@mntmn possible typo in the trackball section: "The new Reform trackball is upgraded from two a whopping five buttons" should probably read "The new Reform trackball is upgraded from two **to** a whopping five buttons" ?

interesting read though, thanks

@mntmn
The article doesn't mention it but I assume switching to a 64bit SOC will allow the user to install significantly more RAM as well?

Also, do you know from the top of your head wether the new SOC has hardware virtualization support?

@vimja afaik the maximum amount of DDR4 on this soc is still 8 GB :/

@mntmn That's not too bad though. For 90% of what I do, 8 GB is plenty of memory.

@mntmn looks great; nice work!

at the risk of sounding predictable, do you know if there's much demand for labeled keycaps? seems like the cost/benefit ratio is pretty low, and that the set of folks interested in a DIY laptop doesn't have that much overlap with the set of folks who need labels to type.

@technomancy yeah, the beta version with actual customers revealed that more people need labels than you would expect. even if you’re a touch typist, it can be disorienting not to have labels.

@mntmn interesting. at least, people think they need labels anyway, and that's a good enough reason.

good to see you've done research. will you offer blanks as well?

@mntmn aaaaactually I would probably replace the whole kb with my own switch plate that isn't row-staggered and source it all myself...

so never mind =)

@technomancy @mntmn ortholinear? that sounds good to me. it would be cool if that was an option when ordering

@mntmn

I'm with @technomancy on this one.

I've been using an #ErgodoxEZ for a while now, and I must say ortholinear keys rock. I don't understand why we still use staggered rows layouts

@Naughtylus @technomancy it’s because a lot of people (like me) have a hard time changing to that after decades of using staggered. i tried with a typematrix keyboard but failed. but i’m strongly considering the option to make an ortho version of the keyboard as an option anyway, it’s easy to do relative to other customizations.

@mntmn @technomancy @Naughtylus I spent a month or two using an Infinity Ergodox as my main keyboard and after the initial adjustment both to ortholinear and to a split keyboard (hard if your left hand is used to hitting some of the right hand keys) I found it was much more enjoyable. Also you can fit way more keys in a smaller space with 1U ortho caps. Just look at the Preonic which is a 50% with basically as many keys as a 60%!

One of the biggest benefits is splitting up the huge spacebar into smaller keys so you can do stuff like have backspace down there and hit it with your left thumb. This felt like a big level up in typing comfort.

@brad @Naughtylus @technomancy sure. the space bar is already split up btw. but you have to understand that most people don’t have the patience/will to go through a long transition period, so it can’t be the default. i will make it an option in the crowdfunding and see how many people will order with ortho layout. i think that’ll be a good indicator.

@mntmn @technomancy @Naughtylus Sounds perfectly reasonable. Thanks for considering it as an option at all!

@brad @Naughtylus @technomancy i’ve heard it as a request many times now, so ortho fans are definitely vocal :)

@sum relax, all the letters will be there, and there is a trackpad option. (it’s in the article)

@mntmn Really should consider putting the trackball on the left side.

@mntmn Personally for me, its the same way it's more comfortable. I've used laptops with a touchpad much more right, and it really cumbersome when it comes to typing. The ones I've used aligned left are a dream to use, as it leaves more room and easier access to the keyboard (right hand isn't blocking it), and you can sit more naturally.

@katnjia hmm so you type with one hand and use the trackpad/ball with the other hand or how...? maybe you can make a sketch?

@mntmn

Well you could, and do with certain tasks, but I was thinking more about what's more ergonomic to use. In the same way that, most (I know) put their mouse on the right side, and not bellow the keyboard.

You could argue keeping the trackpad in the middle gives you quicker access to the home row, yet with normal usage I depend more on the arrow/cursor-keys.

:blobcatgooglyshrug:

@katnjia normally the trackball in the middle is not in the way at all if you use both hands to type. i can make a video later how the typing works.

@mntmn Oh sorry I kind of mixed up the directions. :blobderpy:

My comment about blocking was more directed at laptops with the touchpad aligned to the left. I don't doubt that the trackball interface isn't in the way.

Anyway, the easiest way to understand what I'm hinting at is just run a test design with the trackball aligned to the right instead of the middle, and see how it feels.

@mntmn
> Using individual cells also means you can exchange battery cells on the fly, and you'll be able to buy individual (or bulk) cells from third party vendors.

:blobwoah:

@mntmn more of a software question, but can the GPU handle modern OpenGLand if not, is there any possibility that it will?

@grainloom officially 3.1 i believe, not sure at what level etnaviv is currently, will check!

@mntmn The info I found suggests OpenGL ES 1 and 2.
Which isn't bad tbh.

@grainloom GC7000 officially does ES3.1 and vulkan, just etnaviv isn’t there yet. but i’m sure they will be at some point.

@mntmn Looks awesome! 😀
Have you considered making an compliant motherboard for the Reform? I think they would be a perfect match. :owi:

@mntmn Also, USB-C with power delivery would be really, really convenient. 🤤

@mntmn Are there any plans on using a free driver for a video card?

@meff it's all in the article, the gpu (do you mean that by video card?) already has an open source driver, etnaviv. it's in the linux kernel!

@mntmn oops good to know and thanks for the reply!

@mntmn This is really exciting. I don't see any mention of the physical dimensions, however - how big is it in comparison to, say, an X201?
@mntmn oh right, so it's basically x60-ish size?

... actually, i wonder if there are good 4:3 1920-wide displays available?

@mntmn
"Unfortunately, during the boot process, i.MX8M requires a closed-source firmware for an embedded ARCompact processor in the Synopsys DDR4 PHY. " 🙁

"We are in contact with reverse engineers [...] to find out if we have a chance to replace this firmware at some point in the future." 😕

"[W]hen an affordable, high-performing RISC-V chip is released, we will design a motherboard version around it that you can swap into an existing Reform chassis." 😃

@therealraccoon @mntmn The situation with hardware will likely remain like this until there are free hardware designs. Trying to persuade manufacturers to publish the firmware source is usually a losing proposition due to supply chain shenanigans or designed in backdoors. It's a hard problem because it requires specialized skills and non-trivial capital.

@mntmn

"... For example, when an affordable, high-performing RISC-V chip is released, we will design a motherboard version around it that you can swap into an existing Reform chassis."

Can you make any statement (no matter how vague) as to when a version with RISC-V could become available?

Like, 2 years? Or rather 5?

#RiscV #openHardware #openSourceHardware

@iLikeAltitude i cannot, because i don’t know who is planning to release a fitting RISC-V chip and when.

@mntmn Hey - do you have an rss feed for the MNT Reform news?

@mntmn Wow, I was already impressed with the unit you showed me at FOSDEM, but this version seems to be really good!

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