System76 releases open source Launch mechanical keyboard for $ 285

System76 has released its Launch keyboard. This mechanical keyboard is fully open source, has replaceable switches, and is configurable with associated software. The first Launch keyboards will ship in June and will cost $ 285.

The System76 Launch has a tenkeyless design with a split space bar. The keyboard comes standard with Box Jade or Box Royal switches from Kailh. These are user replaceable with other MX-style switches as the Launch comes with hot swap sockets. Users cannot choose to purchase the keyboard without included switches. The supplied keycaps are made of pbt plastic and have an xda profile.

The manufacturer writes that the keyboard is 100 percent open source. For example, the PCB and housing designs are open source. The schematics of this hardware are on GitHub. Users can build the keyboard themselves, provided they have the equipment at their disposal. Launch keyboard firmware is based on QMK and is also fully open source. System76 has also published the source code of the software on GitHub.

Furthermore, the keyboard can be fully customized via software. Users can customize the layout of their keyboard through the open source System76 Keyboard Configurator application. The Launch keyboard supports up to four layers, which allows users, for example, to set up shortcuts. Users can also switch between different keyboard layouts, such as colemak or dvorak, via these layers.

Users can connect the keyboard with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C connector. The manufacturer includes USB C-to-C and USB C-to-A cables. The keyboard also includes an integrated USB hub with four USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, two of which are type-C and two are type-A. The keyboard measures 309x136x33mm and weighs 948 grams.

System76 is an American hardware vendor specializing in Linux systems. The manufacturer sells, among other things, Thelio desktops and various laptops with Linux, which, for example, come with open source hardware or firmware. The company also makes its own Linux distribution called Pop! _OS. This operating system is based on Ubuntu and the Gnome desktop environment, although the company is introducing its own desktop environment in Pop! _OS 21.04 in June.