New Launches

All new Open Source Configurable Keyboard called Launch by System76

Works on Linux, Windows and macOS. Made in Colorado not China!

System76 is well known for manufacturing Linux-based operating systems. The company’s laptops and desktops can be had with your choice of the popular Ubuntu or the company’s own Ubuntu-based PopOS. For many years now, System76 has been a huge proponent of both the Linux and open source communities. Quite frankly, Linux users all over the world are very lucky to have System76 computers as an option. The company officially unveils its newest product the “Launch Configurable Keyboard.”

Structure of this Keyboard

System76 a small company of amazing creators, making innovative technology tools in a unique way. As mentioned System76, launched a Open Souce Launch Configurable Keyboard which runs and is supported by major Operating softwares that includes Linux, Windows and macOS. This configuration are completely focused on open source. Launch comes with additional keycaps and a convenient keycap puller, meaning one can swap keys based on personal workflow preferences to maximize efficiency.

This keyboard is a mechanical keyboard developed in USA. The material “metal chassis” used are typically made from stamped sheet metal i.e solid block of aluminium, which is much cheaper to produce. The Launch supports both open source QMK firmware, hardware and an integrated hub. The PCB design is individually addressable RGB LED backlighting, N-Key Rollover. The layout of keyboard is based on ANSI US QWERTY. Updates can only be initiated by the user, and are available through PopOS firmware settings and LVFS. When your firmware is updated, your keyboard LEDs will flash UNLOCKED, notifying you that the firmware as been updated successfully. The Launch Keyboard has variants key sizes, making it difficult to get matching replacement keycaps. Split spacebars are now common in the custom keyboard scene though.

According to System76 makers, “By default, Launch has two layers configured. Layer 1 has the layout seen on the keycaps. Layer 2 helps take advantage of keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the desktop and applications. There are two more additional layers available. If one frequently inputs numbers, for example, Layer 3 can be configured to contain NumPad. For audio editing, one can map all the relevant media keys and audio controls in Layer 4. A user can even map one of the layers to a different layout, like Dvorak or Colemak, and use a special programmable key to toggle the layer on and off.”

Some Unique Features

Launch keyboard maximize configurability ensures your hands can operate entirely from home row while your fingers rest on soft, textured keys. The keyboard’s thoughtful design keeps everything within reach, vastly reducing awkward hand contortions. Bksp, Shift or Fn to your Space Bar for quick and comfortable thumb access without altering your existing habits. Launch is 100% open source, first product compatible with Linux, Windows, and macOS. Keyboard design files are readily available for anyone to view, learn from, and modify. The accompanying software configurator has also been made public.

With a tenkeyless layout, your mouse is only a short hand movement away.

Place control back into your hands. Remap keys, swap keycaps, and configure multiple layers to your liking. Launch uses only three keycap sizes to vastly expand your configuration options. Included key puller makes pop and place keys easy to place according to user choice. Extra keycaps are provided in different sizes, contours, and red and blue accent colors. Launch also as an amazing backlit look with stunning multilayer functionality. This supports personalized application shortcuts, adjusting hardware functions, non-QWERTY layouts.

Launch features a “metal chassis” milled out of a solid block of aluminum, with custom PCB and rubber feet stabilize the metal and prevent it from moving around on your desk. Type flat or add the magnetic foot for a 15% incline. It’s designed, engineered, and manufactured in Denver by a team of very particular keyboard enthusiasts. After testing various configurations, they enjoyed and approved the final product unanimously. Launch as unique replay features with brilliant soothing LEDs. These LEDs cycles through various light patterns and a large RGB color spectrum. Stare too long, however, and you’ll succumb to the hypnotic trance of the gentle glow.

Now to mention regarding to transferring data. For maximum transfer speed, Launch must be plugged into a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port on your computer. Estimate based on maximum potential data transfer speed. Apart from central USB-C port for connecting to your system, Launch also features two high-speed USB-C and USB-A ports. This transfers 1TB of video footage in 15 minutes. You get to choose your sound effect to bet fit for work environment. Royal switches offer a muted clack for those who video conference frequently, while Jade switches produce an addictive click. Both this provides an excellent tactile feel without being overly heavy. Launch works with PopOS Keyboard Navigation to launch applications, organize tiled windows and workspaces, browse the web, and more, all without touching your mouse.

For more on PopOS, click here.


The current keyboard model with a removable USB-C cable for connectivity is fairly priced at $285 only.

To conclude, if you seek a good functional keyboard or if the geek inside you wish to enjoy some playful cleverness, you can deploy fun tricks on this programmable keyboard which is not bad at all otherwise too. After all it is from a reliable manufacturer and a name familiar in the world of open-source GNU/Linux hardware community.

Info credits : System76

Manish Gehlot

I am a privacy, security, encryption and software freedom enthusiast. I am into VPNs, TLS security. Recently I also got into technical writings including guides.

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