Dell Precision 5520
Notes for Installing Linux
You will need to disable Secure Boot in the BIOS. Repeatedly press F2 when turning on the laptop to get to the BIOS screen.
During installfest events, we'll use PxE booting (network booting) as an alternative to using so many flash drives/LiveUSB sticks. This will require some special configuration in the BIOS, see Installfest_PXE_Server for details. You will have to allow legacy boot & decrease thunderbolt security (to unauthenticated access) to get PxE booting over ethernet to work properly. Installation of Linux via UEFI/PxE booting on legacy boot works well for these laptops. You will need Dell's specific ethernet dongle to do PxE booting on them.
The GPU is based on the Maxwell architecture, which is not fully compatible with the FLOSS nouveau driver. You may need to install the nvidia proprietary driver or the bumblebee driver with nvidia for graphics to work. nouveau may not work well as a daily driver, but it is okay to have running during installation on a Live USB with a Linux distribution on it (it is the default of most distros to include nouveau instead of nvidia).
Bumblebee for battery/power mgmt.
Bumblebee increases battery life on Linux by a lot. The ArchWiki page tells you how to install it.
If you accidentally install the nvidia or just vesa (NOT mesa, which is needed) driver (and maybe nouveau too) WITH bumblebee (happened to me on Manjaro Linux in the "Hardware Configuration" part of KDE settings when I got some weird dialog asking me to install vesa to uninstall an nvidia package, I forget what, or I might have just been experimenting), you'll need to uninstall them. In these cases, Linux may not boot to a login screen and you'll need to press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to get a shell (it says tty, that just means a virtual Linux terminal). Login as the root user/enter the root password you have set. You specifically need to install the bumblebee and possibly intel-mesa (?) drivers and uninstall the others using your package manager. See the page at the ArchWiki page for more detailed/better instructions/details on how to install/uninstall bumblebee/get the nvidia/intel drivers themselves back.
Touchpad scroll gestures, etc
(Historical information from March 2018):
I uninstalled libinput and installed libsynaptics or something to get reverse scrolling/less touchpad force needed (FingerXLow/FingerXHigh, similar to that) options using a config file. libinput is working on the issue right now.
You can also see if those options are in your distro's mouse settings. KDE is fixing this issue by making the descriptions more detailed/understandable.
Manjaro Linux still has issues with installing libsynaptics. It tries to remove libsynaptics and install libinput every time I update. I am using libinput even though there is currently no way to fix the trackpad sensitivity.
The 2017 laptop given to Rose students has the following specs:
|Processor||Intel Core i7 7820HQ (2.9GHz stock, 3.9GHz boost, not overclockable)|
|RAM||SK Hynix 16 GB @ 2400MHz DDR4 (2x8GB SODIMM sticks)|
|Solid State Drive||M.2 SATA3 256 GB (approx. 238.42 GiB) Solid State Drive (theoretical max 600MB/s); spare drive bay (m.2 SATA)|
|Display||15.6" FHD 1920x1080|
|Video Card||Nvidia Quadro M1200M w/ 4GB RAM (supports Vulkan and OpenGL)|
|Network Cards||Intel Dual-Band 8265 802.11ac wireless, Gigabit (1Gb/s) Ethernet and PxE (network) boot via USB Type-C port using a compatible USB-C to Ethernet adapter|
|Battery||3 cell Lithium-Ion 56 WHr|
|USB||(2) USB 3.0 and (1) Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C form factor)|
|Pointing Devices||Synaptics Trackpad|
|External Video Port||Dedicated HDMI port (and HDMI passthrough via Thunderbolt)|
|Integrated Webcam||720p integrated webcam|
|Network Accessories||USB Type C to Ethernet adapter|
|Warranty||4 year with Accidental Damage Protection (ADP) (Note: Dell only allows one ADP claim in a 12 month period)|
|Other Ports and Sensors||Microphone|