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Kubuntu 15.10 on Inspiron 15 7559 Skylake UHD

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Kubuntu 15.10 on Inspiron 15 7559 Skylake UHD

  • Hi,

    Having major issues getting Kubuntu 15.10 to work correctly on the new Inspiron 15" 7000 series (7559) with the 4K UHD display and Intel Skylake /NVIDIA 960M hybrid graphics. Wondering if anyone has successfully managed this?

    I think my problem is with the hybrid graphics. Install required "nomodeset" passed in grub, then installation went ok, but whatever I do I can't get the NVIDIA graphics to work, or the system to bring up a GUI after resume from sleep. In many cases the system never recovers from sleep mode at all, but with kernel 4.4rc3 and NVIDIA-358, latest Intel drivers and firmware from 01.org, it does at least wake up and respond over the network (I installed sshd for debugging this issue), however the laptop screen after a resume remains black.

    I could live without having the NVIDIA graphics for now, but the inability to recover from sleep mode is a total blocker to using this laptop. I've tried various combinations of with and without the "nomodeset" and "i915.preliminary_hw_support=1" options set on boot, but the best result I get is without the preliminary hw flag on, nomodeset on. "prime-select" is set to Intel, setting it to nvidia gives me a black screen. I see kernel 4.4rc4 came out today, which I'll try when I get the chance, but am not particularly hopeful. Anyone have any luck getting this laptop to work with Linux, or any suggestions to try, as I've spent days on this without much to show for it. All hints appreciated.

    Thanks

  • Hi,

    Did you ever have any luck getting Kubuntu to work properly on this laptop?  I am about to give it a shot myself. However, from looking around at various posts, I am not too hopeful :(

    Thanks

  • I didn't manage to get Kubuntu to work acceptably. I did manage to get the KDE spin of Linux Mint 17.1 (it's based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which is the closest to a working Ubuntu install on this machine) working to an acceptable degree after switching it to the 4.4 kernel, but the desktop still crashes randomly, kicking me back to the login prompt. Strangely visiting Facebook in Firefox crashes the desktop pretty reliably, but it's fine in Chromium. I think the root cause of the crash is in the graphics drivers, as I'm unable to get the latest Intel graphics driver (which has Skylake support) to install or the Nvidia drivers. Video playback in VLC or any of the other media players doesn't work, it stutters, tears, does not resize, isn't displayed within a window and is permanently on top.

    I'm waiting eagerly for Kubuntu 16.04LTS to be released to see if that works better, but all the dailies I've downloaded for that seem to have a broken installer, even run in a virtual machine, so I'm having to be patient. Haven't tried for several weeks, so if you give it a go and get anywhere please let me know!

  • Thanks for the report.   Doesn't sound good :(

    I haven't attempted a Linux install yet.  I will give it a try this weekend and let you know how it goes.   I am a KDE user too, but I may just try with a vanilla Ubuntu install. 

    Have you tried the steps given here?  

    askubuntu.com/.../739545

    He claims to have Xubuntu 15,10 working on this machine with kernel 4.4 and the latest nvidia drivers from the PPA.

    Like you I am hoping 16.04 sorts all this stuff out so we don't have to jump through hoops. 

  • I did try the stuff on that link, or at least it looks familiar, I went through so many different permutations it's hard to remember them all. I did toy with the idea of installing Ubuntu 16.04 beta (rather than Kubuntu) and then installing KDE, but never got round to it.


    I tried the latest Kubuntu Xenial daily build last night, installing into a virtual machine, and whilst the installer no longer crashes it also doesn't let you get past the "Preparation" screen (where you say whether or not you want to download 3rd party stuff and updates), clicking the continue button appears to do nothing, but you can click on back. Hope the continuing broken installer isn't indicative of the quality of the rest of the release. It's a shame really as I'd like to have been able to try out the dailys and report any issues on this hardware.

  • I've just tried it with these steps with Ubuntu 15.10: askubuntu.com/.../739545

    It kind of works, but switching between nvidia and intel graphics is unreliable and often results a in lock up when trying to log back in. Same with sleep/suspend.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  The nvidia card has horrendous tearing.  Although I think that will soon be fixed according to an nvidia developer. devtalk.nvidia.com/.../5&nbsp

    Also once the CPU/GPU fans start running they never shut off.  Even if the laptop is cool.  I monitored the temps with lm-sensors, and even with the CPU cores at about  37c and no load, the fans never stop.

