Debian Stretch on a Dell Precision 5510

The Precision 5510 was a developer edition model so it came with Ubuntu installed but I’ve ditched Ubuntu. I deleted the swap partition and shrunk the Ubuntu partition before installing Debian. I figured if I need Dell support, I’ll have to be in Ubuntu for them to not say “we don’t support Debian.”

I initially used the Alpha 5 installer for Stretch but it was just not recognizing the wifi, even with the necessary firmware added into the USB stick. So I did the install with the weekly DVD iso produced on 2016/5/2, and I used the daily hd-media vmlinuz and initrd.gz produced 2016/5/12. I was hoping the wifi would work with these bleeding edge downloads but alas it did not work. At any rate, having the DVD image allowed a complete install without having to go to the network. After the install was done and I rebooted, the wifi worked fine.

I did not have any trouble getting nouveau to start but it crashed whenever I plugged in an external monitor. I removed it to use only the integrated graphics but this was also a bit unstable. I’m now on the nvidia driver with bumblebee but I’ve not had a chance yet to check stability.

You may want to check out Craig’s own account of how he got Debian on his laptop. It seems however that things are moving fast. Some major differences between his experience and mine:

  • I did not have to upgrade my BIOS.
  • I did not have to manually add a boot option to UEFI (“UEFI Muck”).
  • I did not have any booting issues after the install so I did not have to mess with the kernel parameters.
  • I’ve not experienced the nvme issue.
  • I do not use issue_discard, as it seems unsafe to me. See the warning at the top of this page.

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