I recently bought a brand new XPS 13 “Developer Edition” that I want to use as my main machine for development. I’m very happy to see Dell building machines fit for Linux. The Dell XPS 13 has many very very good reviews. And it’s even better when it comes with Ubuntu pre-installed with all the good drivers (or close…).
It’s too soon to draw any conclusions yet: I’ve been using the computer for only 1 day. Still, I must say it works overall very good and I’m satisfied so far (except for the one or two quirks listed below). Especially by the gorgeous incredible “infinity display”, which packs a 3200×1800 touchscreen in a 13′” screen that fits in 11″ case. The XPS 13 “Developer Edition” comes with Ubuntu pre-installed, and it also comes with a “factory reset” feature you come to expect from a brand such as Dell. So if you brick your Ubuntu install, you can easily reset it without much hassle.
The only problem I encountered is some trackpad freezes that happen to be very annoying. It gives you the feeling the rig is not responsive when it’s actually pretty fast. To fix this, I applied this kernel patch:
From 2a2aa272447d0ad4340c73db91bd8e995f6a0c3f Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
From: Benjamin Tissoires <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:40:13 -0500
Subject: [PATCH] HID: multitouch: force release of touches when i2c
communication is not reliable
The Dell XPS 13 9343 (2015) shows that from time to time, i2c_hid misses
some reports from the touchpad. This can lead to a freeze of the cursor
in user space when the missing report contains a touch release information.
Win 8 devices should have a contact count reliable, to we can safely
release all touches that has not been seen in the current report.
Signed-off-by: Benjamin Tissoires <email@example.com>
drivers/hid/hid-multitouch.c | 8 ++++++++
1 file changed, 8 insertions(+)
diff --git a/drivers/hid/hid-multitouch.c b/drivers/hid/hid-multitouch.c
index f65e78b..48b051e 100644
@@ -1021,6 +1021,14 @@ static int mt_probe(struct hid_device *hdev, const struct hid_device_id *id)
if (id->vendor == HID_ANY_ID && id->product == HID_ANY_ID)
td->serial_maybe = true;
+ if ((id->group == HID_GROUP_MULTITOUCH_WIN_8) && (hdev->bus == BUS_I2C))
+ * Some i2c sensors are not completely reliable with the i2c
+ * communication. Force release of unseen touches in a report
+ * to prevent bad behavior from user space.
+ td->mtclass.quirks |= MT_QUIRK_NOT_SEEN_MEANS_UP;
ret = hid_parse(hdev);
if (ret != 0)
You can safely apply this patch to the 3.13 Linux kernel that comes with the XPS 13/Ubuntu 14.04 mint install. But as I had to re-compile the kernel, I wanted to try the recently released stable Linux 4.0.2 kernel.
If you do so, you’ll also need to patch the Broadcom drivers. And because they’re not compatible with Linux 4.0 kernels, you’ll have to apply a little patch: bcmwl driver fixed for Linux 4.0 kernel.
After upgrading to Linux 4.0, I noticed the overall computer feels a lot faster and responsive. I don’t know why but it just does. It might be related to the fact the old 3.13 kernel was not using the new Intel P-state CPU governor.
Last, I also encountered kernel panic issues at three occasions:
- When changing access-points or simply disconnecting the Wi-Fi. This fix seams to do the trick: fix for the bcmwl kernel panic/crash.
- When suspending, but I guess it’s related to the Wi-Fi issue.
- When running a VirtualBox VM. I had to use VirtualBox 5.0 beta and patch Vagrant to support it.
Update: You can get more out of the XPS13 battery using the following script:
sudo wget http://forthescience.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/powersaverXPS13Trusty -O powersaverXPS13Trusty