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Acer Bets Big On Linux 354

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the cheap-linux-laptops-on-the-way dept.
Stony Stevenson writes to tell us IT News is reporting that Acer is betting big on Linux, looking to push Tux on many of their upcoming 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 sees two killer apps with Linux on computers: operation and cost. Its flavour of Linux will boot in 15 seconds compared to minutes for Windows, and the open source operating system can extend battery life from five to seven hours."
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Acer Bets Big On Linux

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  • by geoffrobinson (109879) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:13PM (#23670399) Homepage
    Operation and cost are killer apps?
    • by Wowsers (1151731) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:20PM (#23670545) Journal
      When I moved to mostly use Linux, cost of the distro I chose was not an issue. Linux for me gave me things that Windows does not. It's more secure (having to be super user to install or run certain things) means nobody else can run things that can harm the system, it runs on lower spec machines (even though mine is up-to-date), and is more flexible in setup (ie. I an not restricted to a certain typeface or size for for example tool bars).

      Linux for me does not yet have a killer app, K3B (CD/DVD burner) and Amarok are better than anything in Windows, but for a start, there is nothing like Photoshop, and no killer video capture and editing software, and for some, games are important too.
      • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:27PM (#23670675)
        What's killer for me is that mplayer is on there in full working order.

        I've found that I can throw ANY format I want at it, and it can always create OGM's, MPG's, or AVI's. No if's and's or but's from it. It just works.

        Since there's multiple video decoders and renderers, I can play everything even if some video (like... video from the bad div3 hacked up codec) doesnt play on one player.

        In windows world, if it crashes on 1 program, it will crash on another (since they almost all use the windows codec system).
      • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:35PM (#23670793)
        The 'news' value is that a huge, major OEM of Windows is drifting towards Linux support, which means that driver availability, support, integration, and application components get a new protagonist, and a powerful one at that.

        Ideological reasons aside, it's a major deal for such a huge OEM of Microsoft to have committed to the 'enemy' camp. And as Acer is very influential in Asia, it also means that others will likely follow suit in a 'herd' effect.
        • by Rei (128717) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @02:50PM (#23672033) Homepage
          Agreed. Unless something better comes along, I'll definitely be rewarding them with my business the next time I need a laptop -- even if I planned to reinstall a different distro. At the very least, it lets you know that there's going to be good hardware support and shows that there's a market. Ooh, I hope they make some models with solid state drives...

        • Your right, it is huge.
          Acer's largest rival is probubly ASUS. I wonder if the sweetheart relationship that ASUS has with MS is driving this announcement.

          I predict that ASUS will keep the price of the Linux UMPC's higher than the MS ones. This will be part of the agreement with MS that saved them a ton of cash.(my speculation)

          This would provide Acer an opportunity to make shure ASUS does not grab volume at the low end.
      • by Red Alastor (742410) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:43PM (#23670937)
        Photoshop CS2 installs perfectly under Wine and they are working on CS3.
        • by Firehed (942385)
          Is it as fast (not that Photoshop is fast, but relatively speaking) or as stable? Do all of the features actually work correctly? I've installed plenty of things under Wine, but often times the software wouldn't run properly after the fact.
          • According to AppDB [winehq.org] it has a platinum rating, which I would assume means it runs fairly well. Haven't tried it myself though.
          • My last experiance with photoshop on linux was probably with photoshop 7 (cs was out but no support for linux yet if I remember right) and it seemed pretty speedy. I had seen comparisons online that gave photoshop faster times but there was question as to whether that was a differance in function time reporting on linux/wine vs windows.
      • by Dystopian Rebel (714995) * on Thursday June 05, 2008 @02:36PM (#23671831) Journal

        Linux for me does not yet have a killer app,
        Linux IS the killer app. Guess whom it is killing.
      • by mweather (1089505)

        When I moved to mostly use Linux, cost of the distro I chose was not an issue.
        When your $350 PC suddenly costs 20% more, trust me, it's an issue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LehiNephi (695428)
      I wonder what they mean by "operation". Do they mean "ease of operation"? A lot can fall under that category. Security (no getting bogged down with spyware/viruses/etc), quality of the GUI, ease of updating, longer battery life--those all might fall into that category.

