System76 Reveals Open Source Launch Configurable Keyboard For Ultimate WFH Comfort
Have you ever wanted to cut your keyboard's spacebar in half and turn it into two different keys? How about relocating your keyboard's Escape key to somewhere that might be a little more convenient, rather than stretching your pinky finger all the way up to the corner? It's all fair game with System76's new Launch Configurable Keyboard.
System76 specializes in desktops and laptops running on Linux, and it has taken its love for open source software over to the land of peripherals. This is its first keyboard, and not surprisingly, it is completely open source to allow for all kinds of customization, as well as support for a variety of platforms, including Linux (duh), Windows, and macOS.
"Launch’s firmware is based on open source QMK firmware. Updates can only be initiated by the user, and are available through Pop!_OS firmware settings and LVFS. When your firmware is updated, your keyboard LEDs will flash U-N-L-O-C-K-E-D, notifying you that the firmware is being changed," System76 explains.
The keyboard is milled out of a solid block of aluminum, on top of which sits a custom printed circuit board. It's an almost entirely in-house affair—its own team of "very particular keyboard nerds" designed, engineered, and manufactured the keyboard at its Denver facility.
It's also a mechanical deck, with System76 having turned to Kailh for the mechanical key switches. Buyers can choose between Kailh Box Jade (clicky) or Box Royal (tactile) switches. Neither one is silent, but the Jades are definitely louder.
The keycaps are made of PBT plastic and feature addressable RGB lighting. Other specifications include N-key rollover, a detachable lift bar to adjust the keyboard angle by 15 degrees, an integrated USB hub with two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports, and a detachable USB cable for connecting it to your PC.
This keyboard is all about customization, right down to the actual board—all the files you need to make your own can be found in a GitHub repository. You can also swap the keycaps out for different colors and rearrange the keys however you like, after which you would remap any relocated keys in the accompanying software utility. Changes you make get saved to the firmware, so you can use the keyboard on multiple PCs without having to remap each time.
It's a promising mechanical keyboard, albeit an expensive one. Preorder pricing for the Launch Configurable Keyboard is set at $285 with just a one-year warranty, which you can bump up to three years for an additional $35.