The recent corporate buzz over whether to offer Linux-based machines or not has raised quite an uproar in the open-source community; now you can tack on another turncoat to the list. Acer has officially announced it will not be releasing Linux-based machines…at least in the UK, because there is “no demand” for it.
Oddly enough, Acer recently released a model, the Aspire 5710Z, preloaded with Ubuntu, which is widely popular in the open source community; however, the release was made for Singapore customers.
In response to questions about why Acer has chosen to release Ubuntu-loaded machines in Asia but not the UK, an Acer representative told ZDNET.co.uk, “[Acer models] with Ubuntu pre-loaded are available at the factory level. However, there is no demand for it in the UK. Therefore, those configurations are not an option [for UK customers] at the moment,” said the spokesperson.
Hastily moving to cover its steps, Acer added, “If the demand was there, then Acer would sell it.”
What undoubtably won’t sit right with the Linux community is that Acer has not provided any evidence suggesting there isn’t any demand for Ubuntu in the UK; they have simply said that users would need to contact store retailers if they were interested in obtaining pre-loaded machines.
That seems to pose a problem in two ways: first, if Acer feels there is no demand in the UK for Ubuntu, why would it suggest users contact local retailers to insist on pre-loaded machines?
Secondly, if Acer feels like there may be a surge of user response in retail locations, why naively say that there is no demand?
As Ubuntu is one of the most popular iterations of the Linux platform, it seems doubtful that there is no demand for pre-loaded machines in the UK.
It appears Acer may be shooting themselves in the corporate foot by turning a cold shoulder on the Linux community on such a large scale, when companies like Dell are moving to embrace the open source community.
Finally, with the disappointment surrounding the release and performance of Microsoft’s Windows Vista, embracing an open-source platform, if only on a small scale, could open the company up to a success that is only currently being tapped by Dell (though Dell’s Linux push has been lack-luster and shifty at best).