      For me, cost is the #1 "killer app." Following a close second is apt-get update && apt-get upgrade. The security, peace of mind, wide selection of applications, and community support are also huge selling points for me.
    • by mckinnsb (984522) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:38PM (#23670851)
      Apparently the word "Application" has been broadened to mean "quality attributes" on a relative level when abbreviated, meaning that "low cost" and "ease of operation" (both being high quality) are "Killer Applications". I guess you could *see* how this word slip happened, being that "killer applications" are often considered "quality attributes" when marketing operating systems, mobile devices, or software/hardware packages.

      [/logic]

      Oh, woe is you, English Language, woe is you. Torn to shreds by marketers and businessmen. Somewhere, George Orwell is crying.

      [/poetic]

      I'm fine with some marketing terminology abstraction, but I'd like to say , "Hey Guy! Get a dictionary!". He could have just said "killer selling points".
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        [/retard]
    • by Comboman (895500)
      Operation and cost are killer apps?

      I'm assuming "Operation" is a video game based on the popular board game, and "Cost" is some sort of accounting/budgeting application similar to Microsoft's "Money". Either that, or the article author doesn't know what the phrase 'killer apps' means.

    • by Firehed (942385)
      "Applications" doesn't have to mean software, even if the usual code monkey slashdotter like myself would generally think so.

      Having said that, the word is almost never interchangeable with "features" (apps can usually be called features, but it's not so clear-cut the other direction), but not necessarily the reverse), which would have been a much better word to use here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jfbilodeau (931293)
      sudo apt-get install operation cost

      Let me know if that works!
    • by Jason Earl (1894) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @03:13PM (#23672333) Homepage Journal

      Micrsoft's sales were down 24% last quarter while computer sales were up 15% for the same period. The reason for this is that most of the growth in the PC industry is coming from the developing world, and those people simply aren't interested in paying money for Windows.

      That leaves Acer with two choices if it wants to be a player in this new market place. It can sell hardware without Windows and rely on its customers to steal a copy. This, of course, makes it basically impossible to provide any sort of support, and it puts them in competition with the very lowest end of the product spectrum. Alternatively, it can develop its own software, based on Linux, and build a market for this software.

      Partnering with Microsoft really isn't an alternative in this market. Margins are already ridiculously low and the various OEMs can simply not afford to have Microsoft be a part of the picture. Besides, Microsoft moves too slow. It's software is too big and too inflexible, and for many of these devices Windows compatibility simply isn't much of an issue.

      Not to mention the fact that the EEE PC has shown everyone that Linux devices can sell, even in the first world.

  • I'm not suprised (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:18PM (#23670487)
    Having experienced Vista on a $500 Acer laptop (click, wait several minutes, click, repeat ad nauseum.) I can well understand why they are going with Linux. Vista is completely unusable on these machines!
  • Acer. Uh uhuh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:22PM (#23670575)
    I was looking for a laptop about a year ago (I ended up getting a Thinkpad after a nasty return process).

    I went to the Circuit City cause I had a cc from them and I get points and all. I started looking at the brands offered: Gateway, IBM, Sony, Toshiba, some noname brand I didnt recognize, and acer.

    Gateway looked nice but wasnt feature laden for what I wanted (only had 1g ram).
    I saw what the current IBM's looked like, but couldnt afford it at the time.. but I wanted it.
    Sony: Root-kit fiasco. Hell no.
    Toshiba looked nice but was a little too flimsy for my taste. It felt the cowling on the lip of the base was going to pop off.
    Nonames: Had little lights in the laptop you could turn on and off in the bios. They were bargain basement cause they had as low as 512MB ram. Pass.
    HP. I got suckered in buying a dv9660us because it was sleek, seemed to run nice, and had most of the ports I needed. In the end, the nice sensor bar failed for the second time and I demanded my money back. I used this money to buy a T61 decked out ;D I'm happy now along with my 8-10 hr battery life

    Acer: Looked decent and clean. There were a lot of switches on the body turning on and off components via ACPI calls (like turn on and off wifi). There was one though... The bluetooth switch. It was on all the models but NONE HAD BLUETOOTH. How shoddy was that? The switch just sort-of glided back and forth like when a mechanical microswitch fails. This thing felt cheaper than the cheapest no-namer.

