In their recent blog posts titled 'System76 on US Manufacturing and Open Hardware' the Linux hardware vendor shared some details and thoughts about what they're up to.
For those not up to speed, System76 will soon be putting up their new Thelio desktop computer for pre-order. This will be their first in-house production using a case they made themselves. It's going to be quite exciting, so it's good to get some details cleared up before the big reveal on November 1st.
They've been working on the design of the Thelio system for three years, a lot longer than I originally thought. The actual design of the unit is made to offer "the maximum performance of the fastest available components" along with being easy to service and upgrade.
One thing people took issue with is how they've been saying it's an open source computer, because technically that isn't quite true. They touch on that too, mentioning that they're "chipping away at the proprietary bits" and there's a lot of work still to do. They went into more details, to mention that the actual design is open source so "anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design". Quite a nice approach that actually. Additionally, it will be using components from outside the US including the motherboard, memory, and drives. Although, with the metal, aluminium and other raw materials they "cut it, bend it, powder coat, etch" and so on themselves inside their new facility.
They confirmed again how they're removing proprietary functionality off of the motherboard (something the System76 Founder mentioned to me previously on Twitter), with a daughter board they're calling the Thelio Io. This daughter board "manages thermal and chassis control while also providing a storage backplane for the drives". System76 said they're working towards open sourcing more functionality, which will take more time along with mentioning that "Eventually, all that will be left are proprietary hardware initialization bits and convincing Intel and AMD to open up there."
As for what comes next, they're going to move onto designing Laptops with a similar approach to this with their own designs.
See more on their blog post.