues before continuing to sell them (wise decision :)).

As of now (September 2015) the XPS 13 Developer Edition is back on the market (not in every country for some reasons) and a lot of important issues have been fixed.

Canonical, the Sputnik Team and the community did a great job. The process to install Ubuntu on the Dell XPS 13 is now easier ; that’s why I decided to write a simpler and updated guide taking into account all the new fixes and feedback I received :

Installing Ubuntu 15.04 on the Dell XPS 13 9343 (2015) : A complete guide !

Happy reading!


I – Preparation

Update your BIOS

First of all, you need to update your BIOS. The current last version, A05,  can be downloaded on Dell website.

If you are not sure which version is your BIOS you can see it by booting your XPS and quickly press the F12 key. On the bottom of the screen you will see : “BIOS Revision A0X“.

To update your BIOS, boot into Windows, download the latest revision and install it.

If you do not have Windows installed you can use the following method to update your BIOS under Linux.

 

Create bootable USB key

Download Ubuntu 15.04 and create your bootable USB key using your favorite tool (Rufus, Unetbootin, Linux Live USB creator, etc…).

For my installation I used Rufus with the following settings :

  • GPT partition scheme for UEFI computers
  • FAT32 (Default)
  • 8192 bytes (Default)
  • Quick format

 


II – Installation

You won’t be able to connect to Internet out of the box in Ubuntu 15.04, so for the installation you will need either :

 

When everything is ready boot your USB key by selecting it in the BIOS menu.

Install Ubuntu as usual, make sure you have checked “Download update while installing” and “Install third-party software“.

Once the installation is over, you need to install bcmwl-kernel-source package if your Wifi does not work :

Open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and run :

 

If you do not have a USB Wifi/Ethernet adapter simply install bcmwl-kernel-source_6.30.223.248+bdcom-0ubuntu2_amd64.deb package you previously downloaded on your USB key.

 

Update

When the installation part is done update your system :

Then restart your computer.

A bit of cleanup !

Congratulations! You have now a working Ubuntu 15.04 installation. From now on, some issues need to be solved.

 


III – Solving issues

Kernel panic on resume from suspend

Frequently during a suspend the XPS 13 goes in kernel panic. When tried to wake from resume the laptop stuck on black screen and the caps lock led keep blinking. The laptop need to be restarted to work properly.

The issue come from the Broadcom firmware (again) when the Wifi card change the status of the network.

Canonical published a PPA including a patched version of bcmwl package to correct this problem.

A patch to correct this issue has been released on the 11/09/2015 in Ubuntu repositories. Run a simple system update (if not already done) to apply the patch and fix this issue :

No audio

If you have no audio (no speaker displayed in “Sound Settings”)  just do two cold reboot (= completely shut down your laptop twice). Audio will work fine after that.

Bluetooth does not work properly

To make Bluetooth work properly you need to install the Broadcom firmware.

Reload the module and Bluetooth should work.

 


 IV – Others tweaks

Optimize battery life

See my post : Optimize battery life on Ubuntu.

Optimize the trackpad

The trackpad is pretty nice, although some tweaks will make it better suited to your personal use by using 50-synaptics.conf config file. You can use this one for example :

You can edit this config file to better fits your preferences. The Arch Wiki page on Synatics trackpad explain in details all the possible configuration.

Screen resolution (QHD+ Display)

See my post : Optimize Ubuntu interface scaling on HDiPI screen.

Disable touchscreen

If you do not use the touch screen you can disable it :

Simply Add :  Option "Ignore" "on" on the “evdev touchscreen catchall” section of the touch screen, like this :

 


You can now have fun with your XPS 🙂

If you have any problem or some fix/tweak you want to share, feel free to leave a comment.

*Note : English is not my native language, if you see any typo or grammar mistake please contact me and I will correct it as soon as I can.

  • Carlos Ng

    sound did come show up after i update the kernel to 4.16 like in your previous guide, but i notice that after that update the screen will just go black. meanwhile i have a youtube video in the background running. Any idea?

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  • Carlos Ng

    sounds still shows up once a while, maybe bc i dual boot windows alot? is there some configuration i need to do ? Also right clicking seems disable. is there anything i can do?!

    • hg8

      If you are using a dual boot, you will need to do two cold reboot every-time you switch from Windows to Ubuntu. It is a known bug with the I2S Audio Interface.

      • Lucijan

        is there any way to fully fix this?
        like a kernel patch or the upcoming A06 update?
        thanks for the guide!

  • hg8

    1) Great if it worked out of the box for you (I don’t know why it does not work for me). You still need to had the PPA.

    2) Take a look here if you still have no sound : http://askubuntu.com/questions/613056/no-audio-in-dell-xps-13-ubuntu-15-04

    3) A fix a been committed in kernel 4.1.6. It should be coming soon on current kernel.

    4) Are you sure you used the 50-synaptics.conf file ?

    • Carlos Ng

      Ok thanks, but about the 50-synaptics.cof file i did download it, and just in case i didnt i redownloaded it and it says that i already have. But for the third code ”
      sudo cp 50-synaptics.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/” nothing happens did i do something wrong?

  • yuhc

    Still waiting for A06. It has taken quite long time.

  • hg8

    How often does this happen ?

    It happen to me as well but very rarely…
    I think your best bet would be to call Dell support.

  • Franco

    I got my Dell XPS at the end of August with broadcom. I just tried Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS using a live boot from a usb. Wifi didnt work at first but fixed it downloading additional drivers from the Software and Update menu. Sound didnt work. After I changed back to windows it didnt work either. After a couple of restarts and reverting some changes I did to BIOS (disabling safeboot and enabling legacy boot) it started working again. Should I try Ubuntu 15.04? What are the major differences in terms of compatibility with the XPS hardware?

    • hg8

      Ubuntu 15.04 fixed a lot of issue. For example Wi-Fi now work out of the box and I does not encounter touchpad freeze anymore.
      You do not need to use your BIOS in Legacy mode. I recommend you to keep UEFI mode.
      For your sound problem, do not forget that If you are using a dual boot, you will need two cold reboot every-time you switch from an OS to another (Windows to Ubuntu, Ubuntu to Windows…) to get sound working properly.

  • Patrik

    You are a savior!! Solving the kernel panic actually got rid of my touchpad issues (in addition to the resume blank screen). Before, my touchpad would sometimes think I left-clicked even though I was only moving the cursor around. Also, scrolling too fast could cause the whole computer to crash. Thank you so much!

    • hg8

      Glad it helped =)

  • Matthias Johnson

    I had trouble with the bluetooth fix. The firmware was giving me issues. First it was horrible lag and repeat keys galore with my bluetooth keyboar, then I was seeing errors.

    I took the approach from the arch wiki: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Dell_XPS_13_(2015) and that got the firmware to load. I also had to run “rfkill unblock bluetooth” before i got it working.

  • Carlos Ng

    Is this still normal? When resuming from a suspend the screen works then couple secs later it goes all black. The only way to make it work again is to close the lid and open it again hoping that the screen is working! is this the wifi card problem?

  • Franck Matteoli

    Thanks !! It helped me a lot to install the 15.04 on my XPS!!
    I still have issues with the trackpad, went all over internet and tried a bunch of things and now i “lost” the right click…. i will continue to try and if i find how to get it back alive, i let you know.

  • Dan

    Anyone going to attempt the upgrade to 15.10?

    • hg8

      I have. Sommes bugs are gones. Sommes bugs are back. Will update the guide soon.

      • Dan

        Good man! Thanks!

  • Kyle Brower

    Installed 15.10 – doubted your step on the audio, then rebooted 2 or 3 times and it finally turned on… gotta love it. Rocking dual-boot Ubuntu for now, I have the touchpad issue on Windows 10 that doesn’t look fixed yet.

