Acer bets big on Linux

Acer has stated that it will be pushing Linux aggressively on its laptops and netbooks. The company is already heavily promoting Linux for its low cost ultra-portable netbook range out later this year, but senior staff have said that Acer will also push Linux on its laptops.

Acer has already started selling Linux in its Media PC business but this should now spread, according to Gianpiero Morbello, vice president of marketing and brand at Acer. "We have shifted towards Linux because of Microsoft," he said. "Microsoft has a lot of power and it is going to be difficult, but we will be working hard to develop the Linux market."

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I think this is a good move on Acer's part, at least for the Linux community. As for Acer itself, I can't really criticize or praise them one way or another because I'd need to do some research to know their current state, and I really don't feel like doing that. :P

All I can say: good luck, Acer. I hope this succeeds! I'm cheering for you, though I wish I knew which distro you were shipping (unless it is a custom distro...)

I like Acer, I bought one of their systems with an Intel Q6600, 2GB and 500GB HDD for $600 about a year ago when Q6600 were beasts. However I think this will draw a limited number of users, most people want the simplicity that comes along with a Windows OS, knowing that all your hardware will be compatible and most software in the market will work, heck Vista was bashed to hell for having some incompatibility issues, most people care about this stuff. The minority that can write their own drivers, or do enough with the software that works on linux and are usually more tech savvy is still a minority and from a business standpoint I see this gaining limited support, kind of like the Dell Linux offerings. Dell still offers some Linux systems but you have to search their site to find them and they're only quite a few compared to their Windows offerings.

Oh noes... another hardware vendor that "sponsor" linux.

Usually they will sell a product with linux because it's cheap it's open

and you still can install a copy of xp.

At least its better to sell a product with linux rather with free-dos.

The only thing I will say about this (because I don't feel like arguing with anyone here) is this: good luck Acer. And note that's a neutral position. I'm not going to take sides. I buy my parts and build my computers then put what OS I want on myself so frankly I don't care.

Acer

Linux could be good for sales I guess. Acers are cheapo systems - without a Windows license they will be like £50 cheaper.

A basic Acer notebook could retail for £149.99... Eesh. That's just scary.

Terrible idea and a losing bet for Acer. When Joe consumer buys a linux box and he tries to do something a normal user does, easily (i.e. play a game or install office) it'll be game over.

Face it, Unix is not anything that will be mainstream. Moreover, the consumer isn't going to want to spend 6 months getting flammed on message boards and a few weeks thereafter of online tutorials Joe user will be able to finally play a DVD.

Why who wants an out of box solution that is compatible with 99% of software on the market and runs the software out of box? Ohhh...I can get access to the source and see how things actually works...compling code R0X0RS. Man, I can't think of anything more I'd like to do on a weekend then to recomplie a Kernel. Whew...man...I just creamed my pants.

Just about everything you have said is false.

First of all Unix != Linux.

Secondly, i am able to play DVD's right out of the box on my Linux distribution.

Thirdly, most Linux distributions come with an office suite pre-installed.
And if not, what could be easier then clicking the "Add\Remove Software" option, clicking an application name, and hitting install?
Much easier then finding and inserting electronic media every time I wish to install something.

Also you do not need to compile a new kernel every time you want to install it, or any software for that matter.
A binary kernel is installed whenever one is obtained through your distributions update software.
I have never HAD to compile a kernel from source.

And you do not have to compile any software with most major Linux distributions if you choose not too.
Binary applications and .rpm files exist for this purpose.

Please get your facts straight before posting meaningless garbage.

(johnathonm said @ #9)
Terrible idea and a losing bet for Acer. When Joe consumer buys a linux box and he tries to do something a normal user does, easily (i.e. play a game or install office) it'll be game over.

Face it, Unix is not anything that will be mainstream. Moreover, the consumer isn't going to want to spend 6 months getting flammed on message boards and a few weeks thereafter of online tutorials Joe user will be able to finally play a DVD.

