Laptop keyboards in French, Spanish, Italian, German, ...?

Hello, I’m very interested by Librem laptops, but I’m in Europe, my own language is NOT English, and that’s the case for most people here!
Therefore: when do you plan to deliver Librem laptops with other keyboards than only English?
With “English only” It feels we’re back in 1982 … Do you plan to also sell Apple II, Commodore 64 and Amstrad computers? :wink:
Have a nice day,

Well Purism is a small company ATM so international layout may need to wait a bit, that’s also the big thing that is stopping me from buying a Librem 15 (that and the 7th gen CPU restricted to 2c/4t), but I’m willing to wait for my French layout Librem 15, Librem 11 (don’t care that much about the layout on the 11 since I intend on using it as a sketching computer/tablet, BTW if someone working on the L11 project sees my message an optional magnetic pen would be wonderful) and Librem 5 (well obviously it’s a smartphone so there’s no hardware restriction for that matter).
All I can say is just Wait and See.

PS: The part of your message on Apple II, C64 and Amstrad is a bit harsh buddy, maybe you should make it a bit softer. :wink:

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You used to be able to buy Librems from, which I think may also have had German keyboards at least.

But, it actually seems like they are no longer offered there. Maybe just out of stock - I don’t know.

Purism’s own storefront used to offer DE keyboards on laptops. Did they stop doing that?

I have one of those sensū brushes:

Works great on any capacitive touch screen. The link is to old kikstarter, but I think they are established product.

I think we should have an own sub-forum for keyboard layouts, as every few days new topics are added.

As a result of a poll, UK and DE was added, but has been removed since. So not even the top voted seem to make economic sense for Purism at this point in time.
International keyboard poll
Keyboard layout poll

But you can still get a DE or UK keyboard, if you don’t require the latest. They are on sale.

They should sell a completely blank keyboard and some way to add yourself the characters you need.

A low profile mechanical keyboard would be a solution for the “primary” layout but would not work with other keys since some languages uses their own characters and since this is a Linux machine we use pretty much every keys on board so that would be troublesome to miss some keys.

The coder-friendly solution to the problem:
Use one of the US-International layouts and memorize the combinations for your favorite accented characters.

In fact, memorize all the caracters and combinations so you don’t have to look.
Learn it once, conquer every keyboard.

Hello, actually I would be ready to wait for a while if it allowed to have the proper keyboard I need in a Librem laptop. That way it would not be needed by Purism to stock keyboards in all supported languages, but to have a solution when ordered. If I’m told to wait a few weeks before delivery to be able to have a French keyboard (in my case) that would be ok, I could buy such a laptop for me and/or for my company. But if I’m told “use an English keyboard, you mor*n!” (it feels like that at the moment!): I’m NOT buying, sorry.

Sorry but I don’t have time to “conquer every keyboards”, my end-users don’t have it either, so we need keyboards we could use on the spot in our own language, elsewhere we don’t buy, that’s quite simple.

I would never say something like that, as I know how painful it is to write in French with a US keyboard. (or pretty much any language that uses more characters than the basic alphabet)
I’m pretty much in the same boat as you, all we can do at the moment is to wait for an official answer from Purism.

ok, ok, sorry I didn’t meant to be rude, but really in 2019 to have to fight to have a proper keyboard with localized languages in a laptop seems to me so anachronical that I can’t believe it, really!

We already tried to explain it’s not arrogance, but due to the small size of the company and minimum order quantities by the manufacturer. Even of the UK and DE models v3, too few were requested to produce them again with v4.

Unfortunately, it is a chicken-n-egg problem. Those who want a FR layout either go away or use US, so no critical mass builds up. Additionally, Purism is not well known in many countries, so there are few requests.

Your best chance would be to contact Purism by mail and say you’d order 20 or 30 laptops for your company if they give you french.
Assuming the minimum order quantity of the manufacturer is 100, Purism would stiĺl sit on 70 devices and hope someone would buy them.