    If their new line is under 300, I'd consider it. Because thats I can afford to lose.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Randon (982444)
      Actually, I bought that Acer laptop at CC for (450.00 I think) and have been very happy with it for the money--no problems for the year I've had it (except that the internal wifi card won't work under Linux). The bluetooth switch is useless (it works on their high end laptops), but the wifi hardware switch has come in handy a couple of times when I've had to boot Vista but wanted to keep Vista off the network. As far as I can tell, the switches are there to let you conserve battery power by explicitly disa
  • Will this be the year of linux on the UMPC?
    Alternate troll:
    Is linux ready for the UMPC?
  • by mckinnsb (984522)
    Are killer apps?

    I know Microsoft has a stable release of the latter, with good market penetration. Maybe ACER can edge in on the market for the former.
  • Battery Life (Score:4, Informative)

    by Facetious (710885) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:24PM (#23670637) Journal

    the open source operating system can extend battery life from five to seven hours
    Here I sit, typing on my Ubuntu running Acer TravelMate 4674WLMi that won't last two hours unplugged. I really hope the above quoted sentence is true.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    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. "Mi
  • It's Inevitable! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goltzc (1284524) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:24PM (#23670645)
    I'm glad to see this type of product coming to consumers with a marketing force behind them (Acer, ASUS, Dell etc...)This product is perfect for my parents, grandmother and myself!

    Before the M$ bash fest starts let's make this clear. These companies are not using Linux distros because they hate Microsoft or any of that other nonsense. It is purely a financial decision. They can make more money with Linux while at the same time offer the consumers a product that can be judged by its functionality and other merits. Not by a third party having their branding all over it.

    If these companies could make more money using M$ operating systems, they would in a hearbeat.

    Ok... now that we are clear, The Ubuntu fan boi in me wants say. Sweet it's finally the year of the Linux DeskTo... Lapto... NetBook?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HW_Hack (1031622)
      ""Before the M$ bash fest starts let's make this clear. These companies are not using Linux distros because they hate Microsoft or any of that other nonsense. It is purely a financial decision. They can make more money with Linux while at the same time offer the consumers a product that can be judged by its functionality and other merits. Not by a third party having their branding all over it.""

      Making more money, or with a lower price point tapping into a new market of buyers ? At $150 - $250 it can temp f
  • hmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:26PM (#23670659)

    At the same time, the company expects that the price differential of Linux will make the offering attractive for consumers at the low-cost end of the market.

    "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 is until MS reduces the price of windows (OPLC) send in the big guns (Ballmer, Gates) or tries a underhand tactic like target the large corporate buyers. with a sack full of cash and a lot to use expect them to utilise every dirty drink in the book.

    though, on balance, I think the winds are turning on this issue, and frankly - its about bloody time.

    disclaimer? me & linux - eight years and counting.
  • "... the open source operating system can extend battery life from five to seven hours"

    Does this mean that it can extend the life of the battery between five and seven hours LONGER than normal, or does it mean that it can extend the life of a battery that otherwise would last five hours to seven?

    The former is really good to hear. The latter has me wondering... which laptops normally can get 5 hours of use from a battery? I'm lucky if I get 2 on mine.

    • by rmadmin (532701)
      On my Dell Vostro 1500 (I have the 9 cell battery, aka "The handle"), I can get about 4 1/2 hours with the display turned down to about 1/2 brightness. This is WinXP.
    • by argent (18001)
      which laptops normally can get 5 hours of use from a battery?

