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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
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.

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robvv 13 May
I honestly hope this keyboard sells well, but it's not for me without the numpad (and a few extra macro keys). My trusty Roccat Ryos still does the business in this house :-)
Pendragon 14 May
it looks spiffy, but I'd need a numpad.. I use it all the time for work
Sundragon 14 May
The χ-board has been forged!!
jarhead_h 14 May
I like it. Last year I bought a refurbed Logitech K840 Mechanical as reintroduction to mechanical keyboards, as I hadn't used one since the 80's. Finding a mechanical keyboard WITHOUT RGB was a pain, and the K840 was cheap.

I don't use the numpad, and I like the easy to customize keys. I'm assuming that I can shut the RGB off with the included utility.
damarrin 14 May
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  • Supporter Plus
I can live without the numpad, I do on my laptop, but I love it when it’s there, so wouldn’t buy a keyboard without it if I had the choice (which I do). I also appreciate the classic standard layout, which means I can use all keys by touch without looking at it.

I recently sold my Corsair mechanical keyboard, which l hated. Loud, uncomfortable to type on, tacky, huge. I got a Logitech MX Keys instead. Quiet, excellent key travel distance, elegant white backlighting, wireless with USB-C charging, uses the Unifying receiver. And as a super-special bonus, it has no Win logo key.

Edit: in other words, I appreciate their effort a lot, but it's not for me at all.

Last edited by damarrin on 14 May 2021 at 5:58 am UTC
drlamb 14 May
Quoting: damarrin

Yeah I'd like this keyboard on principal but Logitech has got me firmly in their "ecosystem." I've got the ergonomic keyboard (K860) and the G Pro Wireless mouse. I got my My girlfriend the MX Keys and I'm definitely jealous of the build quality/back-lighting of that model compared to my more-expensive one but am not willing to go back to the painful "standard" keyboard layout.

If there was an ergonomic model however System76...

Last edited by drlamb on 14 May 2021 at 5:22 am UTC
TheSHEEEP 14 May
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  • Supporter Plus
No numpad, no media control, only US layout (?).

Murray 14 May
If they release a full-sized keyboard including the numpad, I'll probably get one.
Seegras 14 May
The numpad isn't that interesting but without properly placed ins/del/home/end/pgup/pgdn and the arrow keys, it's unusable. Even worse: ANSI. I want an ISO return-key (the 180° turned L-shaped one).

The weight is quite ok for its size, I use a Turtle Beach Impact 100 right now, that one is 1250g (and it's great).
Tuxee 14 May
LED lighting that doesn't illuminate the key labels? Sorry, but that must be the most idiotic design decision ever...
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