    Beta 2 of Ubuntu 16.04 was released today, so I tried that as well with about the same results. Hanging when swithcing between intel/nvidia. The fan issue is present there as well.

    Do you experience the fan issue in Mint?

    All said, it's a major disappointment and I doubt the final 16.04 release is going to solve these issues. 

    I think skylake support is still spotty.   I tried to install two different Arch Linux distros (Antergos and Manjaro)  thinking it might be better seeing as how Arch is a rolling release with the latest kernel, but I couldn't get either one to install.  I may try again later, but I'm out of patience for now.

  • I've never had any problems with the fans with Mint 17.1, they just work as they should. Sleep also works reliably, it's just video playback and the occasional X/KDE crash. Even the crashes seem less frequent now than they first were, don't think I had even one last week. I saw the Kubuntu 16.04 BETA release too, had it downloaded to try out, but saw your post and never got the time and enthusiasm to try it out. Seems strange it would have issues with the fans and sleep though, as I'm running kernel 4.4.0 here just fine, and I believe 16.04 uses 4.4.6, so unless there is a regression there must be some issue in the userspace. Hmm. Wonder if it might be worth trying 4.5 or even 4.6rc1. Just looked in the kernel PPA, and both are in there, albeit tagged for Wily not Xenial.

    kernel.ubuntu.com/.../mainline

  • Interestingly, kernel 4.6rc1 release is noted to fix "Skylake issues on Dell XPS13 laptops", which I think uses a similar graphics infrastructure to the Inspiron 7559. Sounds like it's worth a shot...

    UPDATE - ok, so kernel 4.4.6 works ok for sleep, didn't try anything else, and 4.5 is ok too, although I do have problems with 4.6rc1, the screen looks normal after coming back from sleep, but the touchpad doesn't work. I did manage to unlock the screen once after sleep with 4.6rc1, using just the keyboard, but wasn't able to repeat that, and the touchpad remained broken. I didn't see the same issues with 4.5.0, so I think this may be a kernel regression. I'm going to try and log a bug on that. If I get more time I'll try the graphics performance on 4.6rc1 and see if, other than the sleep issue, it works better. 

  • Thanks for the update!   Yes, was reading about the 4.6 kernel on phoronix and saw there are a bunch of dell laptop related fixes. Good to know that is available.

    Strange this fan issue I'm seeing.   I think something is heating up, since the keyboard feels warmer under linux than it does in windows.  In windows the fans hardly ever turn on and the laptop remains cool.  In linux they eventually turn on as the laptop warms up and then never shut off. Oddly, lm-sensors report everything is running cool.  This happens in any distro i've.  It even happens in the WinPE envirionment for the macrium reflect boot disk... so now I'm wondering if it's even linux related.

    What version of the dell bios do you have on yours?  I have the latest 1.1.7, but Maybe something's changed there.

  • Just a quick update on the fans not shutting off, and a question if you can help.

    How often do your fans kick on?  I would assume they are off when the system is idle, and then only start up for a short time to cool the system down and then turn back off, yes?

    If I leave the computer sitting idle for a long time (like over an hour) the fans eventually do shut off.   Until I start using the computer again, then the fan starts again and runs for a long time again.  

    When the fans are running like this, it's on the lowest speed.   If I stress the system by running a CPU intensive task, the fans slowly step up until they are at the highest speed.  After stopping the task, the fans step back down to the lowest speed.   After the fans have been running a long time, the computer is cool to the touch and it's blowing cold air out the exhaust.   lm-sensors shows everything cool.  Fans rarely kick on in windows.

    So, I don't know what the heck is going on with it.  I've tried various different kernels, different versions of gfx drivers, even entire different linux distros.

  • I think the fans run most of the time on their lowest setting, but I honestly don't notice as 99% of the time I use this laptop either in an office, with all the usual background noise, or in my study where there is a server running. Didn't think the fan was unusual, my previous, 4 year old, laptop did the same. They do spin up higher when I do something CPU intensive, but spin down to lowest quickly afterwards. Don't know if this is a behavioural change from Windows as I never use it, blew away the Windows install on this laptop without even booting it once.

    I upgraded the BIOS on this laptop to the latest available when I got it, which was 1.1.3, hadn't occurred to me to check for any updates. ....

