EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

10.31.13

GNU/Linux Efficiency Helps the Environment

Posted in GNU/Linux, Servers at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Googleplex energy
Photo by Avinash Kaushik (Googleplex)

Summary: Addressing claims that GNU/Linux and Free software in general are neither efficient nor suitable for old hardware

THERE is an ongoing online debate about GNU/Linux as a remedy/recovery plan for old PCs; those who deem it unfit for old computers (no link, intentionally, but there is a rebuttal in [1]) are totally ignoring the many distributions which are specifically created and optimised so as to help revive old PCs. Some, like the Raspberry Pi, are doing exceptionally well [2-6] with very little. There is no need for massive computers to perform simple tasks. A lot of people use computers for very light activity (like Web surfing) with just one active application actually running. It’s a trend. Even Intel is now surrendering to the trend [7], embracing its rival out of desperation perhaps (Atom was a big failure). Microsoft and Apple, two companies that rely on x86 and inefficient machines (Apple is routinely shamed by Greenpeace for being one of the dirtiest companies in the planet alongside Microsoft [1, 2]), are arguing over who’s responsible for draining batteries so quickly [8] and we are constantly reminded of the urgency of energy efficiency [9] because solutions/alternatives do exist these days [10,11].

“Cooperation reduces other sorts of waste, too.”When it comes to natural resources, there is a limit. They are all finite (some less than others, e.g. sun rays and winds), so we should stop assuming infinite expansion of everything (including Moore’s/Intel’s silly ‘law’ [12], which assumes we can magically redefine or bend atoms’ size). We are in this energy-wasting mess right now because greedy oil tycoons and economists don't seem to grasp scarcity, especially in a lifetime’s worth/timespan.

For those who are “green”-conscious, Free software should become a thing to embrace and to spread. Cooperation reduces other sorts of waste, too.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The success of GNU/Linux

    Even on old hardware, GNU/Linux idles like every other desktop OS since i386. Really. PCs are much faster than humans and sit in a looping state checking for stuff to do until the human makes another click some milliseconds apart. In a millisecond, an old PC with a single or dual-core CPU can do millions of operations. It’s not that hard to do IT and keep ahead of humans if you are that fast. Further, modern hard drives run ~100-200 MB/s and the old ones slog at 40 MB/s, not that different if you’ve just clicked on an icon or link. A lot of what we do is out on the Internet where a click takes a few tenths of a second to get anything done and many transactions take ~1s.

  2. Crowdfunding and VAT

    This week our friends at OpenERP have launched their own crowdfunding campaign for a retail Point of Sale solution, based on our favourite little computer – the Raspberry Pi, and some other bits of hardware.

  3. The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?

    It is fair to say that the Raspberry Pi is a success. I love them, you love them, the whole world loves them. It has reminded the rest of the computing world that the UK – and Cambridge especially – has a proud computing heritage.

  4. Pi Camera Quick Installation Guide
  5. Two Projects We Love

    It was recently announced that the Raspberry Pi (RPi) has sold 1.75 million units in the 1.5 years they have been available. That is seen by most folks as a screaming success. In contrast, the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC) has sold about twice as many OLPC units in about 6+ years… yet it is seen by some as a quasi-failure.

  6. Open Source Is Useless – Without Hardware

    You might not have noticed that the $35 computer, Raspberry Pi has exceeded 1 million units shipped. Further, they have production volumes cranked up to the point where you can order more than one unit.

  7. Exclusive: Intel Opens Fabs To ARM Chips

    “It’s huge. Imagine ARM’s most powerful and technologically advanced 64-bits processor built on Intel’s leading-edge fabs. A duo that will be hard to beat,” explains Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.

  8. Microsoft: Apple is to blame for reports of poor Windows battery life

    Is it true? Yes. And also no. What PCWorld’s team of mythbusters discovered was that yes, installing Windows on a MacBook Air exhausted its battery far, far quicker than the Mac OS ever could. But when asked to explain themselves, Microsoft executives explained that Apple’s engineers simply weren’t as dedicated as the Windows world.

  9. How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt
  10. This Huge Solar Thermal Plant Makes Electricity Even in the Dark

    The primary complaint against solar power—that it, you know, requires the sun—is perfectly valid. But Arizona’s new Solana Generating Station, the largest capacity solar thermal plant on the face of the Earth, has just provided a $1.4 billion counterpoint. Thanks to its massive molten salt reserves, this plant keeps producing power even after lights out.

  11. Researchers tout electricity storage technology that could recharge devices in minutes

    Vanderbilt University researchers say they have come up with a way to store electricity on a silicon-based supercapacitor that would let mobile phones recharge in seconds and let them continue to operate for weeks without recharging.

    The researchers said in a paper that instead of storing energy in chemical reactions the way batteries do, silicon supercapacitors store electricity by assembling ions on the surface of a porous material. As a result, they tend to charge and discharge in minutes, instead of hours, and operate for a few million cycles, instead of a few thousand cycles like batteries, the researchers stated.

