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back to article Is 'green' software possible?

As Kermit the infuriating frog puppet once said "It's not easy bein' green" - especially as a software developer. OK you can do all things that everyone else does - buy a Toyota Prius hybrid or even cycle to work (as long as you avoid Lycra and silly helmets). You can scribble notes on recycled paper with a pencil (made of wood …

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Irony

They say Americans don't get irony. So it's ironic that Microsoft is helping track emissions when their latest OS has loads of bloat which makes computers that run it use more power.

The 3D functions and eye candy of Vista result in more power usage.

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Write green software

As well as adopting green practices when writing software, it should also be possible to write green software.

More efficient code uses less CPU cycles and therefore less electricity. Better memory management and data management can result in less disk access. Fewer interactions between application tiers will reduce network I/O.

I would be very interested to see a green comparison of two pieces of code written to achieve the same output. One written in assembler and the other in Java.

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Anonymous Coward

Microsoft? Green?

Microsoft would presumably like everyone using XP to move across to Vista. Apparently there are 538 million copies of XP out there. That's a lot of media, and that's before you take into consideration the hardware upgrades involved. How is it helping the environment with this strategy?

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Re: Write green software

Danny wrote "More efficient code uses less CPU cycles and therefore less electricity. Better memory management and data management can result in less disk access. Fewer interactions between application tiers will reduce network I/O."

Perhaps you should reread the last paragraph of the article - that's what is meant by the more efficient use of resources by high performance computing techniques,

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Green?

Climate court? Ebay? Software? Vista uses more electricity than XP? WTF?

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Sam

Microsoft committed to greener practice?

I'm afraid I don't believe it. Not when you see the way their software is packaged. The mac version of office is a standard DVD case inside a plastic box with a volume of about a litre, and is packed out with a plastic insert to stop it rattling around. Looking at pictures it seems all the new versions of office and vista are similar.

I'm afraid efficient code is not going to negate the effects of wastefulness like that.

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Anonymous Coward

Vista and power?!

So you guys are bitching about Vista's 3D and that it uses too much power. What's the alternative? Using OSX with its 3D -- they had that for a while -- or maybe Linux, with its Cube 3D? Anything other than text mode would probably be the same. And what about games? Those things use far more power than an idle OS does.

However, when it comes to the stuff that really matters -- how much juice you're sucking out of the pipe, hardware matters far more than software. How about you buy an efficient power supply, efficient video card and CPU, followed by an efficient HDD and the smallest monitor you can buy. It's so much easier to blame the OS rather than take responsibility. It's Vista's fault that I'm not green, I can't do anything about it; now let me drown my sorrow in this game I bought yesterday.

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Don

Partly Right

"However, when it comes to the stuff that really matters -- how much juice you're sucking out of the pipe, hardware matters far more than software. How about you buy an efficient power supply, efficient video card and CPU, followed by an efficient HDD and the smallest monitor you can buy"

That's only partly correct. I come from the C=64 world where every bit was precious. The sloppy programming out there now would have horrified me then.

Combine efficient programming techniques using minimal memory (disk or RAM) as well as minimal CPU cycles and you get faster software using less electricity.

Then look at using low power systems. Laptops run less juice than most desktops. There are some micro PCs out there using laptop components that are quite green.

We can apply both methods to our computing and all be so green we won't NEED to buy a Prius!

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Retard

Are you retarded? Open source software more efficient than what? Maybe you need to site a few figures rather than making up random BS.

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Great to see this area getting some attention...

I have been thinking about these issues for some time now. My life involves sitting in front of a screen all day coding away. I myself have been trying to understand my personal impact on the environment, and on a larger scale, the typical developer's impact.

We have seen great strides on the hardware front (manufacturing, recycling, ect.), but I think the "green computing" world falls flat when it comes to the software. At least in regards to end-user desktop apps.

In response to Giles Jones:

"The 3D functions and eye candy of Vista result in more power usage."

This is a real issue. There is the suggestion to use efficient OSs like Puppy Linux, but I don't think this is the real solution. People use Windows and OS X. Some of us use Linux (and even efficient window managers), but most of the world uses very inefficient OSs.

"More efficient, 'greener' coding strategies could, ironically, also come from developments in high performance computing."

I think this is where the real savings will occur. We need better compilers, easer programming languages, and faster interpreters. We also need better learning environments for new developers so that they can take advantage of the "more efficient coding strategies". There are probably many areas that can be improved on, and I am by no means an expert here.

I think that solving these issues will require the input from a wide variety of disciplines (environmental engineers, software developers, corporate management, lawyers, etc).

Great article,

Sam

P.S.

I have been sitting on the http://greensoftware.org domain for a while now. This article has inspired me to put some effort into it. If you have any suggestions, or would like to help define the "green software initiative", then please stop by.

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Anonymous Coward

I'd rather be a mushroom than a cabbage.

"... cycle to work (as long as you avoid Lycra and silly helmets)..."

Not so silly if you know someone whose life was saved by wearing one. Don't diss them, even in passing. Very irresponsible.

With you on the Lycra, of course. No-one wants to see that, especially not so soon after breakfast...

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Title

There is plenty of evidence that can be 'sited' to show open source to be more efficient than proprietary software. Try this: http://osprojects.info/98/open-source-versus-proprietary-software/

It is generally considered to be bad manners to call people retarded - even if they are.

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A joke??

This is some kind of clever joke, no? It's not even as funny as the green programming languages episode of 'meet joe bloggs'.

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