titannet
1 Copper

Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

I'm feeling a bit betrayed by the Lenovo Superfish fiasco and looking into replacing my W530 Thinkpad with a newer laptop which must have solid Linux support.  The Sputnik program is awesome and M3800 looks great--but I'm wondering how Linux users here handle docking?  Dell offers the D3100 USB3 docking station, but apparently the display aspect doesn't work on Linux.

One option is that I could skip the docking station and just manually plug/unplug everything in every time I want to go mobile on my laptop.  I guess I'd have to plug my monitor into the miniDP port, and also the monitor's USB cable to handle keyboard/mouse.  And the sound cable.  And the power cable. So I guess 4 cables.  But what about turning the laptop on and off and switching the display to only use the external one?  I guess open the laptop, turn it on with the power button, and at some point in the boot/login process change it to only use the external monitor?

With my Thinkpad I just click the closed laptop into the dock and press the power button on the dock.  And then to remove it I press "eject" and off I go.  I'd love to hear how M3800 Linux users handle "docking" and removing the system from external monitor, video, mouse, and sound.  Thanks!

9 Replies
hedgeh
1 Copper

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

I have the 2014 version of the XPS 13 for work, and I pretty much do the cable dance you describe: display, usb hub, power, sound.  It's mildly irritating, but hasn't driven me crazy yet.  I also use the laptop with the monitor off when it's plugged into my desk monitor.  I just had to use the standard Ubuntu monitor settings to achieve this, and seems to remember the settings for each specific monitor I plug into (for instance, when I'm using the projector in our conference room it remembers to mirror the displays instead of turning off the laptop monitor).

One reason I'm interested in the M3800 is that I'm hopeful that thunderbolt docking solutions work.  I haven't found any confirmation of thunderbolt docks working with Linux, and the price for them is prohibitive.  However, I'm confidant that they'll work at some point and that all of the new laptops with thunderbolt will eventually drive the prices down.

studeba
1 Nickel

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

I have the XPS 13 DE and use it with the Dell (logitec) KM714 wireless keyboard/mouse and my speakers plug into the monitor so it really isn't bad going mobile for me.

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

I've done a bit of testing with Thunderbolt using the 3.16 kernel from Ubuntu 14.10 (i.e. what's available in Ubuntu 14.04.2 as a HWE kernel). The dock I used worked except for video out, which used HDMI.

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Project Sputnik development lead
Software Principal Engineer
Linux OS Architecture
Dell | Client Product Group

titannet
1 Copper

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

Thanks for the replies, all!  I'm glad to hear that current Ubuntu remembers the video preferences and so at least I won't have to do software reconfiguration after each time that I do this cable dance.  I'm also glad to hear that Thunderbolt docking stations show promise, even if they can't handle video yet..  It looks like Thunderbolt docks currently sell for about $185 to $300.  Here's hoping the Linux support for this materializes soon.

Tags (1)
jslonsetteig
1 Copper

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

I've got a m3800 that I connect displayport, hdmi, usb and power-cables to every day. This works, but is getting annoying by the sheer number of cables needing to be plugged in. I've got a MKS14 (http://goo.gl/PuIs16), that should free me from the displaycables, but because if DisplayLinks refusal (http://goo.gl/m3K2GV) to support linux, it's pretty much a monitor-stand with a integrated usb-hub.

Hopefully Dell will lean on them to provide support at some time, as both the m3800 and xps13 developer edition machines come without docking connectors. The stand and similar units could solve this..


Maybe Dell could reach out to David Airlie, as he's already started reverse engineering the protocol? http://goo.gl/MP7oLa

0 Kudos

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

That's discouraging. For what it's worth, I reached out to DisplayLink on behalf of the Sputnik team last year but had no luck.

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Project Sputnik development lead
Software Principal Engineer
Linux OS Architecture
Dell | Client Product Group

Highlighted
cloojure
1 Nickel

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

It appears that DisplayLink is not offering a new Linux driver:

 www.displaylink.com/.../ubuntu.php

Tags (1)
Splaktar
1 Copper

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

Looks like you meant 'is now' and that is great news 🙂 Thank you.

0 Kudos
cloojure
1 Nickel

RE: Docking the Precision M3800 on Linux

Yes:  "... IS NOW ..." should be what it says.  

Please see my other posts as everything is now working.   I have the model 9333 XPS 13 (purchased 2014) running Ubuntu 15.10 and using the D3100 dock and 2 external monitors.

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