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    Introducing the Framework Laptop hardware frame.work
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    I was a bit disappointed when my FairPhone 2 broke down and the much-touted self-repair couldn’t be performed, as all spares had sold out.

    To back up what @ethoh said, building an ecosystem is better than hoping an ethical green startup du jour can cut it.

    Also not super interested in laptops that aren’t 15”…

    I want to love this but I’m too cynical and jaded.

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      Fairphone was a disappointment to me because of no third-party constructors or vendors for parts and the incompatibility between version. It’s a good idea with a poor implementation business and tech side. If they had sold their new versions as swappable parts form the old ones, it would have been really a sustainable initiative. Now, it is just another vendor lockdown on a meh to good enough phone. If Project Ara would have landed, the smartphone ecosystem would have been way different IMHO. On the other side, I also put to much hope in Firefox OS in the past, so.

      Like you and @ethos, until proven otherwise it is just a nice start up with maybe nice product without a clear future. Sticking with Thinkpad with versions swappable part still is the best way to have a reparable and tweakable laptop.

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      It’s down to licensing.

      If specifications are open and there’s no restriction (e.g. patent licensing) so that everybody can freely design, make and sell specification-compliant modules (including the container/shell itself), welcome.

      Otherwise, good riddance.

      I am not optimistic, as I couldn’t easily find the information on licensing in the website.

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        The ars writeup of this makes promising sounds like

        The company also pledges to open up its hardware ecosystem to third parties, which will be able to design, build, and sell compatible modules via a Framework Marketplace.

        But as you point out, there’s no information on licensing, etc. in that handwaving. I’m optimistic that it’s at least on their radar as something they think is good for them. That said, I’ll be waiting to see what evolves once things are shipping before I get excited.

        I do hope a system with field repairability by its owner becomes available. Because the ones I liked (Thinkpads) are going away from that lately.

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          FWIW they did say on Twitter:

          We’ll be publishing specifications and reference designs for the Expansion Card system under open licenses, and releasing documentation around the internal interfaces. Our focus is on building a hardware ecosystem around the Framework Laptop.

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            Without this there’s a solid chance that new parts will cost more than a new laptop, which in the real world will kill the idea off.

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              Good point about licensing. This needs to be open. It would be cool to see something like this but similar to Pine64 openness

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                I’m pretty optimistic about this. It sounds like they paid enough attention to everything that techies were talking about. I think they’ll come up with reasonable licensing as well… at least in the beginning. I don’t think they’ll do a worse job than Apple regarding hardware lockdown.

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                Devil’s advocate: is this actually desirable? Some points:

                • By the time your system is due for an upgrade, it’s likely old and and possibly busted; you want the new thing anyways.

                • System lifecycles are long enough to exacerbate above. People can get a decade out of a laptop now; mechanical fatigue is likelier to occur.

                • If you do want to upgrade, there’s a good chance the platform, peripherals, or chassis design have no outmoded your system, and they won’t be compatible.

                • If they are, it’s likely that they’re bottlenecked by the constraints set, or significant compromise the chassis in terrms of reliability and portability.

                There’s a reason why these modular phones et al keep failing: no one wants them but nerds who think they want them.

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                  I don’t know.. I’d argue that most people really don’t need the new hardware unless you’re doing something really specific that requires it. My daily system is a Thinkpad x230 (from ~2012 or so?) and it (with upgraded RAM and SSD) is still quite competitive with ‘modern’ laptops. The hardware is easily replaceable. I’ve replaced everything on it, including the motherboard. I’ve set up many family members with similar x220-230 thinkpads. For the vast majority of use cases (web browsing, video chat, and so on) it’s fine.

                  Buying a new system because Apple or whoever tells you to is incredibly wasteful, and in many cases you “have” to if something breaks because they are not repairable. So I welcome a new class of repairable laptops.

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                    I use hardware on fairly long lifecycles, and it often gets a non-primary use after it falls out of daily driver. By the time I’d need or want a new machine, it’d be seven years, likely. The upgrades you can do to them are pretty slim; for example, the batteries are rarely still manufactured (new means NOS, which doesn’t help as much).

