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I own a Latitude e6540 for years that works flawlessly with Linux. I was confident that a brand-new Latitude 5490 (i7 8650u) would work too. That simply wasn't the case. Unfortunately, Linux can't stand-by. This has the effect of reducing the portability of the system, because I can't ever leave it unplugged unless it is completely shut down, because otherwise it continues to draw power from the battery until it becomes dead, and then I lose whatever I had been working on. It effectively makes the laptop unusable for me. Unfortunately this problem persists across every Linux distro that I've tried (Manjaro, Ubuntu).

How can I buy a comparable laptop that does not have this type of issue?

  • You need to ask the Manufacturer's Support department if the model you want has Linux drivers available for it. Only the manufacturer can help you here – John Jan 14 at 20:53
  • I don't expect the Support department would be very helpful. This computer was supposed to support Ubuntu, but actually didn't. I was hoping someone with a newer Dell laptop could tell me which model they have if it's one that works well. – Zack Jan 14 at 21:22
  • If the machine is supposed to support Linux, then use the Dell Update app to update BIOS, power and all other drivers and then test again – John Jan 14 at 21:24
  • Also, pay close attention to which version of a Distro (and Linux kernel) is supported by the manufacturer if they claim support. Installing the latest Ubuntu on that Dell may not be the correct version. – Romen Jan 14 at 21:31
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Canonical has a list of certified hardware. Very recent PCs requires recent distros, my shiny new one requires 19.10. Ubuntu LTS releases have a "hardware enablement" (aka "HWE") kernel which is regularly updated to support new hardware.

If your PC has a NVidia video, there is a way (NVidia calls it "Optimus") to dynamically switch on/off the NVidia GPU when it is (not) really needed (so it's off most of the time). But this is not supported by the default FOSS driver Nouveau, you need the NVidia closed-source drivers.

  • What concerns me is that this 5490 does seem to be certified. both by Ubuntu, and on wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Category:Laptops, even though it very clearly doesn't meet my expectation of compatible (mine or anyone's). I was hoping I could get a recommendation from someone with a good-working modern UEFI laptop that works well with linux. I heard that maybe Dell's XPS models are better supported. Anyone have a good experience? – Zack Jan 15 at 20:38
  • I use a Lenovo P50 that works flawlessy with Ubuntu 16.04, and just got a Lenovo P53 that seems to work OK with a 19.10 (should be certified for 20.04). Before that I ran Ubuntu on the various Lenovo T4xx. Some coworkers use Fedora instead. – xenoid Jan 15 at 20:58
  • Note that certification could require specific drivers. – xenoid Jan 15 at 21:01
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After reverting to Default Settings in BIOS/UEFI, it now seems to work fine. I had updated to the latest firmware several weeks ago. Nothing ever worked right until I decided to revert the Intel firmware settings to default. Wish I had thought of that first! It's hard to say what actually "fixed" this, but it's fair to say that Intel had at least one awkward workaround hardwired into the firmware (a "block sleep" option).

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