Why who wants an out of box solution that is compatible with 99% of software on the market and runs the software out of box? Ohhh...I can get access to the source and see how things actually works...compling code R0X0RS. Man, I can't think of anything more I'd like to do on a weekend then to recomplie a Kernel. Whew...man...I just creamed my pants.

Mate, you could do with checking out a computer with Linux pre-installed. You really do not seem to know much about Linux at all. Next time you're in a shop that sells computers that have Linux on them, have a look. Everything you need is there, out of the box. And it's cheaper. And it's faster. And it's more secure. And it's easier to get more software (just tick a box in a list of the 20,000+ free programs that can be found in most repos--it's a no brainer: tick a box and click 'Apply' and your software is downloaded and installed automatically; this is as easy as it can get for any OS). If you want to go through life believing what can only be called lies, that's your business and more power to you. ;)

I have an Asus eeePC that I take with me as it's lighter. It's got Linux on it and does everything out of the box any normal 'joe user' could want. When I'm checking my email or whatever in a cafe or library or somewhere, people always come up to ask what it is: first, they are drawn by the small size of it; second, they are curious about the software. I say: this thing cost me US$400 and yet I can do all I need while away from home. I admit I like a bigger screen for work normally, but the lightweight and fast Linux OS with tons of office, internet, media, etc. software pre-installed on the Asus eeePC makes it so easy anyone can pick it up, turn it on, and get using it productively straight away.

You might want to listen to xcguy87 as he actually seems to know what he's talking about. I know I repeated some of what he said, but I remain amazed at the delusions some people seem to be labouring under with regard to Linux. I have to ask myself: am I reading the words of someone who genuinely doesn't know what he's talking about? Or am I reading the words of a Microsoft shill? Peace

(xcguy87 said @ #9.1)
Just about everything you have said is false.

First of all Unix != Linux.

Secondly, i am able to play DVD's right out of the box on my Linux distribution.

Thirdly, most Linux distributions come with an office suite pre-installed.
And if not, what could be easier then clicking the "Add\Remove Software" option, clicking an application name, and hitting install?
Much easier then finding and inserting electronic media every time I wish to install something.

Also you do not need to compile a new kernel every time you want to install it, or any software for that matter.
A binary kernel is installed whenever one is obtained through your distributions update software.
I have never HAD to compile a kernel from source.

And you do not have to compile any software with most major Linux distributions if you choose not too.
Binary applications and .rpm files exist for this purpose.

Please get your facts straight before posting meaningless garbage.

Retard, see I can shill insults just as fast as you. First, Unix is = Linux. Do your homework and understand that "it r frum system V". Second, you ignored my point about being compatible out of the box with the majority of software - so GFY. Bin, RPM, I am familiar - thanks! So, my facts were on the money.

(James7 said @ #9.2)

Mate, you could do with checking out a computer with Linux pre-installed. You really do not seem to know much about Linux at all. Next time you're in a shop that sells computers that have Linux on them, have a look. Everything you need is there, out of the box. And it's cheaper. And it's faster. And it's more secure. And it's easier to get more software (just tick a box in a list of the 20,000+ free programs that can be found in most repos--it's a no brainer: tick a box and click 'Apply' and your software is downloaded and installed automatically; this is as easy as it can get for any OS). If you want to go through life believing what can only be called lies, that's your business and more power to you. ;)

I have an Asus eeePC that I take with me as it's lighter. It's got Linux on it and does everything out of the box any normal 'joe user' could want. When I'm checking my email or whatever in a cafe or library or somewhere, people always come up to ask what it is: first, they are drawn by the small size of it; second, they are curious about the software. I say: this thing cost me US$400 and yet I can do all I need while away from home. I admit I like a bigger screen for work normally, but the lightweight and fast Linux OS with tons of office, internet, media, etc. software pre-installed on the Asus eeePC makes it so easy anyone can pick it up, turn it on, and get using it productively straight away.

