LibreTrend - My Vision of Free Software

36 Antworten [Letzter Beitrag]
aliasbody
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Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

LibreTrend - My Vision of Free Software

Hello Everyone,

A long time as passed since the last time I've posted anything on this Forum, and I have to say that, looking at the news about the new Trisquel Gnu/Linux being in work (and after testing it) I have to say that the future of Trisquel Gnu/Linux brings some cool stuff to us Free Software (and Trisquel Gnu/Linux) enthusiasts.

With this in mind I wanted to quickly talk about my project.

For the ones who remember, my first post on this forum (17 September of 2012, Titled - https://trisquel.info/en/forum/just-question-all-free-software-users-student) was about my problem to only use Free Software as a student here in my home country (Portugal), I contacted RMS and then posted the email on this Forum in order for anyone to tell me, if possible, what I could possibly do beside the opinion given by RMS itself. I have received a lot of answer, my post is still one of the most commented on this forum (in the 15th position), and I want to thank you all for this.
I've been taking my time to understand Trisquel Gnu/Linux, understand better what is Free Software and why it is so important, and to do that I've been using Trisquel Gnu/Linux as a "bridge of knowledge" between what I know and what the community know that I don't.

With this in mind I've created a company called LibreTrend dedicated only to Free Software with the final goal to produce Hardware and Software of any kind (including external development and support) only using (and with the goal to provide exclusively) Free Software.

So I've start searching how business work here, how they work with software, what is the mentality towards Free Software... And finally, where Free Software can be implemented in order to help them.

And this is why I've developed the first LibreTrend product, the LibreBox.

The LibreBox is a small (20x20x4 cm) and beautiful (fully black alloy) computer dedicated 100% to Free Software. Every piece of hardware as been chosen to be used with a Free Software OS.

This is the work I've been doing since I carefully read all of your comments, all of you opinions, not only in my Topic but also in the forum in general, this is what gave me the strength to do it, that Free Software strength which runs on this Forum's veins.

I am established in my country as a seller, but now I am launching online, and to start well I want to give you, the Community and Trisquel Gnu/Linux itself, a gift. I know that this doesn't look like a huge gift but it is the best I can do for now.

My gift is the following, every user of the Forum Trisquel Gnu/Linux, who see this posts and uses the COUPON on the bottom to purchase, will have a 6% discount on the Computer final price (not including shipping). This discount will be applied to your order and the value will be reversed as a donation to Trisquel Gnu/Linux. This COUPON is valid for 10 individuals purchases which mean that this can't be used twice by the same person, if the request is high I'll create a new COUPON with a greater discount and a bigger quantity.

This is my humble way to say thank you !

Once again thank you, everyone, for everything. And if you have any questions or comments please let me know here :)

Best Regards,
Luis Da Costa

WEBSITE : https://www.libretrend.com
COUPON : LTDTRISQ14

How to Use the Coupon:
----------------------
When you are ready to buy. Just click on the cart in the TOP and then on "View Cart", you'll then see an option to enter the coupon saying "Use Coupon Code". Just click on it and enter the COUPON. If COUPONS are still available then you'll see the price change, after this just click on "Checkout" and finish the order.

Magic Banana

I am a member!

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Beigetreten: 07/24/2010

I wish you a lot of success!

A question you will definitely have to answer (you had better write the answer on the website): Is the BIOS free software? I believe the answer is "no" given Intel's attitude towards coreboot... and I understand that Intel's graphics is what is best supported by Linux-libre, hence the choice.

Is the choice of an older CPU really justified by Secure Boot? I mean: as long as it lets you install a free operating system (and one even comes installed by default), what is the problem?

Technologies in Intel vPro such as TXT ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trusted_Execution_Technology ) and AMT ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Active_Management_Technology ) are to be avoided but you can still find i7 processors without them.

aliasbody
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Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello Magic Banana, Thank you for your support :)

I think you are right about adding this information on the website, and I will do it today if possible.

