Qubes 3.0 RC2 on Alienware M17XR3: What works and what not.

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Fabrizio Romano Genovese

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Aug 11, 2015, 8:50:23 AM8/11/15
to qubes-users
Hello everyone,

I recently installed Qubes 3.0 RC2 on my Alienware M17XR3. Computer specs are:

CPU: i7-2820QM
RAM: 16GB
VIDEO CARD: Intel integrated one + Nvidia GTX640M.

Let's say that the important things work, however I had some issues and I hope someone could help me with them.

1) Sleep is not working. When I close my laptop lid it goes to sleep, but when I open it, it wakes only partially. To be precise, the laptop seems to wake (fan starts, lights go up and so on) but the screen remains black. At this point my only option is to hard shutdown the PC by keeping power button pressed and then restart. I wish I could gather more information but as I said I cannot see nothing on my screen and this is not easy. I haven't installed Nvidia drivers yet so I'm assuming Nvidia card is not in use at the moment. To be honest, I red the Nvidia installation drivers procedure on the official qubes site and I found it not so well comprehensible, so I would like to avoid installing these drivers if possible.

2) HDMI only partially working. Ok, this is funny: If I connect an HDMI screen to my laptop everything works. The problem is when I detach the cable. Laptop screen goes black and it doesn't light up again. If I reconnect HDMI cable I can see the screen on the external monitor, but colors are all messed up (all is shifted to red, like in astrophysics :P ). Main screen remains black.

3) Brightness not working: Simply speaking, when I try to adjust the brigthness using the fn+F-number (in my case fn+F4 or fn+F5) nothing happens. I can see the brightness bar going up and down but nothing really changes.

4) I have installed Chrome on an untrusted machine and it crashes all the time. Still, I find Chrome flash support better than the Firefox one, and this is the main reason why I installed it. I red this is a common issue.

5) Networking does not start if I do not wait some seconds before I log in. Again I red this is a common issue, correct me if I'm wrong. What happens is that if I do not wait some seconds before I log in then nm-applet doesn't load its icon in the tray and, moreover, the net-vm does not connect to my router.

6) Shutdown lasts much longer than boot. Again a common issue. In my case shutdown time is not so critical, more or less one minute. Nevertheless boot time is approximately half that much.

7) Icons grid. Ok, this is REALLY important to me. In KDE I didn't find a way to make my desktop icons align to a grid (I miss the "snap to grid option", to be clear). So icons are all badly aligned and this is really frustrating for me and my obsessive-compulsive disease. XFCE is not an option since I didn't install it.

8) Audio levels are a bit low, even if I set all levels to max. Is there a way to increase the maximal audio level admitted?

There is another myriad of things I have not tried yet but I will and I will keep you informed. I would be really grateful if someone with more expertise and skills could help me to solve (at least partially) the issues presented above.
Anyway I just submitted my HCL file to qubes...@googlegroups.com, as suggested on the official guide. Sorry for the long post,

Thanks for your Time,
Fabrizio.

7v5w7go9ub0o

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Aug 11, 2015, 9:47:27 AM8/11/15
to qubes...@googlegroups.com


On 08/11/2015 08:50 AM, Fabrizio Romano Genovese wrote:
> Hello everyone,
>
> I recently installed Qubes 3.0 RC2 on my Alienware M17XR3. Computer specs
> are:
>
> CPU: i7-2820QM
> RAM: 16GB
> VIDEO CARD: Intel integrated one + Nvidia GTX640M.
>
> Let's say that the important things work, however I had some issues and I
> hope someone could help me with them.
>
> 1) Sleep is not working. When I close my laptop lid it goes to sleep, but
> when I open it, it wakes only partially. To be precise, the laptop seems to
> wake (fan starts, lights go up and so on) but the screen remains black. At
> this point my only option is to hard shutdown the PC by keeping power
> button pressed and then restart. I wish I could gather more information but
> as I said I cannot see nothing on my screen and this is not easy. I haven't
> installed Nvidia drivers yet so I'm assuming Nvidia card is not in use at
> the moment. To be honest, I red the Nvidia installation drivers procedure
> on the official qubes site and I found it not so well comprehensible, so I
> would like to avoid installing these drivers if possible.