You might want to listen to xcguy87 as he actually seems to know what he's talking about. I know I repeated some of what he said, but I remain amazed at the delusions some people seem to be labouring under with regard to Linux. I have to ask myself: am I reading the words of someone who genuinely doesn't know what he's talking about? Or am I reading the words of a Microsoft shill? Peace :)

Buddy,

XC guy embodies the cult mentality that follows these niche OS's. I understand that the EEE PC can do and run apps similar to windows. However, the point is the consumer doesn't want it. That's why Asus was forced to go back and offer a version with Windows. I have used various flavors of Unix, ran lovely fruity OS's, and bang for the buck I'll take my Windows any day.

P.S. What good are 20,000 programs without real support or consistency in their presentation/installation/etc.

Linux, aside from several architectural differences from mainstream Unix cannot be called Unix until it has been tested and passes The Open Group's certification. So no, Linux is not Unix, even if it originally mimicked Unix and has the same functionality. Just because one operating system appears to act like another, this doesn't make them the same.

And I just wanted you to know that I develop software on the Microsoft platform on a daily basis because it's my job. So I am not just some "Linux cultist" who just goes around saying Linux is better then Windows. I think both operating systems have strong points and weak points.

P.S. What good are 20,000 programs without real support or consistency in their presentation/installation/etc.

What good is 'support' when all they do is tell you to try again with a fresh Windows install, insist you mess up by installing some 3rd party software, keep you on hold for hours just to talk to people who don't know what they're doing.... Or do you mean about the support where they just try and keep their DRM schemes up to date even though they're cracked weeks in advance by pirates anyway? As a desktop user, even on Windows there's better luck googling for an answer than trying to get some official response at a critical moment, and using some 3rd party software to track down your problem or fix it (as an aside: lucky for MS they bought Sysinternals, who were better at doing their job than they are in some cases). Linux distributions have large communities ready to help and in most cases the answer is already there.

In a commercial environment, I'd rather talk to companies and consultants that make their money primarily off of support and who are not just in it to make a 'revenue stream'. Sure, you can get official support for Linux distributions, but you can also get certified independent support from experts.

However, the point is the consumer doesn't want it. That's why Asus was forced to go back and offer a version with Windows.

They were never forced, it was already an option from the beginning. The difference is now Linux is being offered on computers, laptops, and now ultra portables, when it didn't used to. This change is because of consumer demand.

(xcguy87 said @ #9.5)
Linux, aside from several architectural differences from mainstream Unix cannot be called Unix until it has been tested and passes The Open Group's certification. So no, Linux is not Unix, even if it originally mimicked Unix and has the same functionality. Just because one operating system appears to act like another, this doesn't make them the same.

And I just wanted you to know that I develop software on the Microsoft platform on a daily basis because it's my job. So I am not just some "Linux cultist" who just goes around saying Linux is better then Windows. I think both operating systems have strong points and weak points.

I concur, everything has it's place and it's uses.

Let all of you not forget Microsoft Xenix. Which was the first -ix and the first ix to use the microcomputer model (aka the client OS).

Microsoft...started...the...Unix...movement. They folded the POSIX model evolved from XENIX into NT and sold off their Xenix to I believe SCO.

(johnathonm said @ #9.7)
Microsoft...started...the...Unix...movement. They folded the POSIX model evolved from XENIX into NT and sold off their Xenix to I believe SCO.

Actually MS couldn't use the Unix name from AT&T, the same company that MS licensed Version 7 Unix from to make Xenix. POSIX compatibility was implemented in NT at a bare minimum to fulfill a checkbox requirement the government had.

(xcguy87 said @ #9.5)
Linux, aside from several architectural differences from mainstream Unix cannot be called Unix until it has been tested and passes The Open Group's certification. So no, Linux is not Unix, even if it originally mimicked Unix and has the same functionality. Just because one operating system appears to act like another, this doesn't make them the same.

And I just wanted you to know that I develop software on the Microsoft platform on a daily basis because it's my job. So I am not just some "Linux cultist" who just goes around saying Linux is better then Windows. I think both operating systems have strong points and weak points.

Whilst it's technically not Unix, it was completely, 100% based on Unix System V during it's first development under the GNU. Whilst it's grown and changed, it's not wrong to say it's a *nix OS as there are a huge number of similarities between the two with it's foundations firmly rooted as a open sourced, freely-useable re-write of Unix System V.

I am curious to see how this will compare to Dell's short-lived Linux offering.

The key difference in my eyes is that Acer is choosing to do this because they can't get along with Microsoft. Dell chose to do this because they were responding to customer demand. In the end, Dell stopped because customer demand wasn't enough.

Acer is going to have a very difficult time selling their machines to consumers who expect (or in many cases, want) Windows. The market for ~$200 laptops is not that huge. This venture could back-fire if consumers 'learn' that Linux comes on cheap computers and Windows comes on more expensive computers.

I think they are more determined to make their Linux offering work but in the long run they will either be marketing their machines to the Linux crowd (much less demand than the Windows crowd, therefore, smaller market, smaller revenue) or come crawling back to Microsoft (it sells because customers want it).

This is why I like the fact that Linux exists.

Without Linux, Microsoft will be sedentary.

Without Linux, Microsoft will not even bother improving Windows Security
(Which they did, with Windows Vista).

Without Linux, Microsoft will not feel threatened
and may possibly increase the price of its OS even more.
(Which now, they control, with deals like Volume Licensing).

Competition is EPIC WIN for the CONSUMER.


And now, I hope that Google will find its match with Microsoft.
While I still LOVE Google Search,
there some of Google Services that need more work and updating.

For example, I now like MapQuest and Live Maps more than Google Maps!
(Google Maps, which now is being revisted by Google
to improve printable directions like MapQuest,
or comprehensive views like Live Maps.)

*sigh*

Without Linux, Microsoft would have slightly less competition.

With or without Linux, Microsoft is still responsible to it's shareholders. (You know, those people that own a small part of the company). With a responsibility to their shareholders, Microsoft has no choice but to innovate, invent, and improve their products and services. If they don't they will disappoint shareholders which starts a downward spiral of losing shareholders which in turn reduces Microsoft's value which makes is less attractive to invest in, and the cycle continues.

If you think Microsoft got to where it is today by sitting around not improving anything then you need a serious history lesson.

I think you got that wrong... Shareholders want MS to increase revenue. It's competition that forces MS to improve. If there was no competition, and shareholders were the only thing to worry about, MS would find ways to cut back on development while increasing profit margins. They wouldn't have to develop a better product, there would be nothing else viable for the consumer and they would be locked in to whatever MS decides.

(HalcyonX12 said @ #6.2)
...
Shareholders want MS to increase revenue. It's competition that forces MS to improve. If there was no competition, and shareholders were the only thing to worry about, MS would find ways to cut back on development while increasing profit margins.
...
Man, that sounds eerily like what happened with IE.

"Microsoft's operating system typically costs around £50 per unit," said David Drummond, UK managing director at Acer. "On a £1,000 PC that is peanuts, but on a £200 computer it is a major issue."

That statement from Acer again implies that it's still only the low-end / cheap PC's. If that's the case then all it's really going to do is make it look to Joe Average that Windows is the more powerful "premium" platform compared to Linux. The same way that a Mercedes or Jaguar is more expensive than a Ford which gives the impression of quality. For the sake of £50 most people would want the Jag....! :-)

As DVB2000 mentioned, I doubt this will even be heard in 12 months time. Joe Public have heard of Dell, HP, Apple and Microsoft. Anything outside that realm will struggle against the machine. Take Everex - out of 100 people in the street I'd put £20 that no more than 1 of them has heard of Everex. (Tier 1 hardware manufacturer using only Open Source.)

