Manjaro Linux on Dell Inspiron 7506 2-in-1

Introduction

    Please see previous article for the first distribution of Linux I used on this computer.

    Anyways, so this article will help you with how to install Manjaro on this laptop.  But the usual riot act: I am not responsible for anything that happens as a result of you following these instructions.  This article is just me telling the story of what worked for me, until it didn't and Manjaro stopped working.

HARDWARE COMPONENTS
STATUS UNDER LINUX
NOTES
Intel 11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-1165G7 @ 2.80GHz
Works

System Memory:  16GB, 2x8GB, DDR4, 3200MHz Works
Upgraded w/ Kingston KCP426SS8/16 (32GB)
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics with shared graphics memory
Works
Works, including HDMI
Seagate Technology PLC Device 5012 (Barracuda 510 SSD) (added)
Works

4-Cell Battery, 53WHr  Works

Dell back-lit keyboard
Works
Can change settings in BIOS; can update any time.
Dell 512GB factory Solid State Drive (removed)
Works

Fingerprint Reader (built into power button)
Doesn't work Works in Windows
15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Truelife Touch Narrow Border WVA Display with Active Pen support
Partially works
Touch input transfers to the other screen; screen input identifies as "touchpad."
Intel Audio
Works

Dell 12

Installation

    In the previous article, I went over how to open the laptop and upgrade items.

    In this article, I go over how to install Manjaro.  The first thing you will need to do, unfortunately, due to Microsoft's apparent ongoing attempt to shut Linux out of everything, is to disable Secure Boot.  Funny: it seems like Microsoft would rather shut others out than fix their own security problems.  Note that if your Dell is still mostly new, you may have an encrypted hard drive and your onboard NVME controller in RAID, two issues you'll need to fix.  See my previous article.

    Anyways, after you disable Secure Boot, the USB or DVD installer should load.

    Installation was not very fun.  I attempted to open my LUKS+LVM partition that stores my /home and swap but this crashed the installer every time.  So I installed only to root (/) and then added my LVM and LUKS later.  This worked, for the 2 days Manjaro was working, but it means the installer has problems that need to be fixed.  I installed Manjaro around April 23, 2021, using the current version (not a network installation).

    See towards the bottom of this article for how Manjaro eventually broke.

    Installing software that I needed once I was up and running was actually very easy, and I was pleased with the ability to compile my own software if it wasn't in a repository.  That was impressive, to say the least.  Too bad Manjaro eventually stopped working.

    This is my opinion, and you may feel free to disagree with me: rolling release distributions should only be used by those working to put out stable releases.  I used Slackware-Current, the rolling release testing, for years, but Slackware was super stable even when using the testing branch.

    Recent distributions of Linux, in my experience, that have rolling release versions, are not even close to Slackware's stability, and I cannot recommend them.  This includes using Tumbleweed as your daily distribution, or in this case, due to my experience, Manjaro.  Having release targets helps you weed out bugs and ensure a higher level of quality in "snapshots."

Devices

    Here is the output of lspci.  As you can see, this more modern kernel (5.10.30) recognizes more of the devices I have.

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation 11th Gen Core Processor Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 01)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Iris Xe Graphics (rev 01)
00:04.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Device 9a03 (rev 01)
00:07.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Thunderbolt 4 PCI Express Root Port #0 (rev 01)
00:0a.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Device 9a0d (rev 01)
00:0d.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Thunderbolt 4 USB Controller (rev 01)
00:0d.2 USB controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Thunderbolt 4 NHI #0 (rev 01)
00:12.0 Serial controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Integrated Sensor Hub (rev 20)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 xHCI Host Controller (rev 20)
00:14.2 RAM memory: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Shared SRAM (rev 20)
00:14.3 Network controller: Intel Corporation Wi-Fi 6 AX201 (rev 20)
00:15.0 Serial bus controller [0c80]: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Serial IO I2C Controller #0 (rev 20)
00:15.1 Serial bus controller [0c80]: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Serial IO I2C Controller #1 (rev 20)
00:16.0 Communication controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Management Engine Interface (rev 20)
00:1d.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP PCI Express Root Port #9 (rev 20)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP LPC Controller (rev 20)
00:1f.3 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP Smart Sound Technology Audio Controller (rev 20)
00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP SMBus Controller (rev 20)
00:1f.5 Serial bus controller [0c80]: Intel Corporation Tiger Lake-LP SPI Controller (rev 20)
2b:00.0 Non-Volatile memory controller: Seagate Technology PLC Device 5012 (rev 01)

    So this kernel seems to work better with my devices.
 

TMPFS /tmp

  I was about to write this section but then Manjaro stopped booting for me.

Keyboard

    I was going to write this section but then Manjaro stopped working for me.

Touch Input and Screen

    The screen looks absolutely flawless in Linux, just like in Windows.  And touch input works in Linux as well, which is a very good thing.  However, with Manjaro, for some reason when you plug in a second monitor over HDMI, touch now responds on the other screen, not the laptop's built-in screen.  So it's something to pay attention to.

Webcam

    The webcam works in Linux with Cheese. 

Battery

    I was going to write this section but then Manjaro stopped working for me.

Tablet / Tent Mode

    I was going to write this section but then Manjaro stopped working for me.

Fingerprint Reader

    I was going to write this section but then Manjaro stopped working for me.

Sensors

    I was going to write this section but then Manjaro stopped working for me.

Manjaro Stopped Working

    So after two days of using Manjaro, it stopped working for me after one of its own updates.  It gave no warning.  It would just stop on the LUKS unlock prompt after I put in the right password.  No error messages, just straight up hard-locked, but somehow it would still reboot itself if I gave ctrl+alt+delete three times.

    I immediately installed Mageia because I had already downloaded a copy of it.  I was going to give Arch a chance first.

    So my brief experience of Arch was mostly good.  It's similar to Slackware, and so I was experiencing some nostalgia.

    Until it stopped working, which is very much unlike how Slackware would behave.

    I helped test Slackware for years, but I'm currently in a master's degree program and I don't have time for this.  That's the only reason I didn't bother troubleshooting further.