Installing Debian 9 in Dell XPS13
I ḥave a new Dell XPS laptop, so I decided to install Debian 9. Here are some lessons learned:
Caveat: there are many variables involved in a complex set up. If you’re in a similar situation, please do not assume that what I describe in this post is going to necessarily be applicable to your circumstances.
My wonderful wife gave me a brand new Dell XPS 13 9365. It’s a sleek and great quality laptop. Unfortunately it came with Windows 10, so, of course, the first thing I needed to do was to install GNU/Linux as the operating system.
Following the always wise advise of my friend AndOr, I decided to go back, after many many years, to my dear Debian. This time with Wayland and Gnome.
After the motherboard being replaced TWICE, under guarantee, by Dell (on-site tech support, super awesome) here are some steps I had to take to make sure everything worked as expected (funny Markdown, I write my list as 0,1,2… and it renders 1,2,3…):
- Pressing F12, I went into the Bios and flashed it (upper right button) with a the latest file downloaded from Dell’s website, and loaded into a USB.
- Restarting and back into the Bios, I change:
- System conf. SATA change Raid to AHCI
- Secure Boot to disable
- Uncheck Legacy ROM and click “Apply/Save”. Perhaps I should have changed (in Advanced BIOS Intel RapidStart to Off, to prevent sleep-wake crashes, but more on that later).
- Booted the Debian 9 NetInstall from the USB, making sure the laptop was connected to the internet via ethernet. It detected it automatically, so I did not have to change the boot order or anything.
- I did not want nor need any partition with Windows or anything else, so I chose to wipe it and clean install.
- In the initial configuration, you should skip giving root a login/password, and instead do it the first time you run
sudo. Another more annoying option would be to add the user to
- Accept (I’m really sorry, Richard) non-free repo in APT, if you want your wifi card to work, and install
firmware-iwlwifi. You may also need to install
- A very important thing to check (via
top, or your favourite monitoring command) if your machine starts working too hard is Tracker. In my case I tried to manage the preferences via
tracker-preferencesto reduce consumption, but to no avail. I had to
tracker daemon-tto kill it, and then finally deactivate any indexing and search activity. I have decided to try with Synapse instead. Let’s see how it goes.
- Extra note: HDMI output only works in the latest kernel update from backports (from kernel 4.13.0 on, I believe).
After a little configuration, and reinstalling some software, like going from Thunderbird to Geary (in some cases, like Firefox, to get the latest you need a
snap) I could not be happier. Thank you, sweetheart!