Huh? Everyone manufactures computers with Vista. They actually have the Stepnote 5000XT and 5300XT, which is pretty nice. It does run Linux well to though (pretty much out of the box... only issues I had were with internal speakers and hibernation). One could solve this with a simple search on Google (or looking in their own support forums).

I do agree that this will not be heard of that much in the press a year from now. It, however, is unlikely that they will stop selling computers with Linux. What more likely will happen is that 98% of their business with continue to be Windows and the remaining 2% will be Linux.

Finally, did you have to use the Mercedes and Jaguar to Ford reference. This has been done to death by Apple fanboys. The reason why lower end products are more likely to have Linux is adding a licensing fee for Windows to a these boxes is not that helpful on the pocket book. Second, the majority of users that spend over $1,000... simply expect a computer to work without any intervention of their part. There are of course many exceptions to this.

£50 per unit? That is not an rational argument in favour of Vista on ANY type of machine.

From a purely cash point of view, £0 is actually cheaper than £50.

From a personal choice point of view, less money gets me what I consider to be a superior OS on all fronts.

So, is it trivial for me to pay more money for a system when the first thing I intend to do is replace the expensive OS with a free one?

I often find my mind utterly boggled at the perverse success of Microsoft's publicity machine, designed as it is to make people think up is down, black is white, rationality is irrational.... Jeez!!! Talk about complete and utter mental slavery!

Closed-source software costs money. If that boggles your mind then I have no idea how you could even attempt to understand Linux. Perhaps you should start with a Mac but those also cost money :(

Good luck

(C_Guy said @ #5.3)
Closed-source software costs money. If that boggles your mind then I have no idea how you could even attempt to understand Linux. Perhaps you should start with a Mac but those also cost money :(

Good luck :)

For the record, I only use Linux on my own machines. I won't ever again use Windows on my own machines, and I'm not keen on getting a Mac either (though I don't mind them as much).

My mind is boggled that so many people pay more money to Microsoft for an inferior software experience. It is the power of aggressive marketing and advertising that has got people believing that Windows is some sort of 'gold standard' of utility and functionality, when it simply is not. It is not cutting edge. It is not secure. It is bloated beyond imagination. Etc. Etc.

And people PAY for that? ;)

Hats off to Microsoft's PR and Marketing Teams. They could sell the Statue of Liberty to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I shouldn't wonder!

(C_Guy said @ #5.3)
Closed-source software costs money. If that boggles your mind then I have no idea how you could even attempt to understand Linux.

Actually, closed source software can be freeware and open source software isn't always $0 :P

(James7 said @ #5.4)

For the record, I only use Linux on my own machines. I won't ever again use Windows on my own machines, and I'm not keen on getting a Mac either (though I don't mind them as much).

My mind is boggled that so many people pay more money to Microsoft for an inferior software experience. It is the power of aggressive marketing and advertising that has got people believing that Windows is some sort of 'gold standard' of utility and functionality, when it simply is not. It is not cutting edge. It is not secure. It is bloated beyond imagination. Etc. Etc.

And people PAY for that? ;)

Hats off to Microsoft's PR and Marketing Teams. They could sell the Statue of Liberty to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I shouldn't wonder! :laugh:

That is purely your point of view. I can't believe that people prefer a harder to use, less stable GUI (I've seen a lot more X11 crashes in the past 5 years that I have BSOD's on Windows), less hardware support and almost childish naming conventions for the sake of £50.
For £50 I know that pretty much every bit of hardware works on my machine, as does the majority of "gold standard apps" (Photoshop for example), full integration with other MS apps with minimal configuration and who doesn't know someone who has knowledge of Windows? Not to mention the free phone support thrown in. That with the much more user friendly interface, better driver support and the fact I don't need to recompile a "kernel" (NDISWrapper) just to get a wifi card to work...

And people think they are getting a bargin with Linux? Just cause it's free doesn't make it a bargin.... ;-)

Dell tried this and failed, Acer will have just as much success as Dell.

