Acer: 'No UK demand' for Linux laptops

Although the PC supplier is offering Ubuntu-based laptops in Singapore, it has said that it will not sell them in the UK

Acer will not release Linux-based laptops in the UK due to a lack of demand, despite launching an Ubuntu-based machine in Asia.

The Acer Aspire 5710Z has gone on sale in Singapore pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux instead of Windows. Ubuntu is currently one of the world's most popular and easiest-to-use Linux distributions.

But a spokesperson for Acer told on Tuesday that the company — one of the world's top laptop manufacturers — currently had "no plans" to sell any Linux-based systems in the 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.

"If the demand was there, then Acer would sell it," the spokesperson said, adding that such a demand would have to be reported to Acer by its UK resellers.

The only other major manufacturer to include Linux-based systems in its lineup is Dell, which has been offering such systems solely in the US since May. Last week a spokesperson for Dell said there had been a healthy demand for notebooks running on Linux. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu's main backer, also hinted that Dell could release even more open source-based notebooks, although Dell did not confirm or deny this suggestion.

Dell's Linux-based systems are still not available in the UK, but the company suggested earlier this month that the situation would change soon.

Before the launch of the Acer Aspire in Singapore, there had been no suggestion that any major manufacturer other than Dell was even considering releasing Ubuntu-based products. However, Acer president Gianfranco Lanci did tell Financial Times Deutschland that "the whole [PC] industry is disappointed with Windows Vista". Lanci claimed that Microsoft's new operating system had not boosted PC sales, due to concerns over its stability and overall maturity.

Microsoft itself has been bullish about sales of Vista, although it has sent confusing signals about exactly how successful the operating system has been