Touchpad Palm Detection – the “confidence” feature

October 5, 2015

More info from the tech team:

The XPS 13 9343 utilizes the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification in I2C mode. The specific feature within the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification is the “Confidence” feature:


Confidence is used to indicate that the contact does not have any dimensions (height or width) > 25mm that implies that it is not an unintended contact. Windows Precision Touchpads should not reject any contacts in firmware processing, but should forward all contacts to the host and indicate the confidence. After a device has deemed a contact to be unintentional, it shall clear the confidence bit for that contact report and all subsequent reports. Until a contact has been deemed unintentional, the device shall set the confidence bit for that contact being reported.

With that feature correctly implemented, palm rejection in I2C mode should work.

Driver feature development is something we work with our vendors on ensuring they develop, though in this case they won’t since the Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification is a feature that falls outside of vendor-specific needs. Synaptics (or any other touchpad vendor) is unlikely to implement this feature in the Linux i2c_hid driver because it’s not vendor-specific but instead a Microsoft specification.

Microsoft Precision Touchpad specification:


Pau for now…

Alternate Touchpad Configuration for XPS 9343 Developer Edition Running Ubuntu 15.04

September 30, 2015

Here is information from our tech team addressing the lack of palm detection with Ubuntu 15.04.

Some customers have reported frustration with the lack of palm detection due to limitations with the Synaptics driver currently implemented in current stable versions of the Linux Kernel. This walkthrough is intended for advanced users who would like to experiment with the alternate libinput input device driver. This has only been tested to work in the XPS 13 9343 using Ubuntu 15.04 and 15.10 beta.

Note: these steps are not supported by Dell support and you are performing this at your own risk. Compatibility issues could arise and result in your operating system being rendered unable to boot.

  1. Install some needed packages by running the following commands.

sudo apt-get install git build-essential autoconf automake pkg-config libtool

sudo apt-get install libmtdev1 libmtdev-dev libudev-dev libevdev-dev xutils-dev

  1. Install xserver-xorg-dev.

sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-dev

  1. Clone libinput and xf86-input-libinput.

git clone

git clone

  1. Build and install both packages.

cd libinput

./ –prefix=/usr

make && sudo make install

cd ../xf86-input-libinput

./ –prefix=/usr

make && sudo make install

  1. Now we need to create the config file in /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d named 99-libinput.conf using your favorite text editor (the following example will be using gedit).

Sudo gedit /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/99-libinput.conf

  1. Add the following to the blank file you just opened, these options should cause the touchpad to perform similar to an Apple Mac touchpad.

Section “InputClass”

Identifier “libinput”

Driver “libinput”

MatchDevicePath “/dev/input/event*”

MatchIsTouchpad “true”

Option “Tapping” “true”

Option “TappingDragLock” “true”

Option “ClickMethod” “none”

Option “NaturalScrolling” “true”


  1. There are many more options available. Not all options are supported, if the option is not supported than the default will be used. In the above example “Natural Scrolling” is set to “true”. If you don’t like natural scrolling just set that option to “false”. Follow the below link for an explanation of the many options that are able to be adjusted in the 99-libinput.conf


Pau for now…

Kernel panics when switching wireless networks — XPS 13 developer edition 9343

September 1, 2015

In addition to the recent fixes I posted for the XPS 13 developer edition, here is one more from the team.


Broadcom bug

Some customers may experience an issue where their system crashes when switching wireless networks while running the factory install of Ubuntu 14.04. The issue appears to be a bug within the Broadcom wireless driver. You can follow the bug report at the following link:

The current recommended fix is to add the PPA at the following link to your repository list and then update your system to apply the fix:

There are two methods to apply the patch detailed below:

Method 1

Run the following command to add the repositories using your package manager:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:inaddy/lp1415880

Method 2

You can also add the repositories to your /etc/apt/sources.list file manually. Just add the following lines to the end of the sources.list file as in the screenshot below (requires root access).

deb trusty main

deb-src trusty main

After the repositories are added then update your system by running the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Kernel Panics

Extra credit reading

Pau for now…


ContainerCon: Intel’s mini OS – Clear Linux

August 31, 2015

Here is my penultimate interview from ContainerCon.  Today’s video features Arjan van de Ven of Intel, the lead for The Clear Linux Project.   Clear Linux is Intel’s uber light weight OS and is targeted at cloud use cases.

