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[ox-en] Linux makes for greener computing

fyi, Vista-slamming is in full swing now, excellent news for those
trying to promote F/OSS as an integral element of a broader sustainable-electronics strategy, Soenke


Operating Systems and Servers News

09 March 2007
Linux makes for greener computing

By Manek Dubash, Techworld

The UK Government reckons that servers with Linux installed are greener
than those running Windows.

That's because, according to a report by the Department of Government
Commerce about Open Source Software Trials in Government, open source
software has lower hardware requirements and needs less frequent
hardware refreshes.

In particular, it said that: "for equivalent open source and Microsoft
Windows systems, the open source system will require less memory and a
slower processor speed for the same functionality." It points out that
Windows needs a hardware refresh every three to four years, while a
Linux box might need a new platform as infrequently as every six to
eight years - half as often.

The report continued: "Open Source operating systems such as Linux do
not usually have the regular major upgrades that are a feature of
Windows, and thus do not have the requirement that goes with these
upgrades for a new or upgraded computer to run them."

The report then concludes that the reduction in hardware demands brings
environmental benefits, because it translates into lower energy
requirements and less waste, "reducing landfill requirements and costs
arising from disposal of redundant equipment."

The report also coincides with Tory shadow chancellor George Osbourne's
call for the use of more open source software in government. He said
that the UK government could save in excess of £600 million a year if
more open source software was deployed across various departments.

But if the timing of the report is good news for the open source
community, it's possibly less welcome for others.

Microsoft Windows Vista has just been released to a flurry of criticism
from environmental groups such as Greenpeace who slammed Microsoft for
the hardware-hungriness of Vista, saying that upgraders will "will
trigger a deluge of e-waste in developing countries.”

Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace's southeast Asia toxics campaigner, argued
that: "With Vista, Microsoft could effectively hasten the obsolescence
of half the world’s PCs, especially in the absence of fully-functioning
global take back systems for PCs. Companies will feel the need to
upgrade more computers sooner - and when they do, the world is
unfortunately not prepared for the massive e-waste the upgrades will

Greenpeace went on to argue that Microsoft should have considered this
when producing its new OS.

It's a problem for which a solution will need to be found eventually.
While most enterprises have few if any plans right now to move their
desktops onto the new OS, most will eventually be forced to migrate as
Microsoft starts to implement its phased withdrawal of support for
Windows XP under its public life-cycle policy.

This is some way off, although the company has announced that the
availability of licences for Windows XP Professional would be withdrawn
for OEMs after 28 January 2008, and for system builders a year later.
Mainstream support for XP Pro ends on 14 April 2009 while extended
support - in other words, paid-for support - ends five years later.

Before that happens, Vista - or maybe even its more hardware-hungry
successor - will have become the only commercial OS choice.
Contact: projekt

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