  12. World With New Limits: The Coming End of Moore’s Law

    “The tech industry has been lazy and has depended on Moore’s Law, but once it’s gone they’re going to have to come up with new and different ways to make their products better and faster,” suggested blogger Mike Stone. “I’m sorry to say that I don’t know how they’re going to do that at this point, but I have all the confidence in the world that they will.”

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    October 31, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Gravatar

    The right FOSS system and applications can easily extend the lifetime of consumer-grade hardware from 3 to 5 years. You can do the math easily to visualize the benefit.

What Else is New


  1. Links 29/7/2015: Akademy 2015 Ends, NetBSD 7.0 RC

    Links for the day



  2. MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

    A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH



  3. New Zealand's Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

    Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand



  4. Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too

    Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft's tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically



  5. The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

    Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers' money to the Mafia



  6. Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

    Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters



  7. Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug 'Branding' for FUD

    Links for the day



  8. Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

    A look at some of last week's patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)



  9. Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

    Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system



  10. Patents in the Android World Further Complicate Freedom in This Linux-Powered Platform

    A survey of last week's news with special focus on Google and Android, which are trying to coexist and thrive in a world full of patent maximalists



  11. The 'Unitary' Patent Trojan Horse Rammed Down the Throat of Europe

    Under the guise of 'unification' or 'unity', existing patent systems are being abandoned and more power gets passed to corrupt EPO officials



  12. HEVC Cartel is Not News, Only the Names of Backers and the Costs Are New

    A few remarks on and a roundup of recent articles about HEVC, which we first wrote about in spring



  13. IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2015 – July 25th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  14. Links 26/7/2015: Purism Librem and Freedom, Akademy Updates

    Links for the day



  15. Vista 10 (Windows 10) Has NSA Back Doors and Front Doors

    Vista 10 to bring new ways for spies (and other crackers) to remotely access people's computers and remotely modify the binary files on them (via Windows Update, which for most people cannot be disabled)



  16. Vista 10 Not Ready, But Released Anyway

    Despite severe technical issues in the rushed-out-the-door Vista 10, Microsoft decides to stick with the deadline, only days after reporting billions of dollars in losses



  17. Links 25/7/2015: Plasma Mobile, Linux Mint 17.2 OEM

    Links for the day



  18. Links 24/7/2015: openSUSE Leap 42.1, Intel With Rackspace for OpenStack

    Links for the day



  19. Links 24/7/2015: GNOME 3.17.4, Mozilla Developer Network Turns 10

    Links for the day



  20. Microsoft Has Run Out of Attempts and Vista 10 Will Definitely Fail

    As Microsoft admits billions of dollars in losses just days before Vista 10 is pushed as a 'free' upgrade, there is no concrete sign that financial recovery is imminent, for the bigger cash cow (Office) suffers a similar fate



  21. GNU/Linux Circles Ought to Stop Promoting Visual Studio, Which is Neither Cross-Platform Nor Free Software

    Media carries on openwashing Visual Studio and perpetuating the illusion that it is not tied to Microsoft Windows



  22. Spinning Proprietary Software Dangers as Dangers of Free/Libre Software

    News sites mislead their readers, teaching them that the biggest dangers associated with proprietary software are in fact problems exclusive to Free/libre Open Source software



  23. Links 23/7/2015: New RHEL Release, Capital One Releases Code

    Links for the day



  24. Terminology of Patent Lawyers and Pro-Patents Media Serves to Mislead the Public

    An outline of stories where the language used to describe patents is grossly distorted so as to bias the reality and mislead the audience/readers



  25. Amid Billions in Losses, Microsoft Tries to Conquer the Competition (Which Already Wins)

    The 'Embrace, Extend, Extinguish' strategy goes a few steps further as Microsoft looks to dominate developers, devices and servers that are running Free/libre software



  26. Microsoft Losing Billions of Dollars is Not News

    Few remarks on Microsoft's latest admission that it is losing a lot of money



  27. Links 22/7/2015: Kodi 15.0, MKVToolnix 8.2.0

    Links for the day



  28. The Technology Sector in the US Has Gotten Fed Up With Apple's Patent Aggression Against Android/Linux

    Apple is desperately trying to stop Android from increasing its levels of dominance (in phones, tablets, watches, and so on), so Silicon Valley is lining up against Apple, antagonising its misuse/abuse of patents for anticompetitive purposes



  29. Patents Regime in Europe: Mixture of Greed, Competition Abuses, and Propaganda

    A roundup of the latest patent news from Europe, focusing on Italy, the UK, Germany, and Hungary



  30. Patent 'Reform' in US Congress Still Under Attack by Patent Lawyers and Corporate Lobbyists

    The latest instances of assault on changes to the US patent system, demonstrated through an elaborative survey of the media (two days' worth)


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts