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System76 Teases Their "Virgo" In-House Manufactured Laptop

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  • LinuxTeamster
    replied
    I think this is a great idea, like the rest of you I also am looking forward to the final design and release. Obviously a partnership with Framework would be great and I would love that, it sounds like they also have an idea that they think is at least as good if not better. Think about it, it is highly likely that they would've done some market research and after seeing the success of the Framework and their knowledge of the overlap between the Linux and Right to Repair advocates, they knew that was an option. Furthermore they must know that since Framework has open-sourced as much as they can about the hardware and wiring designs and such, they could easily make parts and/or a system76 version using the same mainboards and other components that would interoperate with the existing Framework ecosystem.
    So the fact that system76 is choosing to make their own design means that they examined all of their options and they decided that this was their best path forward. I for one am really excited about this, not only bc it means another laptop designed for Linux from the ground up, but also bc it means it will be the first laptop made with NO SLAVE LABOR with the possible exception of the chips, ram, etc
    Honestly I am willing to pay a little extra for a laptop made without slave labor and I don't think that it is unreasonable especialy since many people will gladly overpay for anything with an apple logo on it even though apple willingly chooses to use slave labor to make their products

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  • Forge
    replied
    Originally posted by horizonbrave View Post
    I don't need this, we need framework to succeed and I'll rather support that initiative. Extreme fragmentation is not beneficial in this niche market and I'm disappointed by your attempt. We also need a better Gnome not yet another OS imho.
    Literally the next link in my Phoronix feed is about System76 work on Cosmic. That's, you know, 'better Gnome' and 'not yet another OS'.

    Leave a comment:


  • horizonbrave
    replied
    I don't need this, we need framework to succeed and I'll rather support that initiative. Extreme fragmentation is not beneficial in this niche market and I'm disappointed by your attempt. We also need a better Gnome not yet another OS imho.

    Leave a comment:


  • dreamcat4
    replied
    getting back to a who's who of laptop manufacturers....

    I brought up Tongfang earlier on in this thread because they are next biggest (or similar size / bigger now) to CLEVO. So (like clevo) they ship large volumes to a variety of 3rd party and botique makers. Why is this matters? Because also being chinese firm their general approach and attitude to open source drivers (for their hardware) it just generally speaking a bit simpler. Easier to deal with / less proprietary or locked down than the likes of ASUS or Lenovo, Dell, HP and so on.

    For example:

    For some previous models they will be more open about sharing driver source code for pheripherals and things like touchpad, RGB lighting on the keyboard, or overclocking interfaces, other matters. They may still use proprietary hardware chips and BIOS. But they won't go so far out of their way to implement totally proprietary solutions to such things. Preferring to share development to some degree with business partners. And this generally can make things a bit more accessible. While not being totally open, it's still a better situation.

    Why do I bring this up? Well because... system76 is much more low volume / less mainstream category. They will manufacture fewer units and those will be more expensive and so on. While framework is (relatively) higher volume and more like a higher volume ODM.

    However Tongfang represents the more traditional end of this space. That is a more closed alternative to Framework. But yet more mainstream and higher volumes of units. And the only manufacturer who will compete more equally (volume wise and product offering wise) to the mainstream of people who don't care about any of this r2r or open hardware or linux supported stuff. And go out of their way, and are considering between apple, asus, hp, dell.

    I suppose the thing to realize is that for a company like Dell, it probably makes pretty much the whole thing in China anyway. But the design and control of the design (just like apple). Is kept in house and that is the place where they wreak their proprietary tyranny. In the form of fully vertically integrated control over everything involved. Both the software, firmware, selection of which chips, and even down to the chips themselves being special order "not available" part. China factory just dutifully follows the orders under contract.

    The 3rd party ODM model however (tongfang or clevo). Is different in the sense that there are 2 different customer. One is directly the consumer. The other is the regional business partners. Spread all over the world. Who also influence design choices and considerations. For example the partner XMG in Germany, he is nice guy (their product manager). Especially in terms of open-ness about product design decisions, harware based overclocking settings (better unlocked BIOS). Things like this.

    Perhaps the TuxComputer guys (a german outfit) also fall in this business partner category, who work on better linux and drivers support for certain selected laptops (which they sell themselves). So this is already also a bit like the crossover between what system76 is doing, or purism / librum whatever those other guys are called (sorry i forgot now).

    The difference here obviously is that both system76 and framework are all in-house design (not chinese ODM). And control the design in the model like ASUS, Dell etc. But with ethical and good intent, to make a better product that is more consumer friendly in r2r ways, and linux support etc.

    So with all of that said: i come back to my original point that Tongfang should be approached (as Chinese company). They may be receptive to discussions from one or more existing suppliers. And (for example) the chinese government may now be promoting more eco-friendly approaches to be more repairable hardware. Something like that (sorry i do not have specific details to point to on that). But anyhow just generally there is a benefit to engage in a variety of different types of business models. Both small, medium and larger volumes in the market. When the consumer goals are the generally towards the same thing.

    My personal viewpoint, is that it's probably less overall human-work effort to convince an ODM like Tongfang to make a smaller set of changes towards better hardware support. And try to support them in future products to consider those angles amongst long term goals. For product evolution. To ensure that chips used are well documented, availaible as generic (non-custom) parts for 3rd party supply. And to have open source implementation of their drivers. Such that we can look at their windows driver, determine the protocol / memory maps or whatever. And then re-implement in linux side a driver. (which they are not likely to have resources to support themselves). Which (as i alluded to previously) already happened with a previous Tongfang laptop.