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                  What I want to see is a way to put an ortholinear keyboard into this type of laptop. I’m very excited to see what these people come up with.

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                    The MNT Reform is designed to have the keyboard swapped out. I’m planning on building a column-staggered variant when mine arrives.

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                      Cool! I didn’t know about this

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                      Yeah, it would be really nice to be able to fit an ortho keyboard + trackpoint into a laptop. Maybe there’s even enough space that you could have the keyboard slightly movable.

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                      I like the idea of a modular laptop, but it wouldn’t be the criteria when buying one for me.

                      People around me mostly complain about the missing option to replace the battery. I’m currently using a Thinkpad T470p which is now 3+ years old. The battery of this Thinkpad is still good. It will probably work some more time, just before I am willing to buy a new laptop. This laptop’s battery is easily detachable, but the Thinkpad T470 is also quite heavy, which I don’t like about the device.

                      I know from the past that replacement batteries for old laptops aren’t any good, so I’m not that convinced about the idea to replace the battery. From my work experience, though, I know that it can come in quite handy to detach the laptop’s battery. Sometimes Thinkpads won’t boot up after a firmware update, and the only way to fix this is to disconnect the battery. On modern Thinkpads, one has to open the case, which probably even voids the warranty conditions.

                      What I like about the “Framework” laptop is the screen ratio. If you are a Java developer, you will probably disagree.

                      Framework Computer LLC made the wrong choice about the CPU. They really should have considered AMD instead of Intel. They also will have a hard time keeping up their promised ecosystem. I believe this will be their main problem. Keeping up an ecosystem for a specific device is very expensive. Manufacturers who guarantee a product life cycle of up to 10 years ask quite a lot of money for relatively low-end devices.

                      I think Framework Computer LLC is targetting the wrong customers here. Of course, I can’t speak for everyone, but I believe that most people want a reliable device that works long enough before they are willing to repurchase a new laptop. Most laptops are fulfilling this requirement.

                      What about an outstanding laptop with this 3:2 ratio screen, an excellent keyboard and a touchpad that works similar to the one from the Macbook? With a CPU from AMD that doesn’t eat the battery and is faster than Intel’s. Provide SSD and RAM modules that one can replace or upgrade, and people will buy this (wild assumption).

                      I wish Framework Computer LLC all the best.

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                        Flagged spam, consumer product advertising.

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                          A non-negotiable criteria for laptops for me is a half-decent keyboard, and this really doesn’t look like it. It just looks like a recreation of the old MacBook keyboards with flat keytops. (Touch typing keyboard design requirements is an entire separate digression…)

                          What strikes me though, is the fact that the port “modules” are literally just proprietary dongles that slide into the body and communicate through USB-C. How is this honestly an improvement over using a dongle or two? It’s certainly not relevant if you’re using a USB-C dock. This modular port feature seems more a gimmick than anything useful.

                          Also, the repairability angle is neat, but the fact that batteries are not swappable without a screwdriver and removing the entire underside, is a major detraction. One of the benefits of having hot-swappable batteries in a ThinkPad (due to the internal 2-cell battery) means you’re truly wireless 24/7 as one battery charges while the other is in use.

                          So, why would I honestly buy one of these over a ThinkPad?

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                            dongles

                            Having a different and larger cut-out in the chassis means that you could keep using the chassis and have useful ports even if the USB-C form-factor becomes obsolete. I think it’s a bit nicer to have your dongles actually inside the laptop, too.

                            I would consider this over a thinkpad if it were more sustainable and/or I could get an ortholinear keyboard with trackpoint on it.

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                              If the form factor becomes obsolete, the signalling likely will too.

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                                Yep, but keeping the chassis and replacing your dongles and mainboard is better than replacing all three.

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                            This is very interesting and might be my next laptop. Being able to configure your machine’s ports is pretty clever - you can just pick your port configuration, and maybe quickly swap in say an HDMI port or whatever if you’re slated to give a presentation that day.

                            Keyboard looks like it won’t be total crap provided the keycaps aren’t flimsy. Having a solid base and decent keycaps is almost as important as the switches themselves.

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                              so, do we finally have a Mac book replacement?

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                                No