Bonum Certa Men Certa

Environmental Disinformation in the Microsoft Press

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"THE Wintel treadmill has been responsible for sending countless boxes off to the dump and landfill," claims a regular reader of ours. "Yet nary a peep about the role of a longer-paced replacement cycle on preserving the environment, even before the disaster known as Windows Vista."



There is this new article which slams two major Microsoft competitors, Apple and Nintendo. It labels them offenders against the environment and it comes from a Web site where one of the writers is Rob Enderle, a Microsoft friend who negotiates his writings with Microsoft. "Bill's minions seem to be able to play Greenpeace off against Apple," says our reader.

“It's about monitor waste.”Only two days ago, IDG (also with Microsoft connections [1, 2, 3]) pretty much daemonised environment protesters who had entered CES. It published the article "TV Zombies Kicked Out of CES.". They are not "TV zombies", they are activists, and in order to receive coverage -- for their message to get across -- they needed to put on a show. It's about monitor waste. To say that they got "kicked out" is pretty much to show what sort of attitude the writer has towards people who try to fix society's ills.

The real culprit here is not just Microsoft, but it is a major part of it. Here is the article "On Windows Vista, DRM, and new monitors."

Microsoft and its partners want people to unnecessarily acquire new PCs and monitors ("to move the economy," as the old saying goes, and drive up the revenue of Microsoft and Intel).

Speaking of DRM, there is a lot more to it. Microsoft, via its Wintel spokespeople (e.g. George Ou|ZDNet) smeared a researcher who had exposed this disaster while in the making. Way to handle the truth, Microsoft.

We ought to add some references for completeness. Microsoft in general is an environmental felon [1, 2] and Vista was repeatedly slammed by Greenpeace [3, 4, 5]. On the other hand, there is GNU/Linux (and Free software), which is undoubtedly doing a lot better [6-14].

_____ [1] The Greenest Game Console

Microsoft's Xbox 360, on the other hand, is a veritable power hog, sucking down 194 watts, rivaling Takahashi's 42-inch plasma TV.


[2] Greenpeace Slams Microsoft, Nintendo

Greenpeace gave Microsoft and Nintendo abysmal rankings Tuesday on their efforts to phase out toxic chemicals from their game consoles.


[3] Greenpeace: Vista could trigger a deluge of electronic waste

Beau Baconguis of the Southeast Asia section of the environmental protection organization Greenpeace has warned that the introduction by Microsoft of its new operating system Windows Vista might as a side effect trigger a deluge of electronic waste (E-waste). "With Vista, Microsoft could effectively hasten the obsolesence of half the world's PCs, especially in the absence of fully-functioning global take back systems for PCs," Ms. Baconguis declared.


[4] Vista poses environmental dangers

Microsoft Vista could have serious environmental implications, experts have warned.

The latest version of Windows uses encryption methods that are incompatible with some older PCs. It also features high-end graphics capabilities that can only run on newer hardware.


[5] Vista gets slated - by the Greens

The Green Party has slammed Microsoft and it's forthcoming operating system, Windows Vista, in a withering attack on the company's "monopoly".

Microsoft not only takes criticism for allegedly environmentally unfriendly policies, but for attacking civil liberties.

The party claims that "Vista gives Microsoft the ability to lock you out of your computer," and that "Microsoft are determined not to play fair" in the video content market.


[6] Linux, Windows duke it out over energy efficiency

Linux appears to have an advantage at the moment: Companies are becoming increasingly open to adopting the platform both in the server room and on the desktop. Big-name vendors like IBM, HP, and Novell are giving the penguin a push in the datacenter, framing it as a flexible and energy-efficient platform. The fact that Linux offers greater virtualization opportunities than Windows (a sentiment recently expressed by the VMWare CTO Mendel Rosenblum) only strengthens the platform's green standing.


[7] GNU/Linux is the most power-efficient OS on Intel hardware

According to a keynote given at OSCON, Intel's PowerTOP application has allowed developers to get a close-up view of what is sucking power in a GNU/Linux system. Apparently they've gotten so much feedback and patches that they've been able to extend battery life by an hour since the first release, making GNU/Linux the best OS for power saving.


[8] Report: Linux, open source greener than Windows

A new report from the U.K. Office of Government Commerce about Open Source Software Trials in Government, has found that servers running Linux could combat the rising problem of e-waste because they last up to twice as long as machines running Windows.


[9] Going green

Linux is a free, open-source alternative to Windows that will happily run on older computers that struggle to run XP or Vista.


[10] Use GNU/Linux and help save the planet

Are Windows users, not by choice, the worst polluters of the planet relative to GNU/Linux? Well, not intentionally but the lifecycle of a machine running Windows must be shorter than that of a conscientious Linux user who can prevent that old 400MHZ Celeron PC with 128MBs of memory gathering dust in the corner from heading for the scrapheap.

[...]

The Chinese have a saying: the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Reusing a puffing and wheezing old computer by installing a minimal GNU/Linux distro and staving off the day when it trudges forlornly to the scrapheap is at least a baby step in the right direction.


[11] Consumer electronics vs. Planet Earth

several makers of Linux-based thin-client devices have begun touting their devices as environmentally-friendly alternatives to standard desktop PCs. Meanwhile, several companies are working to build Linux-based network computers for home users, including Zonbu, Linutop, and Thinteknix.


[12] Computers in schools are an environmental time-bomb

Schools are using computers as room heaters which then need to be cooled using expensive air conditioning and Modern thin-client networks could reverse this trend and are available from the Open Source community and vendors of proprietary software today.


[13] IBM Launches 'Big Green Linux' Initiative

The announcement was made at a press conference this morning at the opening of the LinuxWorld and Next Generation Data Center tradeshows in San Francisco. Supporting IBM in the event, which included announcements of new products, customers and services, were representatives from the Linux Foundation and Novell.


[14] Is 'green' software possible?

He suggests using software such as Puppy Linux, a low resource version of Linux, and Portable Apps, a service-based approach to delivering applications.

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