This seems to be a fairly Dell-specific problem, but there just might be a fix, as detailed in this ubuntuforums thread.
Long story short: you need to update your menu.lst file (mine’s in /boot/grub/menu.lst), and append the entries
i8042.reset i8042.nomux i8042.nopnp i8042.noloop
to the line beginning with the word kernel for your current kernel version. So far, it seems to be working… but that’s only a couple of boots later.
There’s more detail in the thread I mentioned, and if anyone wants any more detailed instructions feel free leave me a comment with your question and I’ll try and help.
I made the classic mistake of changing more than one variable at a time – installed Ubuntu 9.04 over my 8.10 installation, and went 64-bit – and now my laptop doesn’t recognise its keyboard and trackpad on some boots.
On top of that, I had that thing happen when you quickly log off, shut the laptop lid, and put it away… but some darned dialog popped up as it shut down, keeping my laptop powered up all night. Unfortunately I left it with the exhaust kinda blocked, so it was toasty by the time I picked it up the following morning. Probably didn’t help.
Maybe there’s a setting or something I can use to override this behaviour, but as an aside…
Dear Mr. Ubuntu (/Windows/whatever), if I’ve hit shutdown and then shut the laptop lid or done nothing else for an hour, it’d be great if the thing would just shut down by default, regardless of how many things want to pop up and clamour for my attention.
As opposed to toasting my laptop and potentially burning my house down. Thanks.
Anyway now on boot, my keyboard works just fine through the POST and the GRUB menu. By the time I’ve got to a login prompt though, I can’t type or do pointery things anymore.
I’ve seen a couple of other folks referring to the same problem with 9.04 on forums, so for now it looks like it’s a bug. My money’s on a timing issue during boot.
If anyone else is having the same problem, I have a couple of things to try that have made my system just about usable for now.
- Stick a CD in your drive – I put the 9.04 32-bit CD in and switched from 90% bad boots to maybe 70% good boots. Maybe it changes the timing of events during boot or something.
- Hit ESC just after the POST – this gives you the option of selecting recovery mode from the GRUB menu. If your input devices work in the recovery menu, select normal boot. This shortened the boot time to find out if it was going to boot OK.
Roll on a fix!