What do you wish the Reform could Do but can't?

When I got my Reform over 2 years ago, one of the things that really surprised me was just how capable the Reform actually was. I thought that it was going to be seriously limited and was going to be more of a novelty or toy for me, that would help in my goals of developing for the ARM platform.

2 years in, I can honestly say that I would be more than ok with the Reform as my only computer. I would miss out on some gaming but in general there isn’t any normal computing tasks that can’t be done on the Reform. With ssh, vnc, or rdp, you can do things beyond the Reform’s limitations as well.

Downright impressive to me!

That said, I’m curious what things the Reform can’t do that you wish it could?

Two reasons for asking this and starting a thread:

  1. It is very likely that we will post things that are in fact possible but we simply didn’t know how to do it.
  2. This might be a good source of information for MNT that might help them in future products or in differentiating their current SBC offerings for the Reform and the Pocket Reform.

Working suspend which draws very little power (similar to x86 hardware) such that i can leave my reform suspended over night or while traveling for several hours without the batteries running out of juice.


Came here to post that – sleep, and hibernate if possible.

Especially given the modest battery life, getting sway setup with various workspaces and state, having to shutdown and re-setup is a pain. Sleep/hibernate effectively increase life away from the charger.

I often do embedded work remotely; I’ve got code in my ancient (1960) car that I need to “drive and tune”, logging and monitoring, where a charger is not practical.

But I remember how hard it was to make that stuff work reliably the first time around.

Ah yes, if suspend cannot work, hibernate to disk would be acceptable for me as well. My reasoning is the same as yours. I have sway set up with 11 workspaces and they are all full with stuff (yes, with 3.7 GB of RAM).

OT about charging: I had no problem charging my Reform from a 12 V lead-sulfuric acid car battery. Not from within a car but a battery block that was meant for a car. Maybe this can work for you in any case but I would put a DC-DC adapter in the middle which takes care of protecting the Reform from any possible voltage spikes which I heard are possible when the car is starting up or some such (I have no clue about cars).

To be clear, suspend should work on most Reforms. It effectively cuts the power draw in half.

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If they have the imx8mq, then yes, suspend can work as you have demonstrated.

Yes, but that does not satisfy my wish which i described above. I want suspend to cut power down to a level as it is common for x86 hardware. I want to be able to suspend and then forget my reform for the next 12 hours without having the fear in the back of my mind that it might run out of power.


Yes me too.

I would also really like hibernation to work, because then power stops becoming a concern.

For now though suspend gives me about 6 hours mixed with 1-2 hours of use of standby time.

hardware: my dream machine would have screen that is also a wacom tablet.

software: i use 9front on my reform, so stuff like suspend already simply doesn’t exist.

I just invoked suspend via systemctl suspend and… it just worked. Lol, I had not thought to just try it… then realized I did not know how to unsuspend, d’oh, but found WAKE in the OLED menu.

OLED also said “0.00 amps”. I’ll experiment with battery life later.

Thanks everyone!


I think 95% of my issues would be solved a module upgrade.

Most of the stuff I’ve been thinking of is more related to making custom reform based hardware like my Toshiba t1000 remix project. Thoughts about making it easier to make something cleanly compatible with the mnt system image without having to write new firmware. And keep in mind i’m a hardware person so I like to tip toe around having to write firmware where I can! (big shout out to everyone putting in the hard work that is firmware)

I’m gonna type out some hardware design thoughts I’ve been having feel free to let me know if this is derailing the thread and I can move it to it’s own. Also note these aren’t criticism just thinking of alternatives out loud (i think the reform is fantastic and so is all the work put into it). A lot of these are based on a more modular approach which has it’s pros and cons including assembly complexity and parts count but doesn’t hurt to think about them imo. Also many don’t seem possible with the current reform board but could maybe be used in a future design or an even remix friendlier family of reform compatible designs.

