Apparently Open Source software can damage your hardware.
PC World has done some crazy things in its time, such as offering to give away free laptops for a limited time. Sadly the latest act of madness isn’t quite as generous, quite the opposite in fact. Most people would agree that if the screen on your notebook is damaged while within warranty, then a quick trip back to where it was purchased is in order to secure a repair or replacement.
Unfortunately, if you happen to have purchased that laptop from a London branch of PC World and have decided that rather than using the pre-installed Windows operating system, you’d rather run Linux, you’re out of luck. According to the store’s manager, changing the standard OS was a big no no and doing so meant that the customer in question would not be eligible for repairs.
Now fair enough, if the problem was related to the software installed then PC World might have had a point but no-one is going to claim that Gentoo is able to cause the death of a hinge. Even more hilariously, the notebook is manufactured by Acer, which offer Ubuntu Linux as a pre-install option in some countries, though not in the UK at present.
Although reps are now stating that the incident was an isolated mistake and that a full repair will be given to the owner once contact can be made, we can’t help but wonder how many other users have been been turned away for warranty violations they haven’t actually made.
Update: We’ve managed to get some more information from PC World regarding this issue. PC World wishes to stress that this was an isolated incident and that software installations do not have any bearing on hardware faults, as one would expect. Further, while as part of a usual repair process XP or Vista would be installed onto the machine as that is how it was sold, Linux could be restored by a technician at a customers request.