Join us on our own very special Reddit: /r/Linuxers

System76 are teasing their own brand Keyboard again

By - | Views: 17,507

System76, the company that provides various Linux hardware along with their own Pop!_OS Linux distribution have started teasing their upcoming Keyboard again.

Originally talked about in a blog post back in March last year, we haven't really heard much since then. Things sounded pretty experimental back then but in a fresh blog post from July 30, it seems it's moving forward. However, it also sounds like it's not close to being finished yet either, as they stated:

We’re approaching our keyboard in 3 different ways: Redesigning the keyboard itself, maximizing your efficiency when using it, and empowering you to fully customize your keyboard to your whims.

We’ll announce the release of our keyboard through our newsletter and social channels once the prototyping phase is complete. This will take some time.

System76 say they want to build a keyboard you will 'fall in love with' and it seems they're going to be moving some keys around to make more use of all your fingers and thumbs. They're going with three key sizes:

  • 1U (letter/number keys)
  • 1.5U (tab keys)
  • 2U (shift keys)

They're also chopping up the spacebar into two '2U' sized keys, they said that apart from just making it smaller it will also 'bring useful functions closer to the center of the keyboard, but this also allows you to remap another commonly-used key to where it’s easy for you to smash with your other thumb'.

Swapping around keys will be part of the design focus to allow you to customize it, and to help with that they're planning to release an application to configure your layout properly. This application will also work with their laptops that have the System76 Embedded Controller Firmware which they say will 'enable you to use the same custom keyboard layout on both your laptop and desktop'.

Certainly will be interesting to see what design they ultimately settle on, with it also being design to work well with the new Auto Tiling feature found in their Pop!_OS Linux distribution. Speaking about testing their new keyboard layout, the System76 CEO, Carl Richell, said "I’ve found using the new keyboard layouts with Auto-Tiling is so addictive that when I go to another computer, it feels like I’m in a foreign land.".

If you were to change one major thing about the standard keyboard design, what would it be? Let us know in the comments.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
11 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
21 comments
Page: «2/3»
  Go to:

tmtvl 3 Aug
All I want from a keyboard is 1: Dvorak layout, and 2: the ability to hit Ctrl+Y with one hand sans use of my thumb.
Does anyone know if this can be done any OS or just POP?

If there is a way, then by no means is this vendor lock-in, and if there isn't... Hey, it's a selling point.
Bogomips 4 Aug
What I would love to see/have is an ortholinear keyboard option from laptop's manufacturers or a third party replacement so I could stop carrying mine everywhere. Blank keycaps are fine with me.
iiari 4 Aug
View PC info
  • Supporter
Hoping there will be both wired options...
gel126 4 Aug
I'm looking for a few things. 1) I want 70's and 80's style big think rounded key caps. 2) Buckling spring key switches.
If i can get that i'm all in.
Crash83K 4 Aug
I wish someone would make a proper mechanical keyboard with an economic layout. I've seen lots of failed attempts at it, but it seems nobody with the means is interested in it.

I prefer mechanical keyboards, but I prefer my wrists to not hurt even more. Until then, I'm stuck with squishy ergonomic keyboards.

Developers spend far more time typing than using any other input. A decent ergonomic mechanical keyboard shouldn't be so hard to find.
randyl 4 Aug
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: Crash83KI wish someone would make a proper mechanical keyboard with an economic layout. I've seen lots of failed attempts at it, but it seems nobody with the means is interested in it.

I prefer mechanical keyboards, but I prefer my wrists to not hurt even more. Until then, I'm stuck with squishy ergonomic keyboards.

Developers spend far more time typing than using any other input. A decent ergonomic mechanical keyboard shouldn't be so hard to find.
ErgoDox might be an option to check out. They're very expensive, but also very powerful.
Looks potentially interesting. I'm generally appreciative of System76 pushing hardware and software/firmware alike towards usable and high quality FOSS. That said, there's already a pretty comprehensive custom keyboard community out there and they''ll have to get a lot of things "right" to be worth it. Lots of keyboard projects are free/libre all the way down, with config and firmware alone being open source. Atop that, tons of different form factors (ie from full size all the way down to 40% scale), mechanical key switches, keycap types, cases, backlighting, and more.

I should mention that regarding ergonomic keyboards, there are a handful of them. They typically fall into either standard or ortholinear layouts. On the ortholinear side, the ErgoDox layout is typically used. There are lots of keyboards using some or all of its layout from the Dactyl Manuform kits to the original old ErgoDox Infinity to the newer ErgoDox EZ (which is sort of the flag carrier of the ergodox lineage for those that don't want to build themselves.

For those who want a split ergo setup but something closer to a standard layout, check out the awesome Dygma Raise . I backed in production and it works very very well. It can be used connected together where it looks like a lot of high end custom 60% style layouts excepting its palm/wrist pad area (removable, washable etc. However you can also separate it entirely to how you are comfortable. System76 noting they were splitting the spacebar is neat, but Dygma actually made it one of their best features. They replace the space bar with 4 keys that you can bind as you wish, plus put a "sub-row" of 4 keys below it that use the low-profile mechanical keyswitches so they don't get in the way - one of the first "hotkey" setups that is actually usable as opposed to being way the heck over on the side like many gaming boards. I should mention they're currently developing the tilting/tenting addon which will work with all existing boards when it is ready; I'm eager to check it out. Also, those behind the company seem to be really helpful and accessible everytime I've spoken with them so that's also a plus

Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention the absolute brand new "Moonlander" from ZSA, the same people who make the Ergodox EZ. It uses a modified variant of the ErgoDox layout, but it seems they took a lot of inspiration from the Dygma Raise as well. I'm thinking of getting one to compare them!
randyl 6 Aug
View PC info
  • Supporter
Wow, awesome post RanceJustice. I like how you describe the keyboard community and ecosystem.

I havn't heard of the Dygma Raise. Thanks for that tip. I've been eyeing the Moonlander, but it's very expensive. The Raise looks like it could be a good fit for me as well. There are tradeoffs between the two. Hard choices.

I'm still keeping an eye on this. It could be a good choice for my other family members too.
Wow, some amazing hardware out there. And here I was stoked because my new cordless keyboard has little solar panels so you don't need to keep putting in batteries.
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Patreon, Liberapay or PayPal Donation.

We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
Login / Register

Or login with...
Sign in with Steam Sign in with Twitter Sign in with Google
Social logins require cookies to stay logged in.

Livestreams & Videos
Official Livestreams
Community Livestreams
Latest Forum Posts