I'm on R2.

Try entering your passphrase and n/l into the blank screen (perhaps
multiple times). For me, the keyboard works even though the screen
occasionally locks up or turns crazy.





>
> 2) HDMI only partially working. Ok, this is funny: If I connect an HDMI
> screen to my laptop everything works. The problem is when I detach the
> cable. Laptop screen goes black and it doesn't light up again. If I
> reconnect HDMI cable I can see the screen on the external monitor, but
> colors are all messed up (all is shifted to red, like in astrophysics :P ).
> Main screen remains black.
>
> 3) Brightness not working: Simply speaking, when I try to adjust the
> brigthness using the fn+F-number (in my case fn+F4 or fn+F5) nothing
> happens. I can see the brightness bar going up and down but nothing really
> changes.

Same here.

>
> 4) I have installed Chrome on an untrusted machine and it crashes all the
> time. Still, I find Chrome flash support better than the Firefox one, and
> this is the main reason why I installed it. I red this is a common issue.

"Aw Snap"?

Used to be a problem here; for me, this was an extension issue. Some
extensions apparently use problematic commands or routines(?).
Activate/deactivate 'til you find the problems.


>
> 5) Networking does not start if I do not wait some seconds before I log in.
> Again I red this is a common issue, correct me if I'm wrong. What happens
> is that if I do not wait some seconds before I log in then nm-applet
> doesn't load its icon in the tray and, moreover, the net-vm does not
> connect to my router.
>
> 6) Shutdown lasts much longer than boot. Again a common issue. In my case
> shutdown time is not so critical, more or less one minute. Nevertheless
> boot time is approximately half that much.
>
> 7) Icons grid. Ok, this is REALLY important to me. In KDE I didn't find a
> way to make my desktop icons align to a grid (I miss the "snap to grid
> option", to be clear). So icons are all badly aligned and this is really
> frustrating for me and my obsessive-compulsive disease. XFCE is not an
> option since I didn't install it.

I position them manually :-(


>
> 8) Audio levels are a bit low, even if I set all levels to max. Is there a
> way to increase the maximal audio level admitted?

Well-amplified external speakers work well here.....

Fabrizio Romano Genovese

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Aug 11, 2015, 9:58:10 AM8/11/15
to qubes-users


Il giorno martedì 11 agosto 2015 15:47:27 UTC+2, 7v5w7go9ub0o ha scritto:


On 08/11/2015 08:50 AM, Fabrizio Romano Genovese wrote:
> Hello everyone,
>
> I recently installed Qubes 3.0 RC2 on my Alienware M17XR3. Computer specs
> are:
>
> CPU: i7-2820QM
> RAM: 16GB
> VIDEO CARD: Intel integrated one + Nvidia GTX640M.
>
> Let's say that the important things work, however I had some issues and I
> hope someone could help me with them.
>
> 1) Sleep is not working. When I close my laptop lid it goes to sleep, but
> when I open it, it wakes only partially. To be precise, the laptop seems to
> wake (fan starts, lights go up and so on) but the screen remains black. At
> this point my only option is to hard shutdown the PC by keeping power
> button pressed and then restart. I wish I could gather more information but
> as I said I cannot see nothing on my screen and this is not easy. I haven't
> installed Nvidia drivers yet so I'm assuming Nvidia card is not in use at
> the moment. To be honest, I red the Nvidia installation drivers procedure
> on the official qubes site and I found it not so well comprehensible, so I
> would like to avoid installing these drivers if possible.

I'm on R2.
 
Try entering your passphrase and n/l into the blank screen (perhaps
multiple times). For me, the keyboard works even though the screen
occasionally locks up or turns crazy.


I will try then, thanks for the hint. Anyway It would be better to have a real fix, if there is any.



>
> 2) HDMI only partially working. Ok, this is funny: If I connect an HDMI
> screen to my laptop everything works. The problem is when I detach the
> cable. Laptop screen goes black and it doesn't light up again. If I
> reconnect HDMI cable I can see the screen on the external monitor, but
> colors are all messed up (all is shifted to red, like in astrophysics :P ).
> Main screen remains black.
>
> 3) Brightness not working: Simply speaking, when I try to adjust the
> brigthness using the fn+F-number (in my case fn+F4 or fn+F5) nothing
> happens. I can see the brightness bar going up and down but nothing really
> changes.

