A new laptop designed with right to repair in mind

I’ve just come across this crowdfunder for a new laptop that Restarters will probably find interesting:

It feels very artisanal, in the best meaning of it, combining open hardware and floss software of course. And I quite like that you can buy a DIY version which you can assemble yourself, requiring no soldering!

Right to repair is mentioned directly, and it comes with schematics too. What do people think of it?

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I have always felt that there should be more ARM laptops around. The power handling features of a ARM are suited to laptop use. But because it dosn’t run windows then nobody makes them.

I’m sure we all have our dislikes about windows - mine is why do I have to upgrade to the next version of windows and go back to infant school to relearn much of what I already know because some simple minded programmer has decided to justify his job by moving everything around and adding a new layer of …well you know!!

Trouble is I’m bought into what I’ve got - does my PCB layout software run on the new laptop, does Microchip software support the different OS, do my printer and scanner drivers work or do I have to by something new. My hardware works but the software isn’t compatible. Can I access the RS232 port to carry on my “real world” interfacing. Does that Excel VBA programme I’ve spent hours (weeks!) getting to work still work on this new Linux based hardware laptop.
Do I really want to rethink everything again or just put up with what I’ve got (and believe you me I wish i didn’t have to rely on Microsoft!!!).
I’m sure there are many views and opinions about this but I can live with XXXXsoft and its bloatware in spite of what it is because I simply want to get on with more interesting things other than re-educate myself on another OS and purchase and re-learn the same tools.
Am I just a dinosaur or just weary of re-inventing the wheel?
Any views? Sorry not wanting to be negative but … hmmmm…just looking from a different point of view?

@Roger I think it is more about making small incremental changes. But all in the direction of making sure to increase your software freedom at each step. So do things like install Libre Office on your Windows machine and try an use it, try your VB script sheets on it. Then update to dual boot, and see if you can run your old windows programs under wine. Or install Windows in a Virtual Machine and see if that works for you.

You have been incrementally giving up your freedom for years, it will take time to re-establish your rights over your software. The goal is possible and rewarding.


This is definitely not for everyone, yet I really like the approach. I don’t have major requirements as a computer user in terms of the software I use - certainly the fact that this is an open hardware device should make Debian support very reliable.

In terms of design, I’m curious whether 4cm is “too” thick for non-DIY enthusiasts? I’m thinking at the Fairphone, which is modular and repairable, yet not that much thicker than less repairable phones.

Finally, while I appreciate the focus on privacy, I would personally find it hard not to have neither a camera nor a microphone on the device, I would prefer a physical on-off switch for both - but I guess this is down to personal preference :slight_smile:

It’s a cool idea but having seen so many “cool ideas” change significantly between funding and final version, I wouldn’t consider crowdfunding anything again.

I used Ubuntu for many years when I was younger but I just got tired of things constantly needing to be fixed when I was trying to do other things. I moved to 100% Windows in 2017 and haven’t regretted it. I’m even transitioning my lingering libreoffice spreadsheets because excel is so much faster.

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On the Linux vs Windows vein, I made a list of other laptop manufacturers alongside the NMT Reform just last month who value open-source and repairability, and I hope it might be of use to you.

I noticed a UK-base company that designs laptops specifically to run Linux, and open sources their custom software. They also have posted a repair guide showing steps to teardown the entire device. Thankfully despite the thin form, there is no glue.

Other laptops and PC-manufacturers supporting Linux as their main operating system (OS):

  1. System76. Manufacture a range of laptops, and their own Linux OS. Some are designed with the power user in mind and physical dimensions to match. Can be pricey mind. On the other hand they could be some of the most easily repairable upgradable laptops around so worth the investment https://system76.com/laptops

  2. Purism. Focus on privacy with physical switches to disable microphone, webcam, wifi, etc. Maybe overkill for a typical user in a democratic state, but looks like a well thought-out bit of design. The specs aren’t bad either. Not sure if it has a repairability score https://puri.sm/products/librem-13

  3. Starlabs (see above). Small UK-based company. They are just about to launch a couple of new designs - one is the power house with an i7, the other is a design with longevity of battery life and portability in mind. Hopefully the will keep their repair documentation and open-source software updated with this new release. https://starlabs.systems/pages/labtop-mk-iv

Question to the community: What are your thoughts - would you go for a new laptop that supports repairability and open-source, or would you go for a refurbished big-brand?