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System76 Takes Open-Source Approach and Unveils a Configurable Mechanical Keyboard

System76 is a US-based computer manufacturer that provides Linux-based laptops, desktops and servers. They are also the makers of one of the most beautiful Linux-based distro ‘Pop!_OS’.

They have been teasing the launch of a completely open-source mechanical keyboard for a while now.

Looking at the recent tweets by the Founder and CEO of System76, Carl Richell, it is likely that they are going to launch it very soon.

Here is another recent tweet, it seems that they are heading to complete the initial production batches:

This definitely looks exciting to me as a PC enthusiast. An open-source configurable keyboard is in the making, interesting!

What Can We Expect?

System76’s Launch Configurable Keyboard is supposed to offer a host of user-customizable options and open-source hardware and software.

Let’s go through the features they are going to offer:

  • Milled Aluminum chassis to provide a sturdy base for the keyboard, so it lasts long even under those sweaty, try-hard gaming sessions and usual typing workloads. The chassis is licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0, this means that anyone is free to copy, redistribute or even modify the original design.
  • A detachable magnetic lift bar that can be used to add 15 degrees of angle to the keyboard for ergonomics.
  • User-customizable layout with the option to remap any key the user wants.
  • Support for either Cherry MX, Kailh BOX or any switches similar to the MX. The switches are removable and a switch puller will be included in the box. The user can also use a combination of different switches according to their preference.
  • Per-Key RGB lighting (this means that every switch on the keyboard has an RGB LED) that can be controlled via software.
  • Included keycaps are made of PBT that provide longevity and prevent wear-shine of switches (it happens in keycaps, where with long-term use the keys get a shiny look).
  • The PCB is completely open-source and is licensed under GPLv3.
  • USB Type-C connectivity with either USB-C to USB-C or USB-C to USB-A.
  • Integrated Dock with 2 x USB-C and 2 x USB-A ports that support USB 3.2 Gen 2 with 10 Gbps bandwidth shared between them.
  • N-Key rollover for multiple key presses at the same time without any issues.
  • Easy firmware updates through the fwupd project, the data will be stored on-board an EEPROM chip.

Closing Thoughts

With this keyboard, System76 is trying to do something different that will go quite well with their Thelio series of desktops. But, as it is being manufactured in-house with some good workmanship and materials, we expect the keyboard to be priced a bit on the higher side.

The GitHub repository has already been made live, it features the PCB design and CAD drawings of the chassis. Resources are being added regularly to the repository leading up to the launch.

Interested in getting one or happy with the one you already have? Let me know in the comments below.

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