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Thread: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

  1. #1
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    Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Hello,
    I post this question here but I'm not sure this is the right section of the forums for this topic. I did a little research and did not find answers.

    I would like to purchase a Dell Laptop with Ubuntu preinstalled. This is the notebook: https://www.dell.com/it-it/shop/cty/...laptop/cng3003 (cannot find the same model on the USA site)

    It comes with Ubuntu 18.04 preinstalled, but I see that 20.04 has already been released.
    I have many doubts therefore.
    Am I buying an obsolete machine? Is there a chance I wont' be able to run newer software? Will I be able to upgrade to 20.04 if needed or does Dell use their own custom made images to install?

    Sorry if this topic has already been discussed somewhere else.
    Thanks in advance for any advice provided.
    Paolo

  2. #2
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    Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Dell already have 20.04 images that they're testing. When the tests are complete they'll start selling machines with 20.04 instead of 18.04. Dell's product cycle isn't synchronised with Ubuntu's release cycle, and they only use LTS releases, so it happens from time to time that they're selling machines with the previous LTS release for a while.

    There shouldn't be any problem with installing 20.04 yourself, or upgrading the 18.04 to 20.04, and Dell upstream any changes that need to be made for the hardware. You'll potentially miss out on anything that they find in this testing period - I know that fingerprint reader support was something that they were working on - that hadn't been upstreamed yet. Whether that's worth it to you to wait till the machines get the new image I really couldn't say.

  3. #3
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    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    You can upgrade 18.04 to 20.04 as LTS to the next LTS upgrades are supported. 18.04 is also still very supported all the way up to April 2023 so is far from obsolete

  4. #4
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    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKiller View Post
    There shouldn't be any problem with installing 20.04 yourself, or upgrading the 18.04 to 20.04, and Dell upstream any changes that need to be made for the hardware.
    So, does this mean Dell migh tbe working on the newer release to fix compatibility problems on "older" laptops as well? I don't know their policy about this, and their web site does not provide much information about this.

  5. #5
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    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Thank for your reply. "Supported" here means by Canonical, not Dell, do I understand correctly?
    So, from a "software" point of view my system will be able to upgrade to the next release but I might experience some compatibility issues with some of my hardware?

  6. #6
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    Lubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    I wouldn't worry about this. Of course an "official" Dell release would be nice, but it's in no way vital.
    You have to realize that all PCs, be it laptops or desktops rely on the same chipsets from a few semiconductor manufacturers. It's not like there are 1000s of different setups.

    My experience is, that the standard (x)Ubuntu installer is excellent at recognizing hardware and installing the right drivers. There is an "icky" corner when it comes to GPUs though, where in some cases only proprietary drivers are available. This might cause issues.
    If it does, reinstall and allow proprietary drivers during install.

  7. #7
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    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Quote Originally Posted by pamctn View Post
    So, does this mean Dell migh tbe working on the newer release to fix compatibility problems on "older" laptops as well? I don't know their policy about this, and their web site does not provide much information about this.
    The ones that come with Linux on, yeah, but they do it by sending whatever fixes are needed upstream rather than really distributing themselves. If the driver, or quirk, or whatever else needs fixing, is handled upstream, then it benefits you whichever distro you use. And means that they don't have to be the only ones maintaining it, of course. I think they have repositories configured when you buy them so that any fixes that are needed for that machine are available even if they haven't made it upstream yet.

    Canonical also have a facility where they get hardware and put Ubuntu on it, to set if there's anything that needs fixing. Then the fixes can go into Ubuntu releases and, again, get passed upstream.

    I think my XPS 13 came with 14.04 on it, and now it's running 20.04, and it's been flawless all the way.

  8. #8
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    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Quote Originally Posted by ml9104 View Post
    There is an "icky" corner when it comes to GPUs though, where in some cases only proprietary drivers are available. This might cause issues. If it does, reinstall and allow proprietary drivers during install.
    First I'd visit the Driver Manager in System Settings. It installed the correct NVIDIA driver for my hardware. On 20.04, it detected a USB wifi with the 802.11ac RTL8812 chipset, downloaded the driver source code, and compiled and installed the driver.

    My bet is a generic Dell will have all-Intel hardware for which Intel provides the driver source code. It is incorporated into the Linux kernel source.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; June 12th, 2020 at 08:00 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Sorry I couldn't answer before but I have been away from my PC. Thanks for all the answers.
    I've had mixed experience when trying to install Linux on non-certified hardware (like temperature control not working properly, battery drainage, ecc.) but that was on rather old hardware.
    From your answers I understand this should not be a problem here,and that Dell and Canonical should be able to fix most compatibility issues (if I understand correctly)
    I'm also somehow concerned that "newer" software on Ubuntu 18.04 might fail to work because you need to upgrade your system, file "XXX" is obsolete, driver "yyy" is no more supported, ecc. and thus needing an early upgrade.
    Well. we'll see.

  10. #10
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    Re: Support for new release (20.04 LTS) on a Dell notebook?

    Quote Originally Posted by pamctn View Post
    Sorry I couldn't answer before but I have been away from my PC. Thanks for all the answers.
    I'm also somehow concerned that "newer" software on Ubuntu 18.04 might fail to work because you need to upgrade your system, file "XXX" is obsolete, driver "yyy" is no more supported, ecc. and thus needing an early upgrade.
    Well. we'll see.
    You are not getting newer software for the 18.04 except as snaps, which will work, or from PPAs, which will also work as they would be designed for this purpose. Binaries downloaded from the Web will eventually cause problems, as developers will target newer distributions, but in that case, would should upgrade from 18.04 to 20.04 anyway.

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