Thanks to an unfortunate accident, I had to go laptop hunting. I bought a Dell Inspiron 14 3000. I saw that Dell had them preinstalled with Linux, but the store from which I got mine only had Windows laptops (what a surprise!)
After jumping all the fire hoops to disable restricted boot (hey, this machine's UEFI even comes with an option to prevent booting from USB! Fortunately it was off), I tried my favorite Linux USBs and got to a blinking cursor when the graphic session was supposed to start. I even tested the latest editions. MX Patito Feo informed me that it could not connect to the x.org server. None of my other distros worked, either.
Well, Dell machines sometimes come preinstalled with Ubuntu, so I made an Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa) USB and booted the laptop.
It got to the desktop, OK, but not as I expected. The screen display was something that looked, depending on what you had open, as a vitral or as a total caleidoscope.
Maybe the Ubuntu edition was too new? I tried 16.04. The screen was perfect and so was the wireless. Great! I installed it... but then, I realized that the sound was not working. I had the sound dummy output as the only option.
I tried several workarounds to no avail. I then tried Ubuntu 14.04. Same story.
Ubuntu booted and Dell machines come with Ubuntu. What else could I do?
I realized that had not tried Ubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) because, for some unknown reason, I had skipped it.
I made a USB with that image and booted the laptop. Everything worked... except the sound. The same dummy output was there.
Tired of trying, I installed it just because. It took much longer than the other editions I had installed.
When I got to the desktop, I made a sound test. IT WORKED!
I've no idea how, but Bionic Beaver got everything working. My Dell laptop now runs Ubuntu, that saved the day.