So to answer your questions :
Q: Is the BIOS Proprietary ?
A: Yes the BIOS is proprietary. But I am already working with the manufacturer in order to release it to me in order to make a Coreboot out of the sources (of what is possible of course).

Q: Why choosing Intel GPU instead of others.
A: There was better choices of chips but knowing that the AMD GPU don't provide a free Firmware for Gnu/Linux I had to choose Intel.

Q: Is the choice of an older CPU really justified by Secure Boot.
A: It is not only about Secure Boot. There are a lot of questions I had to ask myself before making the choice of this processor. Here is the thing, with all the security problems behind the new Intel GPU, and knowing that I can't use AMD in this type of system because of the blobs, I really had a difficult choice in finding the good hardware. Plus, with this manufacturer I have two good conditions I couldn't find with any other :

1 - The possibility to have the source code of the BIOS, and since Google had already done a lot of work in their computing with CPU's of the same family has the 1037U, it would make my life easier.

2 - I am planning on designing a computer 100% Free from Bios to OS, and that would be by using a MIPS CPU. But as you may already know, this isn't perfect right now, and I don't have the financial possibility to do it as well. And this was the best approach I've found to achieve my goal. I already talked to Ruben about the idea of providing some good things to Trisquel itself, and this is what I still want to do. I am developing a new DE/Shell with a new kind of User Experience, and that kind of computer would provide enough power to make this dream come true in as many computers and different hardware as possible (from Low-End to High-End). So being able to provide a chip but powerfull computer with this Free Software experience (even without my DE/Shell) would be perfect.

Of course I may in the future come with more powerfull CPU's, but for now I am playing everything on this one. My goal for now is being able to provide the same product but cheaper, but it isn't possible right now.

I think I've answered everyone of you questions. If not please let me know.

Michał Masłowski

I am a member!

I am a translator!

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Beigetreten: 05/15/2010

Interesting choice, seeing the comment about it being older I expected a
pre-Nehalem CPU, not Sandy Bridge.

Why MIPS and not ARM for future products?

aliasbody
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Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello Michał Masłowski :)

Answering your question :

Q: Why MIPS and not ARM for future products ?
A: That is a good question. To be honest I didn't looked to much into ARM products for two reasons :

1 - For some reason I see MIPS more close to the actual architectures of our modern computer than ARM. And yes I know how this isn't right.

2 - MIPS as a well known support to Free Software thanks to the work (not exclusively) of Lemote. Because of this I think that there is a lot of work that can be done using this same base, and a lot of this work could be good for the Free Software community. Having a set of devices running on the same base, which already works only with Free Software, could be a good bet for future products using Free Software exclusively.

But I haven't forgot ARM, and when the times comes I will see what is the best on this field to everyone. For now the only thing I can do is focus on what is already here : The LibreBox :)

I hope I answered your questions well :)

Michał Masłowski

I am a member!

I am a translator!

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Beigetreten: 05/15/2010

Lemote support is relevant if you can get Loongson CPUs and want their
outdated distros. Projects like WebKit and Mozilla have much more
support for ARM and there are now standard SIMD instruction sets
supported on ARM: there is existing video acceleration on CPU, while
it's mostly missing on MIPS or supports only CPU extensions that
Loongson doesn't have.

For ARM there are many cheap development boards (single board computers)
and many big companies contributing code for use in Android. GPU blobs
will be an issue unless you choose some specific ARM chips with free
reverse engineered drivers (or future Loongson CPUs which could use
them).

aliasbody
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Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Well ARM have the same problem as MIPS but with better support. The problem will always continue to be the GPU, even with the new Loongson CPU's with a better (existent at least) GPU Support it isn't free at all. Is is true that this is an explorable field for Free Software, but there are too many things blocking the way (mostly Blobs).

I don't think it is impossible, but it need a further look at it. I think I will need to "waste" more time looking at both of them and looking at what is proposed in the ARM world right know. Personally I think that MIPS has a great future if it is improved and if it is oriented to Free Software, not only would this help the image of that almost unknown CPU but would also raise the search for it (which would provide better support and better features.

