Pop!_OS developer System76 announced plans to make its own, configurable keyboard.
"In our research, we found that spacebars typically, for example, are way too long, which means your strongest digit, your thumb, isn’t very useful. Most of the time you use your pinkie because useful keys are out at the extremities of the keyboard - so we wanted to change that. We wanted a better layout," said System76 CEO Carl Richell.
He also said that configurability is has been a demand from users - having their own unique shortcuts and tools. System76 made all the keys only 3 sizes so theycan be swapped. And the company is also building software that makes it easy to change your configuration and add function layers to suit your needs.
System76 is looking outside the keyboard space for inspiration, citing bespoke tools like Davinci Resolve panels and mice that are purpose-built for CAD work, such as the SpaceMouse Pro 3D mouse.
“We wanted to apply those types of ideas to make a keyboard more useful for everyone,” says Richell.
Auto tiling in the upcoming Pop!_OS 20.04 release is designed to work well with this keyboard. Richell added that the new keyboard will cause less strain on your hands, because instead of using your pinkies, you’ll use your thumbs for common keystrokes and key combinations. Or instead of having to reach very far, keys like backspace can be very easy to reach now.
Most people use either their right or left thumb for the spacebar, but rarely both. So System76 split the spacebar so that you can assign one button to another task if you are one of those people, like shift or backspace.
Also, because the keyboard lacks a number pad, your mouse will be much closer so you won’t need to reach as far when you need to go to the mouse.
The company is aiming for a final release late Summer 2020.