Separating PSU from main board

I was having thoughts of a separate replaceable PSU might be handy for future repairs or alternative power sources. Repairing old computers PSUs were common points of failure, especially electrolytic caps. With the reform we have open schematics which is huge, and can replace parts but, if something become hard to troubleshoot like aging components or damaged board we may have to end up replacing the whole motherboard instead of part of it which /could/ mean more waste than necessary.

Battery flexibility

In term of design, It’s already reasonably flexible with it’s very wide input range, which is also great, but if the power system was separate from the compute section it may be easier to design alternative chemistry batteries. I.e. moving the LT battery management to the battery board or a separate module. Right now if we want to use alternative chemistries at best we have to change some resistor values on the motherboard if the batteries used are still in range the LT4020. It would be interesting if we could have a variety of Battery management system options in the future for custom battery pack and chemistry designs.

System controller interface

Love that we can interact with the system controller and integration to linux has improved a lot but tying into the keyboard firmware limits the more easy familiar 3rd party firmware for customizing your layouts like QMK. This isn’t the worst problem and someone could probably write a serial based code for qmk to talk to the mnt controller, it’s just beyond my abilities at the moment. So i was thinking of maybe a 5 point tiny joystick system controller module that can connect to the system controller and display? The current set up is nice and contained and this would add cost and parts but it’s a thought.

All and all I love my reform but I tend not to use it just due to it’s lack of computing and graphics power (I have the original i.mx8 module). Sometimes I run into issues of some toolchains not being written for ARM architecture too but I think that’s more of a me problem than a mnt problem.


Have you heard of the Rasti Computer?

A project that he and I are working on made this kind of possible.

However, I think your suggestions make a lot of sense. I think moving the power to a USB C PD source would be great as well. We are getting that in the Pocket Reform though.

Honestly the barrel plug on the Reform works for me, because it charges the laptop incredibly fast. I will also add that I have the original IMX8 module on mine. I think it is fast enough to not have me upgrade yet.

I will and am looking forward to it, but I want suspend to work on the module before I will go for it.


Oh i did see that! it’s similar to what i want to do but for me i want to reuse the old t1000 case. very cool tho!

And yeah i love the barrel jack on the reform, pd is really convenient but i don’t actually have many devices that use it yet. for The PSU I was meaning more of like, having it on a pcb separate from motherboard making it easier to replace or change out on it’s own.

I wish it had a lid switch. This was the one thing that surprised me the most that there wasn’t one.

Additionally I really don’t like the keycaps, my fingers keep catching on them for some reason, but this is obviously fixable by finding replacement caps.

What’s worse is the placement of the right shift key which is really difficult for me to reach with my right pinky and I keep hitting arrow up all the time which trips up my touch-typing.

The choice of material for the trackball buttons seems unfortunately brittle, compounded by the tiny tabs used by the low profile keyswitches. Mine have already broken and I now have little bits of plastic stuck in the slots. I was able to get replacement caps via shapeways which seem much less prone to breaking (they call the material PA12, not sure what it is) but they are now slightly wonky because I couldn’t get the remains of the originals out of the keyswitches.

Anyway, these are fairly minor things, the hardware of the reform2 is really good.

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Yes, this is my biggest issue with the Reform as well. I’m used to being able to pack up my computer and maintain its state without having to worry about draining the battery too much. The Reform now feels comparatively tethered.

Hibernate would indeed be sufficient as well, though I seem to recall that being complicated to get working with full disk encryption.

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I approached the Librem 5 devs and asked about hibernation and they said it wasn’t possible. Looking at their gitlab it seemed like they tried to get it working but found it was going to be a bunch of work. They instead focused on suspend.

The imx8 however, seems to have issues with suspend in general. No matter how stable it is, you’ll eventually get a situation where it does not resume properly. 1 out of 100 or so these days, but it is annoying nonetheless.

If the RK3588 can have functional suspend as well, it is the chip I’m upgrading to. I think that SOC will change the dynamic of this thread the most.

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