DevTerm is a portable terminal that might just be the perfect cyberdeck for sysadmins and writers too

Originally published at: DevTerm is a portable terminal that might just be the perfect cyberdeck for sysadmins and writers too | Boing Boing


I’m getting more of a Epson HX-20 vibe from this (a good machine for survey work, could be plugged in early electronic theodolites).

Neat machines. Seriously considering the RPI-CM3 now for my birthday list.




Perhaps we can install CollapseOS on it for the complete alternate universe experience


I’ll believe it when they ship. Yes, it at least seems like a plausible device given its resemblance to 1980s portable machines, but this sort of cool gadget has a tendency to be massively crowdfunded and then mysteriously never make it to market (while keeping the funds).

I pre-ordered this last year; they’ve had some shipping problems already and are dealing with more COVID now.

The cautionary notice is that the whole shebang is (and therefore the keyboard is also) EXTREMELY SMALL:

That’s a TRS-80 100 in the background of that image. Sadly, this is once again probably not the Alphasmart replacement you are (and I am) looking for. I’m not sure why new-hardware developers are either married to technology that isn’t anywhere close to ready yet (I’m looking at you, Astrohaus) or miniaturization well past the point of usefulness (that’s you, ClockworkPi).


If this isn’t it, what is the recommended laptop thing for something that just runs a linux terminal for ssh’ing onto a machine that does the real work? I haven’t been able to reason out what would be good. It doesn’t seem like it’s easy to just stick a barebones linux on a chromebook, for example.

Is that a golf pencil? And how many times has it been sharpened?

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Any pencil is a golf pencil if you take it on a nice walk spoiled.


I preördered one the day they announced it. They did bump the shipping date once already, and they only have three days to go before they blow their current “early June” date, but I’m not too worried. I bought their GameShell thingy before, and it was extremely well done, so they should definitely be able to deliver eventually.

Like the GameShell, this is basically a Gakken/Gunpla kit type of thing, (if that has any meaning to you), and I’d buy it for that alone, but I am pretty optimistic that I will enjoy playing with the finished product too. Several of the details directly jab at the reward centers of my brain – particularly the fact that it uses two (hot!-)swappable 18650 batteries like they were AA batteries, the styling, and above all the thermal printer.

Given that Mathematica is available for free on Raspberry Pi (and you can order this with a raspbpi CM3 mainboard, which I have), even if it’s good for nothing else it will be the most amazing calculator that ever lived, for not much more than an HP Prime.

Not that I’m claiming this is a practical thing in any way. But of all the things I’ve bought for fun in the last 10 years I am confident this will be near the top of the list value-wise.


Probably a used ThinkPad.

Or more realistically, just your regular computer, since you’ll end up needing to take it with you anyway.

But I know what you mean, there really should be a dumb terminal with a good keyboard that weighs 300g and lasts 20h on a charge. I think it’s just that whenever someone sets out to make such a thing, the feature creep is irresistible.


chromebooks are popular among security people for this reason.

i think the more recent chromebooks are easier to unlock/replace the bootloader and just run a light-weight linux on, though i haven’t tried it myself. it may still be one of those “well this usually works and probably certainly hardly ever bricks your device, at least not since last year” kind of things, much like android up to and including downloading a shady binary from a forum and trusting it.


there are a lot of options in the “tiny computer” space, but they’re mostly either just thin-ish laptops, or tiny handhelds with poor support even in china let alone here. that said you might find something interesting: Reviews Archives - Liliputing

if anything it’s kind of reminiscent of the bad old days of pc clones in the 90s when no one really knew what they were doing haha.

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I have been happy with the Pinebook Pro. It might be overpowered for JUST sshing, but I’ve found it reliable and good for running a full-screen window manager and a pile of terminals.


I have no idea what the merits of a FPV drone racing faceplate dingus are, but if it’s a hundo to throw the antenna and baseband gaiden in there with virtual keyboards that relate to glancing down and enough AllWinner A53 to compute good, maybe just do that?

Then again my LG V40 just stopped trusting saving files to a Samsung EVO microSD card, so maybe I should just start making 3D printers that print very fine gratings to 300 gram clay tablets and work on firing those. Hold them up to the sun and read very clear Postscript error messages…


Get a recent chromebook, and activate the Linux support that’s already built in. It’s considered to be still in development, but it works very well and will become officially available soon. Every Linux supported app I’ve tried works great, including LibreOffice, GIMP, Audacity, MuseScore, etc. The Android app support works fine too, I there are SSH terminal apps for that as well.


The size is disappointing. It seems to me that the market for this is those that want a real keyboard and are willing to sacrifice to get it. Otherwise just get a tablet.


Here’s a similar product that started on Kickstarter with Pi 4 - ordered ages ago and ships in July

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I wish it wasn’t so darn smol.

I’ve made small keyboards work for me before (made for the PalmPilot), but I’d really go for a full-size keyboard on this sort of concept.


For writers, this looks like a one-way ticket to severe neck pain (as well as likely hand/finger cramps). Staring down at your desk while typing generally isn’t a good idea.