Linux Laptops Part 2: Choice Made

This is the follow-up post on Window Shopping for Linux Laptops. I recieved several excellent recommendations from the Fosstodon community that I missed in my original post:

  • Nitrokey NitroPad: A hardened Lenovo ThinkPad that focuses on open source and security. Based in Germany.
  • Slimbook Pro X AMD: 14” aluminum Ryzen processor that nearly checked everything I was looking for. Based in Spain.

When it comes to technology, sometimes I suffer from analysis paralysis. However, after missing a few keystrokes from my faulty laptop keyboard, a decision was made:

Screenshot of Framework Laptop Order

As you can see above, I ordered the DIY version of the framework laptop, choosing to skip the hard drive, RAM, and operating system.

Some considerations on choosing this laptop over the others:

  • Company is in the USA; I don’t doubt that all the companies I looked into provide excellent support, but I don’t want to deal with international shipping, import duties, and long distance support for my primary laptop. I’m sure this consideration would be the inverse for those living over the Europe. You guys should be lucky with the abundant of choices over there.
  • Repairability and Upgradeability; I had many good memories of building and upgrading my tower PC back in high school, and this gives me the chance (hopefully) to do the same on a laptop form factor
  • Less waste; I am only buying the parts that I need; no tossing away the small RAM chip or hard drive immediately upon purchase. If I decide to upgrade the screen or CPU later on, I hope that there’s a viable reseller community of framework users.

That being said, here’s the cons I am accepting from choosing this:

  • Pricing; I could have purchased a complete Dell or even possibly a System76 laptop that came with the hard drive and memory that I chose to skip out.
  • Small ecosystem; outside of a DisplayPort adapter, I picked up pretty much all the available modules available for the framework laptop. There is no ethernet module. The company has announced more modules coming up, and is open sourcing the design so that others can make their own modules.
  • Brand new company; the benefit of this design is banking on future upgradeability, but this is only feasible if the company stays solvent long enough. Otherwise I’m stuck with a boutique computer manufacturer.
  • Not AMD nor Coreboot; I root for the underdog which is why I’ve been an AMD fan. Although there is the promise from the framework development team to implement Coreboot, I doubt this is a priority for them.

Should you get a framework laptop?

I normally stick to proven solutions instead of cutting edge or kickstarter type projects. I used the work “hope” quite a bit on the positives of the system. In essence, this solution seems good enough with what is currently available that I’m willing to take a risk and support a company with values that I relate to.

Not everyone has this luxury; if you are looking for a company with more stability and support I would go with my backup choice of System76. If you’re not in a rush, I would wait for Framework to prove itself and see if everyone is still feeling positive after owning this for 6 months.

That being said, I really do hope to be praising the successes of Framework next year. :-)

Day #18 of #100DaystoOffload