Take a listen as Arjan takes us through the project.

Some of the ground Arjan covers:

  • Clear Linux as a modular micro distro that demonstrates how Intel’s hardware can be used.
  • How Clear Linux supports both containers and VMs
  • What’s coming in the next year for the Clear Linux project


Extra-credit reading

Pau for now

Recent Fixes for XPS 13 developer edition

August 28, 2015

About a month ago we stopped new sales of the XPS 13 developer edition in order to address a few issues.  A couple weSputnikScientist2eks ago we started selling the systems again.

For your reference, here are the details around the fixes:

  1. Keyboard repeat:  The unwanted keyboard repeat issue is being addressed via BIOS updates. The A05 BIOS update had some improvements however the as of yet unreleased A06 version will have the final fix in place. Keep an eye on the Dell support page at the below link to see when BIOS revision A06 is released.
  1. Suspend resume and trackpad cursor freezing:  The suspend resume issue and trackpad cursor freezing issue have been rolled up into “over the air” updates from Canonical. We previously had patches that were available through Dell Knowledgebase articles but will no longer be necessary. Going forward you only need to ensure your OS is fully updated to have these fixes in place.
  1. Out of box crashing:  The out of box experience crashing issue has been fixed through a change to the Ubuntu image put on the systems at the factory. All future systems shipped will no longer have this issue from the factory.
  1. DisplayLink driver available:  There is now a DisplayLink driver available to make the XPS 13 and M3800 developer editions compatible with our D3000 and D3100 USB 3.0 docking stations as well as the DA100 external video adapter. You can download the driver at the below link.
  1. Kernel panics when switching wireless networks: there is a bug report filed for this and Canonical and Broadcom are both working on this. Canonical released a PPA, just go to the following link and add it to your repositories and then you can get the patch after running your normal updates.
  1. Wireless channels 12 and 13:  Some customers in Europe might see an issue where they are unable to connect to wireless channels 12 and 13. If you are experiencing this issue call into Dell support to get help with this issue.

Thanks all for your patience and support!

Pau for now…

ContainerCon: How Google helps developers with Kubernetes

August 26, 2015

Last week at Container/LinuxCon I conducted  a handful of video interviews.  Video number three stars Brian Dorsey from Google. Brian works with developers to get them up to speed with Kubernetes.

Here’s what Brian had to say:

Some of the ground Brian covers

  • Brian’s focus on cloud-building developers, specifically those working on Kubernetes
  • Key partners such as Red Hat, CoreOS, Kismatic and many, many more
  • How Brian and the team reach developers  (events, blogs, videos, sample code…)
  • Where he sees Kubernetes going over the next year

Extra-credit reading

My new gig — I’ve joined the CTO office!

August 25, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I took a new position here within Dell.  I’m now in

Source: Schlomo Schapiro, OpenTechSummit 2015

Source: Schlomo Schapiro, OpenTechSummit 2015

the office of the CTO in our enterprise solutions group.  In  my new role the main areas I will be focusing on are DevOps and OpenSource.  And, because you can’t swing a dead cat without hearing about “containers,” I will be looking into that as well.  (I will also continue to drive Project Sputnik, the XPS 13 and M3800 developer editions)

While Dell has a bunch of activities in the above areas, they tend to be scattered across the company and we could do a better job of connecting them.  This will be one of my internally focused tasks, helping to get these efforts more aligned in order to better help our customers.

Externally I will be talking with customers, vendors and partners to see how we can go about creating viable and valuable POCs that will hopefully lead to bigger solutions.  Just like we did with project Sputnik, the idea will be to be transparent about these efforts and to start small and iterate.  With the goal of applying lean/agile principles our approach will be to put together quick, basic POCs that we can make available for customers to access and give input on.  The goal will be to draw on continuous feedback and course correct as we go.

That’s the plan at least.  Watch this space to see how it all unfolds :)


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 139 other followers

%d bloggers like this: