It’s the slowest laptop in the world, but people can’t wait to buy it

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PC enthusiasts flocked to the crowdfunding platform Crowdsupply to support an ongoing campaign for a new, unique laptop: the DTM reform.

In a word, the device promises to be open, customizable, hackable and fully transparent. It is also the only existing laptop that fully meets the standards of the Open Source Hardware Association.

At the time of this writing, 108 backers had committed more than $ 124,600 – well above the original goal of $ 115,000 and with 35 days left in the campaign.

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DTM reform

The project was launched by German company MNT Research GmbH, which has spent the past 18 months trying to build a laptop that embraces the open source ideology, while remaining as practical as possible.

The result is a laptop that costs $ 999 (around £ 820 / AU $ 1,550) and comes, in the minds of early microcomputers, as a kit. If you don't want to pay a premium for assembly, the marketing blurb clearly states that you will need to build the terrain reform yourself from the individual cards, display and housing parts.

The fully assembled model costs $ 1,300 and comes with Debian GNU / Linux 11 on an SD card, a printed operator's manual, and international power (110/230 V), but no Wi-Fi.

An additional $ 200 gives you a 1 TB SSD, a Wi-Fi connection, a mPCIe Wi-Fi card and a personalized black (vegan) Piñatex leather pouch made in Berlin by fashion designer Greta Melnik.

For the price, you'd be forgiven for expecting a laptop with at least a few bells and whistles, but you're wrong. The MNT Reform includes 4 GB of DDR4 memory, an ARM Cortex A53 quad-core processor (similar to the Raspberry Pi 3 processor), a 12.5-inch Full HD screen, five USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port and a mechanical keyboard.

Ultimately, it is not a laptop for the average person and its main target audience will likely be fully aware of its limitations. For standard users looking to maintain their privacy, a business laptop with Windows Hello, a password manager, strong antivirus, and a leading VPN should do the trick.

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