The Reform Laptop Daily Driver Poll

You should be able to re-map the alt keys to be more spacebars (and thus have four of them!)

That’s exactly what I did. I installed Key Remapper and converted the ALTs into spaces, the CTRL key to the left of the spaces to a left ALT, the COMPOSE key into another A because I will never hit that on purpose and will likely only hit it when I meant to type an A. I’m good with the CTRL in place of CAPS_LOCK so this pretty much has me typing happily. It’s a little weird to have four space keys instead of one space bar but the end result is functional.

3 Likes

I have one of those as well. I would love to be able to use it as a daily, BUT I can’t because the display cable is loose, and half the time I can’t the display to come on. Replacing the display has no manual or assistance on how to do it. So I have kind of just kept the Librem 13 on the shelf.

My daily is a Framework Laptop, but I sometimes take the Reform with me instead of the Framework.

Now that I finished making the Penkesu, I take that daily, and I’ll switch between the Framework and the Reform.

I really could daily with the Reform though.

1 Like

It’s also relatively easy to reflash the keyboard firmware, in case you wanted to make the change more permanent. The files are in the repo.

4 Likes

I had a bit of finger trouble over the first couple of days; I wrecked my first image with an apt-upgrade that rendered the machine unable to boot, I then struggled to find a replacement image (honestly this forum has been a godsend for such things) but since then things have been pretty solid. The manual is great, but when it advises locating an image from the official site, you actually have to do a fair bit of digging unless you know about the CI page.

Battery life is satisfactory, the keyboard is excellent and the machine has enough power for most use cases. Basically with SSH client (base image, please?) and openconnect I can and do use it for work.

Video playback in browsers is a bit of a tricky subject with Linux, because HW accel just hasn’t been available for most (apart from a VAAPI-patched Chromium build) so I did not have high hopes. Chromium will happily play 720p and even 1080/30 once it settles down. This is alright for me, I didn’t have high hopes as this has been a weakness in Linux on portable devices for years.

I have not had a single crash of an application. It’s been absolutely solid.

I would love to have that design talent put towards a quick-release bottom panel, but that would just be the icing on the cake, haha.

BTW mpv + yt-dlp (available via apt) works very well for playback of HD videos from YouTube and most other big-tech video places.

I have this in my ~/.config/mpv/mpv.conf:

--ytdl-raw-options=format="best[height<=1080]"

Then it’s just mpv [video url] and away you go.

mpv automatically hooks yt-dlp and you can enjoy smooth accelerated playback.

3 Likes

Update:

Now that I’ve been living with the Reform for a bit, I can honestly say that it’s becoming my daily driver. I had a few struggles related to getting myself up and running with an SD-less eMMC/NVME configuration but I got through them. I remapped/reflashed the keyboard to my liking. Gnome broke after some probably ill-advised apt upgrades but I decided to take the plunge on sway instead and I honestly think I’m sold on it.

It’s been many years since I rocked Linux as my primary OS (I was seduced by Apple years back) so I’ve been having fun playing around with it and getting it setup to suit my preferences. Seriously loving it. This is gonna work.

3 Likes

Sway is excellent, and a seriously fantastic way to not stagger the GPU anymore than necessary. It is snappy and just works, thanks to the careful tuning by MNT.

I’m very happy with Sway in general. I would recommend it for every user of Linux.

3 Likes

The best thing about Sway is how well-featured the configuration is. It’s ready-to-go on laptops because you have straightforward keybinding control for things like backlight and speakers.

TWMs are a shift in thinking but quite addictive once you achieve it.

What are the main problems with the keyboard layout? Alternative stagger, function key placement, split space bar? Would a “trad” keyboard help that addresses these 3 things? (We would need to create some custom keycaps for that though, as there is no spacebar or 1.75U cap we could buy, AFAIK).

Having gotten new batteries after nkon had them on stock, I’ve been using the reform again.

I noticed the following related to the keyboard after not using it much for months:

  • Keys take a little too much force / have too much travel compared to what I’m used to. I sometimes miss letters while typing. (I mostly use inexpensive Logitech full size keyboards or Thinkpads.)
  • Function key placement is an issue. I keep on hitting Ctrl + Enter, etc. when I mean to use Super + Enter (Super is below Y on other keyboards I use) and Hyper + key for combinations involving Ctrl. I don’t use Alt much.
  • The stagger wasn’t an issue for me, my fingers find the correct keys.
  • Split space is mostly fine, although I sometimes hit the adjacent outer key instead, probably because of hand placement related to the next point.
  • The keyboard seems a little too cramped for comfort. I was fine with a C2D-era 12" FSC Amilo Pro and the X230. I find the X200 keyboard a bit too small as well.
  • The keyboard is a bit noisy, but acceptably so.
  • I don’t like the Page Up/Down placement.

I could probably remap Super, Ctrl and Hyper to resolve the biggest frustration. I’d need to check whether I can swap keycaps without risk of damage. A traditional keyboard doesn’t seem required given the manufacturing challenges it would cause.