    Getting into the weeds, the company (tongfang in this example) needs to keep legal ability and rights to publish their hardware drivers as open source (again, those are for windows platform, but still it matters a lot). And not be bound into some overly restrictive NDAs agreements to use specific chips. Which then prohibits such sharing of that. This is also a difficult area for the electronics industry. Because they are not considering such matters and/or blocking for whatever reason(s). So the efforts of a company like framework really helps. Or that other purism company (that i forget the name - librem). And for things like the uBoot loader, or CoreBoot. Such things.

    What I want to know myself:

    Will AMD be able to help? For example if the AMD cpus gets better coreboot support (for AGESA and stuff, which is across all cpus / mobos). Then can a laptop hardware design that uses a modern AMD cpu be easier in this regard? At least for more open laptop BIOS firmware. (as opposed to an intel laptop with ME / pch chipset). For things like: hardware overclocking support, or undervolting. Or memory overclocking, whatever else. "Advanced bios options" i guess.

    Leave a comment:


  • cjcox
    replied
    Originally posted by pWe00Iri3e7Z9lHOX2Qx View Post

    You don't know their revenue. You don't know their operating profit. You don't know their cash on hand. You literally have zero financial information about System76. And yet you are "pretty confident" in your assessment. The only thing related to fools here is the army of Phoronix armchair quarterbacks who couldn't even explain how the business works that employs them, let alone some other company they have no insider information on.
    Likewise, you know zero about my experience. But you are correct. System76 may be very stealthy. Again, I wish them well on this.

    Leave a comment:


  • mmstick
    replied
    Originally posted by AmericanLocomotive View Post
    The framework lid is made in Taiwan - not Denver. Frankly, I don't even know how framework can sell a solid milled lid like that for $90. Generally consumer electronics markups are typically 100%. So we're talking $45 USD max for them to make that cover. Just the raw aluminum plate stock to make that would cost about $25 here in the U.S. unless you're buying in massive quantities - never mind the milling, and various other bits that framework cover has.

    It's about the complexity of the component. The LCD cover is a large piece of metal, that's very thin, with a lot of very fine details. That inherently makes it difficult to fixture/hold, difficult to program for, and difficult to machine. Then someone has to check all of the important dimensions. Plus, the surface finish of the part is important, since it faces the customer. I've got some background in CNC manufacturing, and in low quantities a piece like that would easily cost upwards of $300.

    Maybe they've got a really great U.S.-based machining partner to drive costs down. But I can't imagine that cover dropping much below $100. Typical machine-shop time in the U.S. bills at $125-150/hr.

    I wish them luck though. I will be super impressed if they can get a machine to market, mostly manufactured in the U.S., for under $2500.
    System76 does its own manufacturing from PCB design to assembly and the OS, and people in the Denver area can request a tour of the facility to see how everything is made. The only involvement with an outside company would be PCB manufacturing and of course purchasing of standard PC components like AMD and Intel boards and CPUs. As previously mentioned, Launch keyboards are milled, coated, and assembled at System76's office warehouse. In-house manufacturing began with the Thelio line of desktops, and expertise from that is directly involved with Launch and Virgo.
    Last edited by mmstick; 06 April 2023, 09:04 AM.

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  • marlock
    replied
    Originally posted by mirmirmir View Post
    It's expensive, inefficient to manufacture, or rather naive, heavy, a small scratch could fry the board. Not gonna hold my breath for it.
    It's a prototype piece... depending on how early in the product design process they are, it doesn't have to be made in the same manufacture process as the final production, does it?

    Leave a comment:


  • Paradigm Shifter
    replied
    Originally posted by castlefox View Post
    Where do you live? More vendors being successful (making money) means that other vendors in your region will most likely need to improve their products/offerings if they want to make more money... IMHO, Framework having better out the box support with Linux is resulting in better support from Intel/AMD. That will result in a benefit to people outside of the regain they are able to sell to.
    Japan.

    Leave a comment:


  • AmericanLocomotive
    replied
    Originally posted by hojjat View Post

    What are you talking about? That lid doesn't cost $300! I bought a CNCed lid for my framework for $90! And it came with extra bits and pieces. And framework isn't a huge company either.
    The framework lid is made in Taiwan - not Denver. Frankly, I don't even know how framework can sell a solid milled lid like that for $90. Generally consumer electronics markups are typically 100%. So we're talking $45 USD max for them to make that cover. Just the raw aluminum plate stock to make that would cost about $25 here in the U.S. unless you're buying in massive quantities - never mind the milling, and various other bits that framework cover has.
    With your logic the launch keyboard should cost twice as much, since it needs a much larger block of aluminum! Plus the switches, the pcb, the design, the programming, the software tool, the usb hub, the key caps, the initial setup and tooling...
    It's about the complexity of the component. The LCD cover is a large piece of metal, that's very thin, with a lot of very fine details. That inherently makes it difficult to fixture/hold, difficult to program for, and difficult to machine. Then someone has to check all of the important dimensions. Plus, the surface finish of the part is important, since it faces the customer. I've got some background in CNC manufacturing, and in low quantities a piece like that would easily cost upwards of $300.

    Maybe they've got a really great U.S.-based machining partner to drive costs down. But I can't imagine that cover dropping much below $100. Typical machine-shop time in the U.S. bills at $125-150/hr.

    I wish them luck though. I will be super impressed if they can get a machine to market, mostly manufactured in the U.S., for under $2500.

    Leave a comment:


  • _ONH_
    replied
    Originally posted by mrjayviper View Post

    Don't want to state the obvious but Apple has a gazillion dollars too
    And they didnt get ther while selling expensive to manufacture devices. They improved the unibody design starting with the first iDevices 2004 and scaled it up to the bigest mac.

    Leave a comment:

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