I had my previous laptop, a Dell Latitude D630, since 2007. As I have started working from home lately, I decided it was a good time to replace it, in case it decided to die completely.

I got a Vostro 3590 and proceeded to install Xubuntu 18.04 on it (I like XFCE's simplicity).

Everything worked pretty much out of the box, but here are a few notes with a couple of details.

Encrypted /home partition

I installed the entire OS into an encrypted partition. The way Xubuntu does it, is it creates a huge /, a very small swap one (around 750 MB) and no /home. The way I fixed it is, for the swap, I'm just using a swapfile. There are many tutorials around on how to do this, like this one.

In order to have an independent /home partition I followed this tutorial. Just the commands from there:

# decrypt
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/nvme0n1p3 ubuntu-vg
# Now resize the root partition to 100GB.
sudo e2fsck -f /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root
sudo resize2fs /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root 90G
sudo lvreduce -L 100G /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root
sudo resize2fs /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root
# create /home
sudo lvcreate -n home -l 100%FREE ubuntu--vg
sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-home
# move old /home from / to /home
mkdir root
sudo mount  /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-root root
mkdir home
sudo mount  /dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-home home
rsync -av root/home/ home/

Then add the relevant entry to /etc/fstab:

/dev/mapper/ubuntu--vg-home /home           ext4    defaults        0       2

Please note that in Xubuntu the volume is called xubuntu-vg, so everything has to be renamed. Other than that, everything works fine.

Intel graphics card and tearing

I noticed quite heavy screen tearing (for example, in this video), so I started looking for ways to fix it. I went through a lot of dead ends, including using the intel driver (see here, for instance), but that didn't work that well, as those drivers are old and the modesetting ones are recommended.

In the end, it turned out that I just needed a proper compositing window manager along with XFCE (the one that comes with it doesn't work that well). This did the trick, but I didn't need the entire config file, apart from the glx option.

Bluetooth audio

From time to time, Bluetooth audio gets choppy for a fraction of a second. The solution I found to this was to increase the delay for the audio device, as detailed here. Briefly:

pactl list | grep -Pzo '.*bluez_card(.*\n)*'
pactl set-port-latency-offset bluez_card.DC_D3_A2_B4_C8_BA headphone-output 50000
sudo service bluetooth restart