As for the outdated OS, I don't think this is an issue, Free Software is always Free Software, and it is easier to "solve" by changing and updating an old OS which is Free rather than a new which isn't. But that's another point.

quantumgravity
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Beigetreten: 04/22/2013

Hello Luis,

first of all, I want to express my respect for what you did. Not only changing the university but also creating a company based on the idea of free software are tough decisions.
I wish you the best of luck for your project and I'm really glad to see some competition in the hardware-for-free-software sector going on (don't want to call it "free hardware" since that's ambiguous). Sure, we have ThinkPinguin and they're doing a great job, but if we want the free software movement to grow then we need a healthy market instead of one company.

I really hope that you succeed in freeing the bios and providing a modern (!) computer which can be used 100% in freedom. As you know, we don't have something like that at the moment and the whole community is waiting eagerly for such a product.

Just one remark on the list of plans on your about-us page:
In my view there is a huge gradient concerning the urgency of those projects for the free software world.
Your plans concerning hardware are damn important, no doubt about that.
I also respect your dream of a new desktop environment and of course you're free to create it, but be aware that there exists a huge amount of excellent free-software DEs already.
Maybe you want to spend your time first on other points.
Anyway, good luck.

aliasbody
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Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello quantumgravity,

Thank you for your support :)

I am trying to do my best with what I can. Here in Portugal Free Software is almost non existent, and trying to work and provide good services under those conditions is really hard (and this without mention all of the crises histories which everyone seen on the news cutting everything from everywhere).

My dream was a fully free software computer with the BIOS also free software as a final product, but I quickly noticed that something like that required more than knowledge, it required a huge financial need just for testing (I am not even talking about commercialization). The good news is that I only have the plans, I only have the tools, I just need more time and a growing company in order to be able to only sell computers with Free Software everywhere even on the BIOS (and why not using Intel modern CPU's like Intel i3, i5 or i7... but for now it just a dream.

What I have in my hands is a beautiful piece of hardware with high possibilities to become Free Software and I will do everything I can to make it possible.

As for ThinkPenguin, I already had the pleasure to talk directly to Chris (via email), I asked him for advises because I knew that, no one better than him would know how this "market" (if we can call this a market) works, and he gave me a lot of helpful advises. Starting everything from my own, and seeing with my own eyes the difficulty of running a business like this in a world like this make me understand how hard it is to anyone, even to him with the know-how that he has, to create and distribute a computer with a Free Bios and commercialize it.

I make those plans because this is something I am already working on on my spare time. For me the Free Bios is the top 1 goal for now, but I don't have the perfect knowledge to make it work on my own, if I had it maybe things would be different.

The problem for now is only that this company don't run alone, I have a full time job, but things may change quickly, when this time arrives, this goal may be closer than I thought.

onetechbuddy
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Beigetreten: 05/26/2014

All the best Luiz.

aliasbody
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Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello onetechbuddy,

Thank you for your support :) Just one thing, my name is Luis with an "S" and not with an "Z". But no problem !

Sachin
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Beigetreten: 06/02/2012

What you are doing is awesome!

aliasbody
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Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello Sachin,

Thank you for your support :)

ADFENO
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Beigetreten: 12/31/2012

Thank you very much for your effort Luis.

I'm from Brazil, and the free software movement doesn't have
much popularity here. Some people can tall me that I'm wrong,
but I don't think so by seeing the majority of people actually
using or advertising non-free operating systems or non-free
software like GNU+Linux Ubuntu, GNU+Linux Debian, GNU+Linux
Educacional, GNU+Linux RedHat Enterprise, GNU+Linux Fedora, and
so on.

Well, this just makes me uncomfortable with the situation, this
uncomfortable feeling started in 2013, when I attended an event
called Festival Latino-americano de Instalação de Software Livre
("Latin American free software installation festival", in
Brazilian Portuguese), since I soon found out that it wasn't
about free software, but about open source software. This also
happens with other popular events related to the open source
software movement, like the Fórum Internacional de Software
Livre ("international forum for free software", in Brazilian
Portuguese).

