11th Gen, Batch 5, Manjaro Linux
It’s been just over a year since I came across the article on Cory Doctorow’s blog, bought into the Framework idea, and literally bought a Framework. I’ve been abusing laptops since the 90’s and I remember when it took at three days to configure X on a newly-installed Linux box.
The Framework replaces a few years of Dell XPS13s and Thinkpad X1 Carbons. I purchased it for everyday use: email, browsing, blogging, publishing papers*, research, and teaching classes, often from jungles and rainforests where services can be sketchy.
I first tried Fedora, then Ubuntu before returning to my standard Manjaro. Here are my thoughts one year later.
What I Like
- The swappable ports are convenient. I keep a USB-C and Snack Drawer on each side; it’s convenient for charging, and there are decongestant tablets in one of the snack drawers for when I fly. I carry an HDMI and USB-A if I’m likely to need them, and use a 1Tb drive for offline backups.
- The screen ratio is ideal for research and writing. I don’t watch a lot of videos, but seeing more of a full page makes work easier.
- The keyboard is nice to type on. I thought I’d miss the full size arrow keys, but never really notice they’re gone.
- Pretty much everything just works under Manjaro. Even the fingerprint reader, which is faster and more usable than the one on my Thinkpad. The touchpad works fine as well, though I use taps rather than clicks.
- The camera’s crisp and bright. As mentioned above, I often use it for teaching.
- I can fix it. Framework sent replacements for my defective hinges and it took less than 15 minutes to swap them.
- The battery. Really. After a fair amount of Linux tweaking, I can work most of a day. Sure, a twelve-person Zoom session with full brightness and volume will shut me down in two hours, but I can read, write, browse, and email for a multi-flight travel day without much worry.
- The Glossy Screen. I’ve always hated shiny screens and was surprised that I don’t hate this one. Probably because the display can be turned up to “supernova” brightness and reflections don’t stand a chance.
- Customer Service has improved a lot since the early days. Hiring Matt for dedicated Linux support was huge. If I need to deal directly with Support again, I might be inclined to bump this to “What I Like,” but I’ll wait and see.
What Would Be Nice
- Okay, I’d love a trackpoint, but that really is asking a lot.
- A matte screen. It’s easier to see, especially if you’re using the laptop for actual work.
I picked up a felt Byrd & Belle laptop sleeve for travel. It’s thin, elegant, cushiony, and perfectly protects the laptop in my backpack.
It’s been a year and I use my Framework daily. I guess I’ll be keeping it around for awhile. Great work folks. And happy new year everyone.
*Links included for chocolate geeks.