A more convenient way would be if Purism could open like preorder-campaigns for several layouts, like “25 devices with FR layouts have been pre-ordered. Production will be scheduled when 75 orders have been placed”
What do you think, @mladen, @jeff?

Why not just having a price and delivery delay slightly increased when a laptop is ordered with a keyboard layout which is not US? That would be acceptable. I don’t believe non-US keyboards needs to be stocked, they just need to be ordered by Purism when necessary for non-US customers. Only high sellers like Dell/HP and the likes can have stocks of many layouts as they know they will sell. I don’t expect a small but interesting player like Purism to stock zillions of different keyboards. But if they plan to sell one day outside of the US world (Europe, Asia, …) they have to be able to offer non-US keyboards with computers they sell. Elsewhere, they won’t sell, period.

Not ideal, but could someone 3D print the keycaps they need? Forgive my ignorance if that is actually not possible, it just seems like a potential alternative. And if it works could be a way for the community to fill a void until the demand grows enough for a first party solution to be cost effective.


@patrox, why is it so hard for you to understand?

  • Competition, like System76, does not even bother with non-US layouts
  • Purism DID already sell other layouts (UK, DE), some still for sale
  • Purism cannot even afford to keep three layouts on stock, because of lacking demand! And demand for UK, DE was much bigger than for FR.
  • Purism cannot order you a single FR model, because the manufacturer won’t allow it.
  • The manufacturer will either say: “order at least 100 of each variant” or “each variant costs $3000 initially”, which would mean if they order 10 FR devices, each of them will cost them $300 extra, which you would not be willing to pay. (I paid about +$100 for my DE layout, even though they bulk-ordered it)

Of course you’re right, they can’t (really) expand to Europe without those layouts. But as I said, it’s a chicken-egg-problem. Instead of insisting that they should do it even if they lose money that way, you could try to understand their situation and think about how to change that. As I suggested, find a group of people who will buy one and approach staff directly and see how they respond.

Another possibility is that the Librem 5 will change the whole situation by next year. It could mean that Purism will have a European reseller and becomes more popuplar in Europe. Consequently, the demand for European layouts might rise sufficiently.
Still, that will only work if people directly ask Purism instead of complaining in the community.

If 50 people mail Purism and express their will to buy a French laptop, I’m almost certain they’ll get one.
Frankly speaking, nothing says liberté quite as beautifully as a Librem with a French layout, right? :grinning:

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Hello, I fully understand Purism don’t want to pay and stock useless keyboards with different layouts, but I’m amazed that it may cost so much than $3000 for just having another layout! Aren’t those OEM keyboards standardized? On Alibaba an OEM keyboard for laptop is sold 6US$, whatever the layout, min qty 5 (not 100, even if some manufacturer only sell high volumes, it’s not an obligation to buy to those manufacturers). Of course if the keyboard has been built with special features or interfaces for Librem laptops if can cost way more, I don’t know in that case.
And please, I’m not “complaining”, I just want to point out that without properly layouted keyboards Purism will never be able to sell laptops outside the USA. If they don’t give a damn’ about that, fine, but that’s a pity, I believe they offer good products.
I’ll stop there ! Bye everyone. ¡Hasta luego! :innocent:

On Laptops there isn’t much things that are standard, every manufacturer can do pretty much what they want.

They do care but they can’t do that now, so all you can do is wait.


As explained, they actually give a damn.
A few things you miss with your Alibaba keyboards:

  • the aluminium case of the librem has to be adapted, as it has a hole for each single key
  • those standard ones won’t fit
  • Purism keyboards have a backlight
  • the price of a single keyboard is completely irrelevant, except you order 10,000 instead of 100

The complication is not to buy different parts with the same price. The complication is that the manufacturer will have to assemble different variants and charges money for that service. And that manufacturer doesn’t care if you find that reasonable.

But please don’t blame Purism for how the industry works, while they are working to change how the industry works.