    ..just checked the release notes for the released BIOS versions from 1.1.3 to 1.1.7, nothing obvious stands out, mostly Windows fixes, plus one cryptic note that for "enhanced system stability". Nothing about fans. Not sure it's worth the hassle for me to upgrade it just now, was a pain to do it last time with no windows install.


    I logged that suspend kernel 4.6rc1 bug last night, and trying to recreate it with the latest mainline kernel source from Linus's tree just now, will let you know how I get on.

    UPDATE - Issue still exists on the mainline kernel tree, so sleep is broken on 4.6rc1, but works on 4.5. Shame since I think we both want 4.6 for the other Skylake fixes. Might be worth it if you could confirm that sleep doesn't work with 4.6rc1 and report it on the bug. Confirming it from mainline will probably carry more weight if you can afford the time (compile takes a while to say nothing of cloning the git tree), otherwise the kernel PPA for a quicker test.

    How-To to compile the kernel from mainline is

    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelTeam/GitKernelBuild

    And my kernel bug report is at

    https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=115391

    Ubuntu Kernel PPA

    http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.6-rc1-wily/

    Incidentally I just noticed that there is a later version of the Intel firmware for Skylake available than I was using, DMC went from 1.23 to 1.26, and GUC from 4.3 to 6.1 (on 01.org). I've upgraded to see if that makes any difference to my stability issues.

  • My last reply seems to have been flagged for review, I presume due to some URLs I put in there... presumably it'll show up at some point. Anyway, fans, my fan always runs at minimum speed, never stops, but that was the behaviour of my old laptop, so I don't regard it as odd.

    I have verified that the resume from sleep issue exists with the 4.6rc1 kernel from mainline, and have logged bug 115391 for the issue on bugzilla.kernel.org. It might help if you can confirm the report though. I used both the Ubuntu Kernel PPA 4.6rc1 release and did a git pull on Linux Torvalds tree, both showing identical issues.

    I also discovered newer versions of the Intel graphics firmware has been released from that I had on my laptop already. I've put that in, but ironically this site has caused an X crash since I did that (whilst running on kernel 4.5), so it's definitely not a complete solution.

  • Thanks for confirming the fan issue.   Seems unusual to me, fans should stay off as much as possible.   Fans running all the time drains the battery way faster than on windows, which is a total bummer. 

    I actually did try the 4.6rc1 kernel from the Ubuntu wily mainline kernel PPA and can confirm it has sleep issues. (fan issue as well)  Strangely, the best luck I had so far was with 4.4 under wily with xenial's linux firmware.  That still had random issues with resuming from sleep, but at least it worked sometimes.  What a mess.

    Once I get some time later this week, I'll also compile it from Linus' git repo and chime in on the bug report.

  • Thought I'd post an update on this. Sleep stopped working on this laptop at all for a long time, but with Linux Mint 17.3 (KDE spin), latest updates and Kernel 4.7rc2 it sleeps pretty reliably. Not 100%, but works at least 9 times out of 10. Video playback still doesn't work, same issues as before (won't resize, always on top, tearing), and I'm still using the Intel graphics as I've not had the time to try the nvidia drivers again. I'm not being randomly kicked out of the desktop due to X crashes any more either, although I haven't tempted fate by loading Facebook under Firefox, which pretty reliably caused that.

    Linux Mint sounds like it should have better support for Optimus, but I'm waiting for the KDE spin to come out. I did try Kubuntu 16.04, but couldn't even get the live DVD to boot into a working state despite the usual tricks with GRUB arguments.

  • Good to hear.  I think my sleep issues are solved under Ubuntu 16.04 with nvidia-367 from ppa:graphics-drivers/ppa.  Using this driver, I have not had a single issue with sleep, or hanging during rebooting.

    I keep it set to use the intel graphics with prime-select, so I don't know how the nvidia performs.  I don't game, so I have no use for anything more than intel graphics.  However, I don't see any issues with video playback.  I'm able to run youtube, netflix, etc videos without any tearing or artifacts.   Strange I don't even use the nvidia graphics, yet it needs the nvidia driver to fix the sleep issue... But whatever.

    The one thing that still does not work properly on this laptop are the fans.  Fans still run pretty much constantly under every kernel I've tried.  This may have something to do with the skylake CPU not getting into a low power state.  I filed a bug about it on launchpad some hopefully there will be a fix in the future.