Previous Posts

In my previous posts (First Post, Second Post, Third Post, Fourth Post) on using Fedora on my Dell Precision 5520, I described some of my experiences in using Fedora on that laptop. This is a quick update on those experiences, providing a few thoughts on a problem I have seen with Evolution under Fedora 30 and a Thunderbolt 3 dock that is almost perfect for the Dell Precision 5520 (though, it might be perfect for other laptops.)

Evolution

GNOME's Evolution continues to be my daily workhorse when working with my corporate mail server. With the installation of Fedora 30, I ran into a new issue. Basically, Evolution would come up and say it was using its offline mode because there was no connection to the Internet. This statement was odd since I knew that the connection was just fine, but I suspected that the corporate proxy was an issue.

After some investigation, it was clear that the GNOME desktop environment was making this assessment and passing it on to Evolution, which would then not try to get any new messages nor connect to any calendar or directories, among other resources. If you use the --force-online option with Evolution on the command line, the mail aspect of Evolution would connect to the e-mail server, but nothing else would try to connect.

Eventually, I realized that one method for telling NetworkManager and, likewise, GNOME not to perform network connectivity checking was to modify /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf by adding the following:

[connectivity]
uri =
interval = 0

I think, technically, either the empty uri line or the interval = 0 would turn it off, but I did both. At that point, NetworkManager reports back to GNOME that things are connected to the network without checking the magic URL. Likewise, GNOME tells Evolution that it is online and can try to connect to the various servers.

Under GNOME Settings GUI there might be a setting to do this same thing. I will check and report back soon.

A Thunderbolt 3 Dock Discovery

As noted in my previous post, I have been struggling to use two Dell 4k monitors to work with a DisplayLink-based USB C dock. The problem was that the Fedora kernel changes so often that I had to regularly uninstall and then re-install the displaylink package that I had built from github.com.

Around the time I had written the post, I had ordered a Thunderbolt 3 dock from CalDigit called the CalDigit TS3 Plus. It has received several good reviews and at least one review on Amazon.com mentioned good Linux compatibility, so I thought it was worth a try

It arrived late last week (Friday?) and so I gave it a try. The TS3 Plus has a built-in full-size DisplayPort port, which was useful to connect to my fancy Belkin KVM. For the second 4k monitor, I used a Startech.com CDPVGDVHDMDP USB-C to HDMI/mini-DisplayPort/VGA/DVI-D adapter plugged into the Thunderbolt 3 port on the TS3 Plus. With this configuration, I have been able to reliably drive both Dell 4k monitors without a problem and without any special packages or drivers. Nice.

Note that I tried plugging in the USB-C to video adapter into some of the USB-C ports, but I received no video. It seems like the adapter needs to be in the Thunderbolt 3 port to work.

The only "flaw" with the CalDigit dock is that it does not supply enough power for my beefy, Xeon-based Precision 5520, which requires a 135-W power supply. The CalDigit supplies 85 Watts, which is probably enough for most laptops. As a result, I don't have a one-cable connection to a Thunderbolt 3 to get all of the connectivity and power, but I have come close.

One other nice feature is that the TS3 Plus that I received is that it has a built-in gigabit Ethernet port that is PCIe-based and uses an Intel chipset. It seems to work well with my laptop.