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Linux-ready Launch Heavy is a $300 mechanical keyboard for number crunchers

System76’s $300 Launch Heavy has open source hardware and software, plus a USB hub.

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Prebuilt mechanical keyboards often neglect Linux support. Users frequently report success in getting a mechanical keyboard’s basic functions to work, but many of these peripherals don’t accommodate software for controlling advanced features, like macros, with Linux. Since last year, System76’s Launch keyboard has been trying to address that problem. But number crunchers will be much more interested in the new Launch Heavy.

Released this week, the Launch Heavy is a numpad-equipped version of the 84-key Launch. As detailed in our System76 Launch review, the keyboard is one of the most customizable Linux-focused mechanical keyboards one can find. However, an absent numpad made the Launch an immediate ‘no’ for many. Now, the newly released Launch Heavy is addressing many, but not all, of its smaller counterpart’s shortcomings.

As you can see, the Launch Heavy’s 105 keys aren’t a traditional layout. System76 had its way with the keys to the left of the numpad, getting rid of some completely. But compared to the Launch, the Launch Heavy adds keys above the numpad for media control. Unfortunately, there are still no buttons for controlling the volume out of the box.

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