      My Toshiba Libretto managed it.
  • by Thelasko (1196535)
    Acer is going to ruin Linux's reputation with their crappy hardware! Only one company is clever enough to think of a scheme as devious as this one.

    Microsoft!
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      That statement seems a bit over the top
    • I know this was supposed to be funny, but it is so 5 years ago.

      Example,I do not see a difference between Dell and Acer. Both have decent hardware most of the time, often crappy customer support.

      I have had such good experience with Acer as of late, that on Dec 27, I bought two well optioned Laptops at $499 each. The slightly better spec'd one was a Toshiba, and the other an Acer.
      When I got home a week later, I sold the Toshiba to my cousin, and KEPT the Acer. YMMV
  • Tux? (Score:4, Funny)

    by samkass (174571) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:56PM (#23671147) Homepage Journal
    looking to push Tux on many of their upcoming laptops and netbooks.

    That's GNU/Tux to you, freedom hater!
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @02:05PM (#23671333)
    Linux is VERY customizable and can be trimmed down to a very small kernel. The number of utilities installed can be reduced as well. OS features not used, need not run.

    On a laptop, Linux makes sense because if it has nothing to do, it sleeps. Windows, like rust, never sleeps. CPUs really do run cooler on Linux with a lower load.

    Linux is free. It can be adjusted to fit your hardware. OpenOffice.org has ODF and it is an undisputed ISO standard. Linux plays nice on almost all networks.

    Why WOULDN'T a company put this OS on a laptop?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by JeremyGNJ (1102465)
      Why WOULDN'T a company put this OS on a laptop?

      It might have something to do with ..... their customers not wanting it.
      • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @02:46PM (#23672001)
        It might have something to do with ..... their customers not wanting it.

        I haven't seen any credible study or statistic that indicates that people want windows.

        People may be used to it, but they don't *choose* it, per se' People *choose* Macintosh, but since Microsoft has a monopoly, one can only view a windows purchase as acceptance of the default.

        When we have real competition in the market place, we can start studying what people really want.
  • I am wondering if they are comparing apples to apples on that one. If they took their fresh, clean, off the shell acer laptop and compared it to a fresh, clean, off the shell toshiba laptop, its not a fair comparison.

    the toshiba will be filled with crapware that bogs down startup. if its a fresh windows install, this wouldnt be the case.
    • by Shotgun (30919)
      That WOULD be apples to apples.

      The company has to load a crapload of demoware for the advertisement kickbacks in order to synchronize the cost of a Linux vs Windows install. The comparison is the boot time with equal cost (to the vendor) OSs installed.

  • Never got the sleep function to work in any laptop from the Toshibas, to the Dells, to the Clevos. Can't believe anyone would try to sustain a business of Linux portables unless they were intended for desktop replacements.

    • The difference is, when a manufacturer is shipping the machine with Linux, they can make it work from the factory. And if it isin't, you can call their CS to make it work, or return it as defective.
    • If ANYONE can get sleep to work, they should after all THEY MAKE THE LAPTOP!

      Once all the manufacturers start producing Linux Computers, we are going to see driver/chipset compatibility issues going away forever. To stay in business every chipset and board manufacturer will have to produce documentation for Linux devs or produce the drivers themselves.
  • by John Jamieson (890438) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @02:19PM (#23671555)
    Two Scenarios

    1. Acer will stay the course, and refuse incentives from MS.
    2. MS will give Acer such a good deal that they will announce "it turns out that Linux was a bad fit for most of our product line".

    We will now see what kink of company Acer is.
  • Acer Extensa 5420 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by easyEmu (977903)
    I bought a $550 Acer Extensa 5420 at Best Buy a few months ago. It came with a soft-load of Vista. I wiped that and loaded PCLinuxOS-2007. Most everything works fine including the web-cam. The only trouble I have now is getting sound from the headphone jack, and using the built in microphone. The mic jack works fine, and the built-in speakers work fine. Two quirks that are easy for me to overlook given all the benefits. It appears that Acer hardware tends to be mostly Linux compatible when new for wh

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