How to install Ubuntu 18.10 on an Alienware 15?
I've encountered an error with the touchpad not working, and the noveau graphics driver being insufficient for Steam.
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I will begin by saying this is a post for users who are unable to use Ubuntu on the Alienware 15 (R4). This may or may not apply to other users, but I'm willing to bet this will be useful for others.
First in order to get Ubuntu to detect the Killer wireless card installed on all Alienware 15s in 2018, you should use 18.10, or newer if applicable. I installed on Ubuntu 18.10 and it detected my AC Killer WiFi card with maximum capable speed due to the Intel update in the Linux kernel.
On to the good stuff:
Install Ubuntu 18.10.
In my case, I was unable to utilize the touchpad. Instead, I installed using the keyboard.
Run the following in the new installation:
sudo su echo 'blacklist i2c_hid' >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf depmod -a update-initramfs -a reboot
At this point, everything should still be working okay. In order to utilize the proprietary NVIDIA GPU drivers, I had to install them with
sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall
Reboot again, but boot into grub to access your desktop, using Esc, or Shift. For me, Esc worked. Press E to access the GRUB config of the default Ubuntu boot option. Then append
nomodeset to the Linux
Press F10 to boot with this configuration.
You may experience a hang with this setup, press Alt+F2, Alt+F1, then the boot should continue with some screen flashes to the Ubuntu login.
nomodeset to the GRUB bootloader settings (search how to do this, it's relatively straightforward).
NOTE: I have not found a workaround to fix the Alt+F2, Alt+F1 key sequence, but this will have to be done per boot into Ubuntu. If I find a fix, I will update.
An image showing the NVIDIA GTX 1080 driver fully loaded: