Dell Precision 5510: Not a Linux Machine November 4, 2016
Dell, What Are you Thinking?
After the whole dust-up about the Apple MacBook Pros not being much of an advance, I decided to look for a development laptop that was not a MacBook Pro.
Dell sells a Precision 5510 with Ubuntu installed and supported and that supports 32GB of RAM. That seemed like a really good idea. I love Ubuntu and the hardware was definitely the right spec.
So, I ordered a Precision 5510. It arrived and it's been a complete horror show.
First, doing a
apt-get update to update package on the box leaves it in a mode
where one cannot log in via the GUI. Why?
Well, Dell's version of Ubuntu 14.04 (GNome and Unity) demands that the NVidia
GPU be enabled to allow the creation of a user session. The fix? Log in from the terminal, install
xcfe. Log into an Xcfe session and set the video driver to NVidia, log out, log
into Unity and it works.
So... maybe I should install Ubuntu 16.04. Tried that and the standard Ubuntu installer can't install Grub. So... no way to boot the machine into Ubuntu 16.04.
I've logged an hour+ of time with Dell's support folks. They are trying to be helpful, but at the end of the day, the Precision 5510 is not suited for Linux... at least in the kind of Linux experience that I have with my other machines: install it and it works.
I've asked Dell for an RMA. Maybe I'll try another hardware vendor or maybe I'll stick with my 3+ year old Macs for my development laptops.
But Dell... don't market Linux machines unless they actually work as Linux machines.