When I first ran Ubuntu from CD on this Dell Inspiron 2650, it worked for about ten to fifteen minutes, then it hung (I was probably trying to do too much at once from a Live CD). The next time, my mouse and keyboard didn't work. I rebooted three times and finally got them working. I then installed Ubuntu alongside Windows XP.
After installing, selecting the OS in GRUB worked, but my touchpad and keyboard were again not working. I rebooted, and they worked. (I fortunately had a USB mouse with which to reboot.)
Booting Ubuntu and then rebooting to enable my keyboard and touchpad has become a routine ever since. Often several reboots are required; at one point I had to reboot over a dozen times in a row before getting a session where everything worked properly. (My installation has been in place for about
three days a week now.) I've looked around for a device manager equivalent to no avail.
Sometimes the hardware is properly detected, and sometimes it's not. Once or twice I've had the keyboard detected properly but the touchpad not.
Plugging in my wireless card also sometimes requires a plug, unplug, and plug again to get it working.
So is there some solution? I'm without an Internet connection at home, and this "laptop" is really a wall wart on my desk, so suggestions for packages may take a while to test.
two three four sample Xorg logs: one from a startup where the devices worked; one from when they didn't; one from a session where Ubuntu thought my touchpad was a normal mouse; and one from a session where my keyboard worked but the touchpad didn't.
See this gist. Updated 2010-12-15 01:50 UTC with
Xorg.0.log.keyboardonly file illustrating the case where the keyboard worked but not the touchpad. Updated 2011-01-11 04:10 UTC with
Xorg.0.log.touchpadregmouse to illustrate a case where the touchpad was detected as a regular mouse (no "Touchpad" tab in mouse prefs).