  • Franco

    This guide
    is great! I was dualbooting ubuntu 15.04 with windows 10 but Im running out of
    space. I want to erase windows10 completely and keep only ubuntu. If I backup
    my windows10 partition can I clean install windows10 in the future and have it
    all return to normal? Just in case I mess up or for some reason want to return
    to windows10.

    • Kyle Brower

      I think with Windows 10, the license key is injected in the motherboard. So you could re-install win 10 at a later date with no issues. I’m dual booting as well for now.

      • Franco

        I would still need to do a backup though right? And then boot it from the external hardrive?

  • cutalion

    Awesome guide, Hugo! Thanks!
    I’m waiting my xps 13 9343 and reading about issues with Ubuntu.
    I actually prefer LTS releases. Should I choose 14.04 or 15.10?

    • hg8

      Hello cutalion!
      I am sorry I won’t be able to properly answer your question as I did not tested 14.04 for 4 month now. I am currently running 15.10.
      As the day I received my XPS, 14.04 was unusable (mouse freeze, keyboard repeat, kernel panics). But a lot of fixes have probably been released now for 14.04. Maybe you could try and leave a little feedback ? 🙂

      • cutalion

        Sure. But I’m still waiting it 🙁

  • Franco

    This guide has been a ton of help! Im currently running 15.04 relatively smoothly. Only problem that bothers me is the kernel panic I get after “waking up” my computer from suspend. From what I have gathered the issue seems to be happening when the broadcom card changes the status of the network. So sleeping or changing networks rapidly can trigger it. I have found some threads on the bug.

    http://askubuntu.com/questions/664879/dell-xps13-kernel-panic-on-suspend

    https://github.com/advancingu/XPS13Linux/issues/13

    https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/bcmwl/+bug/1415880

    Any fix for this with 15.10? Cant wide for your update!

    • hg8

      Hi Franco. Are you sure your system is up to date ? The fix for kernel panic on suspend has been released on 11 October 2015. Moreover Ubuntu 15.10 include this fix.
      Update your system and see if the issue is still here :

      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get upgrade
      sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

      • Franco

        Hey Hugo! My system is up to date. Kernel panics have disappeared. Thanks for the heads up. Another issue I sometimes encounter is the blinking cursor when I’m writing jumps to different locations in text randomly. This has happened only a few times and it just kind of goes away after a while. Have you encountered something similar? Thanks for all the help 🙂

  • blastStu

    Thanks for the guide. I have a Skylake XPS 13 (9350).

    When I boot either with Legacy boot or uefi Ubuntu is not able to see the hard disk, or it see many partitions (as if it is getting confused).

    This model of laptop has Intel Rapid Storage Technology, which I think *may* be causing the problem. Do you have any suggestions for running Ubuntu with this technology?

    Thanks.

    • hg8

      Hello BlastStu.

      I personally never encounter a problem because of Intel Rapid Storage Technology and I think the problem may come from the Skylake processor.

      I recently come across this : http://askubuntu.com/q/691216/338915. I am not 100% this is the same as your problem but you can give a try.

      Please leave a feedback if this worked or not 😉

    • hg8

      Hello again,

      In fact I have found the source of the problem.

      You need to disable RAID in BIOS Settings and to activate AHCI Sata mode.
      Unfortunately you will need to revert those change if you need to boot Windows again (and vice versa).

      Please refer here : http://askubuntu.com/q/696413/338915 for more information.

      • blastStu

        thanks for that. Yes, I tried AHCI mode, but Windows didn’t boot. Perhaps I will just have to switch back and forth. thanks.

  • Johnny D. Wi Cked

    Ubuntu15.10 with kernel has one bug I experienced repeatedly and that is a shutdown hang or freeze. I’m running the os on my msi gt72 2qe with the broadwell processor i7 5700hq and gtx 980m. I need help fix this and tried shutting down, halting etc thru the terminal and it still doesn’t work. Oh, the constant desktop freeze went away after I updated my laptops bios firmware. It had something to do with intel broadwell microcode.