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Dell XP 13 7390 late 2019 and Linux


Since my 3 years old Macbook Pro 15inch got the flickering bug I decided to buy a Dell laptop. Why? I have a really old Dell laptop from 2004, and works perfectly as a OpenBSD firewall and internet router in my weekend house.

After I got my machine, first thing was to install PopOS. Or better, I tried. It never worked, I think it's a bug in the loader section of PopOS, a bugreport is open. After some hours of hacking and fixing I got a bit bored and used a Ubuntu installation, which worked out of the box perfectly. Yes I know I had could bought the XPS at Dell with Ubuntu on it. But I did not want to ;)

Here are some tricks to get the XPS smoothly running - right now I have the book attached to my curved 4k monitor and code some infrastructure stuff for infinimesh.

1. Bluetooth mouse

First time a BT mouse is connected it lags. Moving the mouse, the pointer follows after seconds, slow and unresponsive. 

Fix by sudo vi /var/lib/bluetooth/<MAC Adapter>/<MAC mouse>:

Reboot and the mouse works like a charm

2. Power Saving

I'm used to close the laptop lid and the systems get into sleep. Apple perfectionized that. Per default, closing the lid just switched the display off, which is not a powersave mode. To have a more proper powermanagement install tlp per: sudo apt-get install tlp. The default rules are pretty fine, but can be tweaked per vi /etc/default/tlp

3. UI

Ya, what to say. I don't like Ubuntu's visual artwork. Thats why I wanted to install PopOS. But my friends from System76, the maker of PopOS, have a nice blogpost how to get the most of PopOS into a vanilla Ubuntu.

4. Software

I tested a lot of mail clients, calendars and other collaboration tools and ended up, I'd say as usual, with Evolution. Works well with Google, Outlook, NextCloud calendars and mail systems like mail-in-a-box. To get an unified inbox in Evolution just create a search folder, name it Unified Inbox and search for read and unread messages in all accounts. Voila, unified inbox.

I also use Visual Studio Code, Slack, WhatsApp Desk, Solaar and oh-my-zsh of course. For PDF signing I use Xournal - its not so easy as with OSX, but works. Gnome's Evince will have some support in future, too.

To an end, the XPS is a more capable MacBook as the original from Apple. With Linux and some tweaks the systems runs more stable and smooth as my 243% more expensive MBP, has a modern look and feel and all the tools I'm used too. 


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