Same here.

This could solve point 2), but the brightness problem is present even if my screen works well and it is not linked to wake/sleep state.
>
> 4) I have installed Chrome on an untrusted machine and it crashes all the
> time. Still, I find Chrome flash support better than the Firefox one, and
> this is the main reason why I installed it. I red this is a common issue.

"Aw Snap"?

Used to be a problem here; for me, this was an extension issue. Some
extensions apparently use problematic commands or routines(?).
Activate/deactivate 'til you find the problems.


"Aw, snap", yes. I will check my extension, thanks for the hint.
 
>
> 5) Networking does not start if I do not wait some seconds before I log in.
> Again I red this is a common issue, correct me if I'm wrong. What happens
> is that if I do not wait some seconds before I log in then nm-applet
> doesn't load its icon in the tray and, moreover, the net-vm does not
> connect to my router.
>
> 6) Shutdown lasts much longer than boot. Again a common issue. In my case
> shutdown time is not so critical, more or less one minute. Nevertheless
> boot time is approximately half that much.
>
> 7) Icons grid. Ok, this is REALLY important to me. In KDE I didn't find a
> way to make my desktop icons align to a grid (I miss the "snap to grid
> option", to be clear). So icons are all badly aligned and this is really
> frustrating for me and my obsessive-compulsive disease. XFCE is not an
> option since I didn't install it.

I position them manually :-(
 
I cannot accept that. Really, I am aware that maybe is my psichological state to be really flawed, but when it comes to PC i need order. xD
 
>
> 8) Audio levels are a bit low, even if I set all levels to max. Is there a
> way to increase the maximal audio level admitted?

Well-amplified external speakers work well here.....

Sure, but again I am pretty sure there is a way to increment max volume level, maybe editing some configuration file somewhere....

Fabrizio Romano Genovese

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Aug 12, 2015, 9:41:56 AM8/12/15
to qubes-users
Ok, at least for audio I had the problem solved (in a very easy way, indeed). Click on the audio icon on the system tray. In the sound panel, click on the wrench icon, down right. Click on "General" and then check "Volume Overdrive". This raises max volume to 150%, that is really fine for me. Hope this helps!

taflem...@gmail.com

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Mar 17, 2017, 7:23:58 PM3/17/17
to qubes-users
How did you get it installed? Did you do anything special?

Im currently trying to install on an Alienware 17 r4; GeForce GTX 1060; and the GUI Installations Screens fail and the text based install has bugs that wont let me get past partitioning due to LUKS not getting a password.

Fabrizio Romano Genovese

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Mar 17, 2017, 7:34:24 PM3/17/17
to taflem...@gmail.com, qubes-users
Nope, no problems whatsoever for me during install, but mine was R3 so things may be different. I remember I had a lot of problems while using the system though, as an instance the screen did not wake up after sleep. Needless to say, I completely gave up on using the Nvidia card and relied entirely on the intel one.

At the end of the day, I bought a linux 100% compatible laptop and now I'm happier than ever. I installed Windows and a shitload of emulators on the good old Alienware and I use it for what is meant for, gaming. There is no personal data whatsoever on the PC now, so this approach does not spoil my privacy and security.

I'm pretty sure you can make a lot of stuff work with a sufficient amount of headaches and swearing, but in the end some things won't be fixable (drivers issues, mainly). Also, you should consider that Qubes won't make justice to such a beautiful machine, and that you may not be able to use most of the nice features of the Alienware. I love Qubes but according to my experience Alienware is not the kind of computer you want it installed on. This is obviously just my personal opinion, so take it for what is worth (nothing :P )

Cheers,
Fab

On Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 11:23 PM, <taflem...@gmail.com> wrote:
How did you get it installed? Did you do anything special?

Im currently trying to install on an Alienware 17 r4; GeForce GTX 1060; and the GUI Installations Screens fail and the text based install has bugs that wont let me get past partitioning due to LUKS not getting a password.

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