But those laptops all have something in common with run-of-the-mill Windows PCs: a reliance on closed-source hardware and, often, the proprietary software and drivers needed to make it function. For some people, this is a tolerable trade-off. You put up with the closed hardware because it performs well, and it supports the standard software, development tools, and APIs that keep the computing world spinning. For others, it’s anathema—if you can’t see the source code for these “binary blobs,” they are inherently untrustworthy and should be used sparingly or not at all.
The MNT Reform is a laptop for the latter group. It’s a crowdfunded, developed-in-the-open, extensively documented device that cares more about being open than it cares about literally any other aspect of the computing experience. Perhaps predictably, this makes for a laptop that is ideologically pure but functionally compromised.
This ain’t it. I appreciate – as always – the effort, but this is not the way to go.
I do have conflicted feelings about this. It’s a device that can’t beat even a RPi4, and sure looks like a bad deal against a Pinebook.
The premisse of a fully open hardware is nice but it’s waaaay too expensive for what it offer in exchange for ideological purity.
And some choices seems odd: why use a cheap ARM processor if RISC-V looks to be more aligned with their objectives? What’s the deal with the trackpad/trackball thing if they bothered to bundle it with a good keyboard? Why use such a cheap wifi in a 1500 dollar hardware? Why it don’t have proper battery control circuitry to avoid it dropping to literal 0% requiring a external charger? Why bother to create a tank like expensive aluminum frame and pair it with a garbage acrylic bottom?