Even Portal Software Livre ("free software portal", in Brazilian
Portuguese), which is a site from the Brazillian Government,
sometimes promotes the use of non-free software.

Also there is a site called Software Livre Brasil ("free
software Brazil", in Brazilian Portuguese) which serves as some
kind of social network where users can join communities, receive
certificates, post blog entries and so on. Even this site
appears to promote non-free software. Doing a search one can
find communities for some free operating systems, but they're
apparently dead, including the one about the Linux-libre kernel.
I created an account there, but removed it some months later
after finding that out.

And then we have the magazines, Espírito Livre ("free spirit",
in Brazilian Portuguese") is, perhaps, the most popular magazine
about the open source software movement.

Actually, I'm not the only one who noticed such problems (the
ones described in the previous paragraphs), there are some
people like Aracele Torres, Anahuac de Paula Gil, Alexandre
Oliva and many others that I forgot unintentionally, that also
noticed such problems. Unfortunately, I don't know them very
well, not even did I meet them personally, in order to think
about creating a company which promotes or uses only free
software, or to start a project or event. Besides, I live too
far from them, and I don't even have money to attend other
events besides Festival Latino-americano de Instalação de
Software Livre (I didn't even attend Fórum Internacional de
Software Livre yet)

Only considering forums and mailing lists for the free software
movement, I'm only subscribed to most of the mailing lists at
Free Software Latin America, in this mailing list, in the
Minetest forums, and in this forum. That's all, because the
others aren't reliable per see.

Then there is the job market, where I'm struggling to get my
first job, but find myself blocked by annoying requirements such
as a driver's license (which I cannot have because I'm almost
visually impaired due to other minor cerebral problem),
programming knowledge (I don't like to program, sorry),
Photoshop, Windows, Corel DRAW, Adobe Flash Professional,
Microsoft Office, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe
FrontPage, and so on. I do have certificates for most of these,
but I don't feel confortable knowing that it's been five years
since I received most of them, and I don't feel confortable
mainly because I don't like to use a non-free program just for
the sake of my stay at work.

Then, back to the population as a whole, no matter how hard I
try, most people don't listen to me when I explain the four
essential freedoms every software user should have. I do have
some successful cases like my aunt and my uncle who have
GNU+Linux-libre Trisquel 6.0 installed in their computers, plus
my lifetime support and my not-so-periodic system maintenance
and update, an installation CD and a letter explaining the
importance of free software, and, in the same letter, the
link/URI to download the CD source code. I also explained the
importance of the four essential freedoms to my cousin, and even
did the same things I did to my aunt's notebook and my uncle's
computer (upon her request of course), but since she's going to
sell her notebook, and I didn't get the time to speak with her
personally, I don't know if she likes it or not.

I can't open a company because I don't have a job, so I don't
have a cash income. And no, I'm not good at practical jobs like
driving, cooking, waiting, laundry, and so on.

Well, this is it. I hope some other Brazilian reads this.

Best regards, ADFENO.
Have a nice day.

--
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postagens, ou meus comentários; isto significa que estes foram
enviados por terceiros.

Automatic signature – North American English:
– Blog: http://adfeno.wordpress.com/
– Please do not send me Microsoft Office or Apple iWork
documents. Instead, send OpenDocument documents!
http://fsf.org/campaigns/opendocument/
– If I don't wish you a nice day in my emails, my posts, or my
comments; this means that these were sent by third parties.

quiliro@congresolibre.org
Offline
Beigetreten: 10/28/2010

Dear Adfeno and Luis:

Congratulations for your defense of freedom. I can see both of you are
young and looking for ways to make your activism sustainable. If you
want to make it sustainable, you need to find the people that need what
you can offer them. You have to describe that person as if it was only
one person with particular details. Then you will know how to approach
them. They will be the ones that need you and you will not be accepted
by relatives just because they want to help you. You can provide
something useful. It is not needed to just give it to those that receive
it because they want to help you but because you can help them.

