What you need to know
- The campaign for the GMT Reform laptop recently went live.
- The laptop features open-source hardware and software.
- The laptop lacks microphones or cameras to focus on privacy.
- You can get one for $1,300 through its Crowd Supply campaign.
MNT Research GmbH just launched a campaign on Crowd Supply for laptop that's completely Open Source, the MNT Reform via Tech Radar. The laptop was built to be a "DIY laptop for hacking, customization, and privacy." It protects privacy by not having microphones or cameras, and can be repaired with a single screwdriver, according to MNT Research GmbH. You can order an MNT Reform that's already put together to $1,300 or order one to build yourself for $999.
The MNT Reform is the only laptop to fully comply with the Open Source Hardware Association standards, according to MNT Research GmbH. In its campaign video, its makers highlight how the laptop is "open hardware and fully documented." The drivers, input devices, system controllers, and other components are open source.
In addition to being open source, the MNT Reform is built for simple repairs. MNT Research GmbH shows that it can be taken apart with a single screwdriver. You can also swap out the batteries, as in several cylindrical batteries, which is certainly unique for a laptop. It has eight 18650 battery cells that look like standard batteries.
The makers MNT Reform highlight that it lacks components like a microphone or camera, allowing it to private a more private and "personal" computing experience.
The MNT Reform runs on a quad-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU with 4GB of DDR4 RAM. While it has Wi-Fi, it comes through a PCIe card that can be removed if people prefer to not have wireless internet connectivity.
Keeping up with rest of the laptop's uniqueness, the MNT Reform has a fully mechanical keyboard with 3mm of travel. It looks more like a desktop keyboard, which adds to the device's thickness quite a bit. It also has a trackball and physical buttons as opposed to the smooth trackpads of many laptops available today.
While the MNT Reform is vastly different than many laptops on the market, it feels like a love letter to the open source community. It focuses on being open from hardware to software and is easily repairable. Its campaign went live on May 7, 2020 and it already passed its goal of $115,000. As with all crowd-funded items, you should take the normal precautions if you're interested in ordering a device.