Hi Linux, again! (Ubuntu 18.04 on Dell XPS 9350)

Once every N years I give Linux a try. I’ve been a great supporter in the past and I always enjoyed tinkering with my OSes. I gradually lost the appetite due to jobs always requiring a windows PC, making the use of Linux a pain.

For my previous attempt to use Linux, in the summer of 2017, I used my Dell XPS 13 (9350) machine. This model is touted by Dell and Ubuntu as “Linux developer friendly“. I used an Ubuntu 16.04 as my distribution of choice. In short — I was disappointed. Nothing was working properly, the system was crashing and overheating. I gave up after a couple of days.

Well, since it has been a year, time for another try – this time using Ubuntu 18.04. It’s been a week so far and I am still using it, which says a lot (for me at least).

The bad:
  • Wayland was not fixed, but simply, not used.
  • The default session is based on Gnome 3, which is buggy and slow. CPU usage on minimal interaction was extremely high. Even things like glxgears was jerky every few seconds.
  • Hibernation needs to be enabled manually, and a lot of Googling has to be done prior to that point.
  • Mouse cursor high DPI issues still unresolved for applications such as Firefox or Spotify (I use Chrome so that is less of a concern to me).
The good:
  • Hardware is fully supported (who remembers the days when you had to figure out whey the sound is not working?)
  • X11 works great, no more half-working Wayland.
  • KDE works great.
  • Battery lasts as it should.
  • No crashes so farm, even with all my tinkering.
  • High DPI is better than in 16.04.
  • Most of the stuff can be fixed if you follow Google!
  • It is getting better.
I will keep trying to improve my experience in the next weeks. But, so far, these are some of the articles that helped me:

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About the Author: Alexandru Ciobanu

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