In 12 months time Acer will have dumped the initiative and you'll be hard pressed to find Acer models with Linux available any more.

Dell are offering Ubuntu 8.04 starting this month. They don't jump straight into new Ubuntu releases. There is a bit of a delay. Anyway, we bought one of the Ubuntu Dells, and it is great. My next computer will be a Dell or maybe an Acer.

Dell are actually moving toward greater support for Linux. They are building up their support divisions. The fact that currently most of their support people are focused on Windows is why they continue to steer noobs in the direction of Windows on their website. You will see these things change slowly but surely.

This is indeed good news. The more people who offer choice out there, the better for everyone. I have two laptops. One, the older one, I bought with Windows on it. The other, with Linux. But now I only use Linux on both machines.

Nowadays I'll only buy a computer with Linux on it because I don't want to use Windows. So why, if I want Linux, should I have to pay the Microsoft 'tax' (really a form of theft they've got away with through abuse of licensing deals with companies--a practice they still haven't stopped even though they have been legally convicted in America as a monopoly and were ordered years ago not to do that anymore)?

I think that with Dell and others offering more models either with Linux pre-installed or as a "no OS" configuration, we are seeing less and less of a mandatory "tax" for Microsoft software that isn't wanted. It used to be that we Linux users had no big-name vendors providing a PC without Windows. Models without Windows may currently be in limited supply, but things are improving.

I appreciate this move by Acer, but:

  • Today, Acer is Not is a good position to risk or experiment a lot, compared to HP
  • Acer should first try to compete with other hardware vendors before competing with Microsoft.
  • When they become the #1 vendor, then they have all the power they need to pressure Microsoft.

I really do not think they cannot pull this Linux thing successfully today.

Remember that Sun Microsystems has started embracing
the Windows Server 200x Operating Systems of Microsoft
so that their Server Hardware will be easier to sell.

"Microsoft 'tax'"

Wow, hard to believe some people are still on that whine wagon. If you don't want to buy Windows, don't. It's not a tax it's what the manufacturer of some laptops have offered. You may recall Dell customers are able to order a laptop with no operating system installed and no charge for software they didn't buy, in this case Windows.

The idea that Windows is a tax or Microsoft is a monopoly is not only severely out-dated, it's long since dismissed. Perhaps you've heard of Mac or this Linux thing you speak of. Try to keep up, alright?

That's good to hear, but I bet that they will keep all their new linux programs and developments closed source, which won't help the open source linux community.

They are certainly entitled to do so, as long as their code doesn't use any single bit of GPL'd Linux code. If they develop apps and use libraries that are GPL-licensed, they will need to honor the GPL and also release their app under the GPL.

It depends, Acer has a lot of flexibility in what they can do. If they are developing a new application, they can choose whatever license they want for it (including a closed one). If they are modifying existing GPL'd software, they have to keep the modifications under the GPL too.

A lot of libraries are licensed under the LGPL, which allows closed (and other license) programs to interface with the library and they don't have to release their code under the GPL (the library itself remains open, and is referenced by the closed program). There are very few libraries that are licensed under the GPL only and not LGPL.

If they do go ahead and develop a closed source application and keep it closed, the OSS community still benefits from Linux having a wider exposure, they will still benefit from any fixes or modifications to Linux that Acer might do as they make sure Linux (the kernel, other subsystems) is running well on its machines, and assuming that you can run whatever applications you want on the computer, you can still run other open source applications and the OSS community will benefit from that exposure as well. The community will also benefit from any additional hardware support that was added or improved. Contributions to the OSS community does not always have to be in the form of code.

(Manuroc said @ #1)
... I bet that they will keep all their new linux programs and developments closed source, which won't help the open source linux community.

Manuroc; how do you know this? You are, I guess just speculating. This is the kind of response one gets from a "glass half empty" type of person. Why not give the company the benefit of the doubt? After all they are doing a good thing by adopting Linux. We need more tier one PC makers to follow Acer's example - don't you think?

Regards,
Peter