Acer Installing Linux on Some Notebooks

Acer Inc. did not install the Ubuntu Linux distribution on a batch of Aspire notebooks for sale in Singapore, but the company is installing a different version of the open-source operating system on some notebooks, local dealers said.

Memory World (S) Ltd. is selling an Aspire 5107Z notebook with Ubuntu installed. Priced at S$999 (US$660), it comes with a 1.73GHz Intel Corp.Core Duo processor, a 15.4-inch screen, 1G byte of DDR2 (double data rate 2) memory, an 80G-byte hard disk, and a one-year international warranty.

While Memory World's offer has attracted attention outside Singapore for the use of Ubuntu on a notebook, Acer did not ship these notebooks with the Linux distribution preinstalled, said Ignatius Beh, a Memory World sales executive.

"We actually installed it ourselves," Beh said. Acer shipped the notebooks to Memory World with another version of Linux installed, he said.

At the time of writing, Acer did not respond to a request for comment.

Memory World decided to test sales of Ubuntu laptops after customers praised the operating system, Beh said, adding that the laptops have only been on sale for a few days. But user reaction to the Ubuntu notebooks has been cautious. "There are a lot of inquiries, but not a lot of buying," Beh said.

"Customers are still not very confident in the OS itself," he said, noting that only a "handful" of the approximately 50 units that Memory World has for sale have been sold.

Another Singaporean dealer is selling the same Acer notebook model, but with a different version of Linux installed. D-Nexus is offering an Aspire 5107Z with 512M bytes of DDR2 memory and the Linpus Basic Edition version of Linux for S$919.

Linpus is a Taiwanese distribution of Linux, developed by Linpus Technologies Inc., in Taipei.

D-Nexus has been selling the Linpus-based Aspires since early July, although Acer has been offering Linux on notebooks for about a year now, said Robert Sim, a sales executive at the shop.

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