The Forthcoming MNT Reform Laptop Is As Open Source As It Gets

Source: Ars Technica The Forthcoming MNT Reform Laptop Is As Open Source As It Gets

It’s More Than Just A Linux Laptop With No Microphone Nor Camera

The MNT Reform was designed to be as open source as possible, as well as being very user repairable.  The base model ships unassembled, just to give you an idea how much access an owner is given to the hardware and yes, instructions are included.  That also leads to some problems in the design, in order to make it easier for you to assemble the body is significantly thicker than your average laptop is now at 1.57″ thick not to mention 4.2lbs as well.

The hardware might also disappoint some, the NXP/Freescale i.MX8MQ is 1.5GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and the Vivante GC7000Lite is a GPU that is intended for light usage.  They make a good pair as both are very well documented and easier to understand than higher end components.  It also lacks anything like TPM, IME or T2 which is a huge selling point for a certain market.  While this is good for a laptop you intend to flash the chips on or modify the hardware, the performance is perhaps on par with a cellphone from five to ten years ago.

Ars Technica also found the MNT Reform to be a bit flaky, their model included WiFi which likes to randomly disconnect and the system controller on the motherboard both stops responding occasionally and constantly drains the battery even when the system is powered off.

If you love to tinker, the MNT Reform would be a great thing to have.  It has a lot to teach it’s user about how hardware works and is designed with that in mind.  The laptop would also be great for an expert who has specific modifications in mind for it. That does bring up one final problem, the base model is a $1,299 DIY kit, sans touchpad, WiFi, antenna and internal M.2 SSD all of which will add to the cost of your purchase.

It's a crowdfunded, developed-in-the-open, extensively documented device that cares more about being open than it cares about literally any other aspect of the computing experience. Perhaps predictably, this makes for a laptop that is ideologically pure but functionally compromised.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

1 Comment

  1. Thomas S

    It’s neat, but it’s a very hard sell over something like Pine64’s PineBook Pro, especially at a price like that.


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