Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 13:51

Few days ago I got a news from social media that there is a new laptop brand from San Fransisco, United States coming to the world called Framework. It is a beautiful looking, innovative, high-performance, modular, upgrade-able repair-able laptop offered with either a proprietary operating system or none. Currently it opens preorders in the US with two choices, Regular and Do-It-Yourself editions, configurable at the website. There are already insights about Framework covered by the other websites such as Arstechnica, OMG! Ubuntu, Heise (in Deutsch). I think several important information are still lacking and here's this article to show you them.

Subscribe to UbuntuBuzz Telegram Channel to get article updates.


General Specification

Framework laptop is a x86_64 architecture computer with Intel Core i5 to i7 family processor, 8 to 32 GB memory, 256GB to 1TB storage with NVMe SSD technology, and Iris Xe GPU. Visit the website for full specs of the Regular and the DIY editions. In general, everything in this laptop can be replaced and upgraded with compatible parts (the mainboard is replaceable for example) and they will ship and encourage third-party to manufacture parts for Framework Laptop.

Preorder and Prices

Framework Laptop opens preorders and they will serve customers orders in batches. Regular edition ("Framework Laptop") costs $999 with built-in operating system Windows 10 without option for none. DIY edition ("Framework Laptop DIY Edition") costs $759 with no operating system and costs more with one Windows 10. The price may change over the time.

Framework and GNU/Linux

It does not come with GNU/Linux operating system preinstalled. Buyers must install the operating system themselves if they don't choose Windows 10 preinstalled. Currently, the W10 version price is $999 while the non-OS version price is $756. So it is not the same as Purism Librem, nor System76's, nor Entroware's computers. However, Framework Team opened a poll titled Which Linux distribution do you want to use with Framework laptop? at their community forum everyone can join.



Kill switches, yes. Almost like Librem, Framework is also equipped with two kill switches that are physical toggle buttons to disable camera and microphone (but without the kill switches for networking and bluetooth). However, although ultimately popular, in fact the default operating system offered is widely known for ultimately serious privacy issues everybody can learn here, here, and here.

The Firmware

Framework laptop uses a nonfree BIOS and not the open source Coreboot, not the free software only Libreboot either. While the team say they are working on it, it is still not present at the moment. So it is different to Respects Your Freedom's laptop. However, there are two important information, first is that Framework is registered as a vendor among many other vendors such as Intel, Dell and Lenovo,  in Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) the firmware central for all GNU/Linux distributions; and second is that they say under Privacy section "Our embedded controller firmware is fully open source, and we don’t preload any extra software." The embedded controller firmware (EC) is not the BIOS but something doing the job the OS not doing which is to control keyboard, touchpad and such devices.

They Are Hiring

Looking for a computing job? Framework say they are currently hiring. At the moment, there are 11 positions opened. You can apply now!

A Comment from a Free Software User

To close this overview of Framework, here's my comment. Generally, as a computer user, I think Framework Laptop is a very innovative and can rock the world if successful. Particularly, as a free software community member, I expect a new laptop to be mass produced with free software operating systems preinstalled (and I believe many of you also expected the same) and this expectation currently does not exist in Framework Laptop. As for many experienced users, they can install GNU/Linux or BSD by themselves no problem but for most users it is a tradition and more convenient to buy a laptop preinstalled with OS. However, we can hope in near future Framework Laptop will show its commitment to Free Libre Open Source Software by shipping GNU/Linux preinstalled just like they do with Windows. We all want a new brand to offer Ubuntu Laptop prebuilt as well as Fedora, openSUSE, elementary OS and the other distros. If Framework want examples, there are already Entroware, Tuxedo and Starlabs who do business this way. We already saw the signs to this commitment by their efforts shown in the website and forum. Finally, to Framework Laptop, we wish you success. 

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.