Assessment: MNT Reform laptop computer has totally open {hardware} and software program—for higher or worse

The MNT Reform, a boxy laptop built around maximally open-source hardware and software.

Enlarge / The MNT Reform, a boxy laptop computer constructed round maximally open-source {hardware} and software program. (credit score: Andrew Cunningham)

Specs at a look: MNT Reform
Display1920×1080 12.5-inch (176PPI) IPS display screen
OSDebian Linux
CPUNXP/Freescale i.MX8MQ (1.5GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53)
RAM4GB
GPUVivante GC7000Lite
Storage32GB SD card, NVMe SSD optionally available
NetworkingOptionally available 802.11n Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet
Ports3x USB-A 3.0, HDMI (optionally available), SD card slot
DigicamNone
Dimension11.42×8.07×1.57 inches (290×205×40 mm)
Weight4.2 kilos (1.9 kg)
Battery8x 18650 LiFePO4 battery cells
Beginning worth$1,358 (not assembled, with trackpad or trackball); $1,550 assembled with trackball

In the event you’re a Linux fan or open supply advocate in search of an honest laptop computer, you even have some stable choices proper now—significantly better, not less than, than shopping for a Home windows laptop computer, putting in Linux on it, and hoping for one of the best.

Dell has provided Ubuntu editions of a few of its XPS laptops and different PCs for years now, and Lenovo sells a good assortment of desktops and laptops with Linux. System76 sells a number of Linux-friendly laptops preloaded with Ubuntu or its personal Pop!_OS distribution. The repair-friendly Framework Laptop computer doesn’t ship with Linux, however it may be configured with out an OS, and Framework guarantees strong Linux assist from a number of distributions.

However these laptops all have one thing in frequent with run-of-the-mill Home windows PCs: a reliance on closed-source {hardware} and, usually, the proprietary software program and drivers wanted to make it perform. For some folks, this can be a tolerable trade-off. You place up with the closed {hardware} as a result of it performs properly, and it helps the usual software program, growth instruments, and APIs that preserve the computing world spinning. For others, it’s anathema—if you happen to can’t see the supply code for these “binary blobs,” they’re inherently untrustworthy and must be used sparingly or by no means.

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