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System76 releases the open source Launch Configurable Keyboard

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Ready for your next keyboard? How about one that's properly open source and looks quite fantastic? System76 has today properly revealed and released the Launch Configurable Keyboard.

Sticking to their ethos, they've launched the Launch as a fully open source unit. This includes the hardware (certified by the OSHWA), firmware and configuration tooling all as open source and firmware updates can be done directly through LVFS but it's not forced - it's up to users if they want to update the firmware.

While System76 remains a Linux vendor selling their custom Thelio desktops, laptops and they continue with their Pop!_OS Linux distribution - this is their first to be fully compatible with Windows and macOS too. System76 created the System76 Keyboard Configurator app to allow full customization of the keyboard layout - with changes saved to the keyboard so you can take it anywhere.

“Launch with macOS and Windows 10 is a phenomenal, high-end keyboard with a comfortable feel and unique high-speed USB hub,” said Carl Richell, CEO of System76. “Combined with Pop!_OS and, in particular, auto-tiling, the hardware and OS blend into a holistic desktop experience that's faster and easier to navigate.”

Just like their Thelio computers, the Launch is custom-built in their own facility in Denver, CO. Featuring a chassis
milled out of a solid block of aluminium, as well as a custom PCB (printed circuit board). Created for customization, it comes with a set of red, blue, or brown keycaps to get it how you want it. It also has runner feet to keep it still, along with a magnetic foot for an optional 15% incline.

"With a wide swath of customization options, the Launch is flexible to a variety of needs and use cases. The keyboard’s thoughtful design keeps everything within reach, vastly reducing awkward hand contortions. Launch comes with additional keycaps and a convenient keycap puller, meaning one can swap keys based on personal workflow preferences to maximize efficiency. Launch also features a novel split Space Bar, which allows the user to swap out oneSpace Bar keycap for Shift, Backspace, or Function to reduce hand fatigue while typing. Launch uses only three keycap sizes to vastly expand configuration options." — System76.

Check out our gallery of pictures below, click the image to view more along with some close-ups of the switches:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Ever feel like "I don't need it but I need it"? I've got that right now. Although, I'm not sure how I would cope without the trusty numpad. Would be interested to know in the comments how many of you never use the numpad though, does it bother you it doesn't have one?

System76 Launch Configurable Keyboard Specifications:

Chassis System76 Open Source milled chassis design
Detachable lift bar to adjust keyboard angle by 15 degrees
Electronics System76 Open Source PCB design
Individually addressable RGB LED backlighting
N-Key Rollover
Sockets and Switches Kailh MX Hotswap Sockets
Kailh Box Jade or Kailh Box Royal Switches
Key Caps PBT plastic
Dye sublimated legend
XDA profile
Layout ANSI US QWERTY
Custom Configuration Customize layout and lighting in firmware with the System76 Keyboard Configurator
Available on Linux, Windows, and macOS
Integrated Hub 2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C (Up to 10 Gbps)
2 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type A (Up to 10 Gbps)
Connectivity Wired, with detachable USB cable (USB-C to USB-C and USB-A to USB-C cables included)
Dimensions 12.17′′ × 5.35′′ × 1.3′′ (309mm x 136mm x 33mm)
Weight 2.09 lbs (948g)
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Available to pre-order from May 13, 2021 with shipping starting in June - with a price of $285. We're hoping to see a review unit at some point to give our thoughts.

Check it out on the official site.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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44 comments
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celphy 13 May
Personally I never use the numpad and had joined the newsletter for this specifically.
While I could propably live with the keycap layout the price does feel a lot steeper than I expected. As I do not currently NEED a keyboard this will be hard to justify getting, personally.
DrIggy 13 May
View PC info
  • Supporter
Looks pretty cool, light and portable, but I would definitely miss the numpad since I use it exclusively for blind typing of long numbers.
micha 13 May
I use the numpad for Blender only which isn't that much. But I prefer a layout where the arrow and home keys are not cramped on the edge.

Missing Bluetooth support is in doubt the bigger issue I would guess.
dmoonfire 13 May
It looks pretty and I don't really need the number pad these days, but I find that I really struggle if I don't have the 2r3c layout for insert/home/page block plus the inverted T as a separate column. Not to mention, I have really large hands so I need horizontal space. :)

This is my problem even with laptop keyboards, they don't have a full desktop style TKL (ten keyless) layout.
barotto 13 May
Cool, but the missing numpad and media control keys is a showstopper for me since I use them all the time.

I hope they'll launch a standard model in the future.


Last edited by barotto on 13 May 2021 at 5:07 pm UTC
Gamewizard 13 May
Quoting: barottoCool, but the missing numpad and media control keys is a showstopper for me since I use them all the time.

I hope they'll launch a standard model in the future.

Well it does have media control keys on a secondary layer and you could easily program a numpad onto one of the layers as well.

Now most interesting thing about this board to me is the fact it's probably the first commercial board the ship with the BOX line of switches which are some of the best clicky tactile switches on the market. Granted the price is a bit on the high side but I expect that from a high end keyboard like this.
Naib 13 May
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  • Supporter Plus
Very nice!!!
Its a TKL configuration so no good for me, but I guess if it sells well they might do that as well...
melkemind 13 May
I agree with most of the other comments. I like the idea, but I need a full-size keyboard. Having used a ten keyless, I can't even count the number of times my hand reached over to type on the number pad only to smack the desk. 😆


Last edited by melkemind on 13 May 2021 at 5:51 pm UTC
Bogomips 13 May
Waiting for the next ortholinear version
More expensive than a open-source ergodox with GNU Public License 3 design??... No way.

I wonder about their controller, if it is a qmk-like stuff?

My advice would be to compare with a falbatech or ergodox easy as the ZSA moonlander or even build one using less expensive parts on, for example, aliexpress resellers before looking at this one


Last edited by Para-Gliding on 13 May 2021 at 6:15 pm UTC
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