--
Saludos libres,
Quiliro Ordóñez
600 8579

quiliro@congresolibre.org
Offline
Beigetreten: 10/28/2010

Dear Adfeno and Luis:

Congratulations for your defense of freedom. I can see both of you are
young and looking for ways to make your activism sustainable. If you
want to make it sustainable, you need to find the people that need what
you can offer them. You have to describe that person as if it was only
one person with particular details. Then you will know how to approach
them. They will be the ones that need you and you will not be accepted
by relatives just because they want to help you. You can provide
something useful. It is not needed to just give it to those that receive
it because they want to help you but because you can help them.

--
Saludos libres,
Quiliro Ordóñez
600 8579

quiliro@congresolibre.org
Offline
Beigetreten: 10/28/2010

Dear Adfeno and Luis:

Congratulations for your defense of freedom. I can see both of you are
young and looking for ways to make your activism sustainable. If you
want to make it sustainable, you need to find the people that need what
you can offer them. You have to describe that person as if it was only
one person with particular details. Then you will know how to approach
them. They will be the ones that need you and you will not be accepted
by relatives just because they want to help you. You can provide
something useful. It is not needed to just give it to those that receive
it because they want to help you but because you can help them.

--
Saludos libres,
Quiliro Ordóñez
600 8579

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello name at domain,

Thank you for your support :)

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello ADFENO,

Thank you for all your support ! I understand what you feel and I understand how hard it is to try to make people change to Free Software, or even simply considerate it as an option. But has "name at domain" said it very well, the problem is that we (Free Software enthusiast) are promoting Free Software for what we believe is good for us, but what is good for us may not be good for them.

What I meant to say is not that some people are good without Free Software, far from that, what I'm saying is that some of our tools Free alternative tools may not fit the needs of everyone, and this is why we need not only to spread the word but also make things work as people wanted them to work (and even better). And then, when tools are comparable, people will see the true benefits of Free Software and will stop using the other non-free alternative.

Doing this is a hard job, and it becomes harder and harder if we are alone. All my life people said that 1 person is not enough to change the world, but I honestly think they are wrong and I want to prove it, at least to myself.

As for the Brazilian side of the question, I have to admit, I always thought that Brazil was a paradise for Free Software, but reading your text may me think that maybe the situation isn't as different as here, maybe I am just looking at invisible obstacles.

I think that if you can provide anything for the Free Software community, and if you really believe in it then you should do it, and I am saying this to you as the same title as anyone in this Forum reading this right now ! Take something you are good at, look at how you can help Free Software out of that skill, and then provide the same thing to outsiders, make them realize how much they need what you provide and how much Free Software will help them. May this be by writing documents/articles, making software, making design, creating physical objects and so on using only Free Software.

This is what I did, and this is what everyone should be doing. I may fail in the progress, but I won't be done trying until I realize my final goal which is : To have a full bumble of devices running only Free Software from the Bios to the video you look on the Internet or the games you play.

Other than that (and even knowing I am speaking English instead of Portuguese in order for non-portuguese people to understand) if you need anything please contact me at anytime (the same for anyone else, if I can help in anyway let me know).

PS : For Portuguese readers, I've been interviewed a while ago by one of the biggest Portuguese websites dedicated to Technology in general, and I made this article about Free Software, it may be interesting to read :

http://pplware.sapo.pt/pessoal/informatica/a-importancia-do-software-livre-no-mundo-de-hoje/

Best Regards,
Luis Da Costa

tkm625
Offline
Beigetreten: 08/06/2014

Does the LibreBox have any way of adding a graphics card, or is it stuck with Intel HD Graphics 2000 forever?

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello tkm625,

Good question. Well for now it isn't possible to change the CPU nor the GPU. I have plans for the future to provide a version with a changeable CPU/GPU but for now, because of the size of the LibreBox, it is quite difficult to make it fit everything there.

Jabjabs
Offline
Beigetreten: 07/05/2014

Wow, not only is the freedom of this product very cool indeed - it looks amazing! Like high end audio equipment. That is always a good combo to have.

