MNT Reform laptop

There have been mention of the MNT Reform elsewhere in the forum, but I thought it worth having a thread of its own. Here is the place to celebrate a very different project with complementary aims to Framework’s own laptop.

The Reform is in many respects an excellent foil against which the framework can be compared. Perhaps it shows what would happen to the Framework if some of the more strident feature requests were adopted. :grinning: Whilst the Framework is almost Apple like in its appearance, the Reform might be considered not so much a traditional notebook as an off-the-peg cyberdeck. Appropriate enough for a business based in the country that brought us Kraftwerk. The Reform offers amongst other things:

  • ARM SoC
  • Mechanical keyboard with discrete switches.
  • Trackball - surrounded by mechanical switched buttons
  • Removable battery
  • No internal mic or camera (for privacy).
  • Open source hardware, firmware, schematic circuitry diagrams included.

Whilst the Reform will have a narrower appeal than the Framework there will no doubt be many of us who find that it meets their needs better than the framework. I hope they prosper.

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I think that the Reform laptop and the Framework laptop are going to be seen as competitors when they really don’t seem to be. The two teams have similar principles, it seems, but they have completely different market focuses.
They go above and beyond in modularity and changeability, but the Framework laptop is something that anyone can work on even if it’s the first time they’ve ever opened a laptop. The Reform, on the other hand, may be daunting to people who aren’t already comfortable with that.

Overall, I think that both products will be unfairly pitted against each other, but it’ll be interesting to see how people will look at once after using the other.

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Something like the Reform would be too much of a stretch to use as a daily driver, at least for me personally. The form factor looks like something from the 90s. Maybe I am being a bit too harsh here but I care about my productivity too much to give up so much just for the promise of modularity. I don’t really see them as competitors with the Framework.

The Framework is the first laptop I have seen that made me consider switching to daily driving Linux after using and loving macOS for 10+ years. Reform looks like a major step back in practicality, just for the promise of modularity. Maybe there are people who like that, but it is not for me.

The Reform seems to be not so much about modularity as about taking open-source to the limits. There’s only so much you can do without proprietary hardware and firmware, so it’s more a proof of concept rather than a practical alternative for regular consumers.

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Another issue with the Reform is the SoC it’s running. Don’t get me wrong, I’d not complain about a M-series level non-Apple ARM board, at all. But, the Reform’s running something considerably lower-spec, even in comparison to current phone SoCs.

I’d also second the idea that the Reform’s a bit more hardcore, as far as assembly goes. With even the DIY Framework, you’re slapping in storage/memory/wireless, then you close things up and roll out.

However, I do support what the MNT folk are after, and if nothing else, I certainly wish them success.

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