I’m a classically-trained touch typist who uses a Model M keyboard for most of my typing (when my laptop is on a desk) and heavy-use of the Left shift and lack of use of the right shift is my one break from true touch-typing rules.
Trying to pick a laptop keyboard layout that will please everyone is like trying to pick a text editor or distro to please everyone. Laptop keyboards end up being a compromise between a few competing and contradictory demands. For instance, a laptop of this size has to cut off the number pad, which some people are indifferent to and others absolutely demand.
However, it’s amazing how adaptable the human brain (and muscle memory) is. I thought I’d never get used to the weird Fn key placement on Thinkpad keyboards (swapped w/ the Left Ctrl key), at least until I did. And then I thought I’d never get used to “normal” Fn key placement when I switched to Librem laptops, until I did. The same goes for trackpoint vs. touchpad, switching from a tiny Libretto keyboard to a Fujitsu P2110 to a “full size” laptop keyboard. The brain is pretty amazing in its adaptability.
That said, something we do not want to compromise on is keyboard quality as the feel of the keyboard is incredibly important. That’s why we focus on key travel depth and tactile quality even though we are using the island keyboard layout all modern laptops use. Before I worked here I directly compared my personal Librem 13 keyboard to the Thinkpad X230 I had for work. Both had island keyboards but I was pleased to discover the feel of the Librem 13 keyboard was much better.
[edited to add the section on keyboard feel]