[LINK] Carbon Neutral Linux Computers, Canberra, 21 November 2007

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Wed Nov 21 10:45:10 AEDT 2007

At 11:47 AM 20/11/2007, Rick Welykochy wrote:
>Tom Worthington wrote:
>>Topic: Carbon Neutral Linux Computers ...
>One wonders if and by how much the use of computer technology has offset
>and/or saved on carbon emissions in other sectors. ...

ACS will be funding some more research on that 

>Your typical desktop system nowadays has "super computer power" and 
>could easily support a dozen thin clients and still
>have breathing space. ...

Yes. I suspect we are at a "tipping point" with open source office 
software, easy to use Linux distributions, web applications and 
broadband. In 2008, Linux thin clients may go from a niche product 
for a few technical types, to being the obvious choice which everyone 
considers first. This is even something available in Singapore 
airlines A380 airliner economy class seats: 

At 04:51 PM 20/11/2007, Stephen Wilson wrote:
>... If we transitioned to clean energy sources, then (within reason) 
>we could all run air conditioners and computers, guilt free. ...

As an IT person I have little control over where electricity comes 
from, whereas I have a lot of say in which computers are purchased. 
If I can convince my clients to buy a computer which costs less to 
buy, uses much less electricity and already has carbon offset paid 
for in the purchase price, then I think that is a good thing. If it 
can be run on clean energy, that is a bonus.

In more general terms, people who run air conditioners to cool badly 
designed office buildings, should feel guilty as they are wasting 
their employer's money. The October ACS Green ICT Group meeting 
featured a green building make over which recycled materials and 
provided a six star energy building 
I have shares in the company which owns the building,so feel guilt 
free and wealthier.  ;-)

At 11:21 PM 20/11/2007, grove at zeta.org.au wrote:
>On Tue, 20 Nov 2007, Rick Welykochy wrote:
>... I think the whole idea of a carbon neutral computer is a furphy. 
>While the end product can be designed to use little power and not 
>have a large footprint on the environment, in truth, computers are 
>an environmental hazard.   ...

You might like to look at Hikwama's 2005 "Life cycle assessment of a 
personal computer": 

More items on the ACS Green ICT Group web site: 

Materials use is an issue, but if we can reduce Australia's 
greenhouse gas emissions by 1%, by buying cheaper  and more efficient 
computers, then I think that is worth doing as well.

ps: Hope to see some of you at 6pm in Canberra 

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, ANU  

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