This page describes Debian on the Dell XPS 13 9360 released in October 2016
# dmidecode | grep "Product Name" Product Name: XPS 13 9360 Product Name: 0839Y6
Before you install Debian, you should upgrade to the latest BIOS update from Dell.
Power on your notebook and press F12 to get into the BIOS. Choose the "BIOS Flash Update" option. This will show you the revision of your current BIOS.
Go to the Dell XPS 13 9360 support page and look for "BIOS". If there's a new BIOS update, download the XPS_9360_x.y.z.exe file and put it on a USB stick (formatted with VFAT). Put the USB stick into your Dell and click the button on the upper right corner to select the .exe file.
For some reason, I can click on some things in the BIOS with the touchpad but I cannot confirm choices by pressing the touchpad. I have to use the cursor keys and enter.
Choose "Begin Flash Update" to update your BIOS.
You have to change some BIOS settings before you can install Debian. Press F12 again when starting your notebook to get into the BIOS.
Choose the first option, BIOS Setup. You have to change two settings:
- System Configuration: SATA Operation: change "RAID On" to "AHCI". Without this change, Linux won't find the SSD.
- Secure Boot: Secure Boot Enable: change to "disabled" since Debian currently doesn't support secure boot.
Make sure to install Debian stretch (the upcoming Debian 9). Debian jessie doesn't properly support the hardware.
When you connect the USB stick and start your Dell notebook, the installer menu should automatically come up. If not, enter the BIOS and change the boot order.
You can choose "Graphical install" or "Install" (the text-based installer). In both cases, the fonts are quite hard to read. There are some bugs on this already (e.g. 816111).
The wifi card is supported but requires non-free firmware. You'll get a message about missing firmware files
You can download the "Unofficial non-free images including firmware packages" Debian installer : http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/unofficial/non-free/cd-including-firmware/
You can get the firmware-atheros .deb file and extract it to a USB stick.
Make sure you install the GNOME desktop environment. There's probably a deeper and subtler issue at hand here, but installing XFCE only does not allow you to use the Wifi, whereas installing GNOME (still using XFCE) led to a fully functional installation which remembered the settings used for the Wifi network selected during the installation process.
3a:00.0 Network controller: Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter (rev 32)
After the installation, configure the non-free repository in APT and install the firmware-atheros package in order to get firmware updates for the wifi card.
The system was unable to recover from hibernation (triggered by the power manager when the lid was closed on battery). Putting it to sleep instead was fine.
Special laptop keys
All function buttons work fine now (26/06/2017), only the PrtScr/wireless network button has its functions reversed.