Time to spread the word on this (it is in my email signature already) as the market for freedom respecting hardware is a very difficult to come across. I understand that it is very difficult to get a free bios/firmware based system as well but at least it is on your road map for future development.

As for the MIPS/ARM debate, it is always difficult to decide on ISA's. It really is better based on the surrounding infrastructure than just the processor itself. The problem is finding a free ARM firmware might still be a big request. MIPS might just become a standard because it is already ready for use.

On the up side if you do go MIPS and potentially use the Loongson processor, you will practically be the only one that can deliver that product in the field while being easily accessible.

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello Jabjabs,

Thank you for your support :)

The Free BIOS is on the RoadMap, I wish this first LibreBox will have this Free Bios, if not this one the next model, but there will be in the near future a Free Bios, and then the LibreBox name will fit this beautiful computer perfectly :D

Exactly as you said, the great thing about MIPS is that there are already Free Software Bios for it so working with it would be much easier as a start. The problem here is really the GPU, where in order to only use a Free Bios, or we choose to not include it (like the first Lemote netbook) or we will have to make a Free Firmware out of it. But I think that everything is possible with a lot of work.

Let's see what the future brings to the LibreBox :)

lembas
Offline
Beigetreten: 05/13/2010

Great news, congratulations!

On the practical side though, as a JavaScript fearing luddite, I only see the scroller spinning for ever and ever and ever, no products. Also, the about page is 404 and the contact form doesn't work either but claims the CAPTCHA was wrong. Additionally you should mark the required fields in the contact form, usually done with a *.

Stay free!

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello Lembas,

Thank you for your support :)

Yes I have to agree with you. The website is not perfect, I need to make it from scratch but I don't have the time for now with so many projects (and my full-time work).

I'll try to solve this as soon as possible, but I'll resolve the 404 problem in the next days.

As for the Contact form. It is weird that you have this problem. I've tried it with Javascript enabled and disabled and it worked perfectly. Could you try it again please ?

GustavoCM

I am a member!

Offline
Beigetreten: 11/20/2012

As for the Contact form. It is weird that you have this problem. I've tried it with Javascript enabled and disabled and it worked perfectly. Could you try it again please?

... Cookies?

(Congratulations, Luis! I hope you succeed.)

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello GustavoCM,

Thank you for your support :)

lembas
Offline
Beigetreten: 05/13/2010

Oh, does the CAPTCHA use google services? I have the dirty big G in my hosts file. Probably unlike most people. Still if that's the case, some other arrangement could be better. If not, sorry for the wild goose chase.

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

I don't think it uses Google Services. If it isn't still working please let me know your config (OS, Browser, Configuration etc..) and I'll try to see what is happening :S

lembas
Offline
Beigetreten: 05/13/2010

Looks like GustavoCM was right, it was because I rejected cookies.

trisq

I am a member!

Offline
Beigetreten: 09/03/2013

Luis,

Great to hear. As to your goal of a free BIOS, when I looked into that almost a year ago, there were more "free" options with ARM processors. None were perfect as I recall, but there is potential and lots of interest in ARM processors in general--a much larger base of developers.

Good luck.

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello Trisq,

Thank you for your support. Indeed this is something I really need to have a look at. With so many choices and with a lot of work I think that making everything free shouldn't be very hard, It just depends on who makes what and with what purpose :)

jbar
Offline
Beigetreten: 01/22/2011

Good to know about LibreTrend.

Thanks for supporting free software and good luck with your new company, aliasbody.

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello jbar,

Thank you for your support :)

__martin__
Offline
Beigetreten: 12/25/2012

Admirable effort Luis! Good luck and fortune in its next stage.

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello _martin_,

Thank you for your support :)

aliasbody
Offline
Beigetreten: 09/14/2012

Hello Everyone,

Just an update for those interested. I've dropped the price into 299,99€ instead of 399,99€ in order to clear the stock since a new product is approaching, with a more powerful CPU and GPU and a new Design :)