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Green Software

A while back, in one of my Environmental classes, I’d mentioned that I’d like to work on projects where “Green IT” doesn’t just involve efficient and sustainable hardware and data centers.

My biggest beef is that every year, software companies create bigger and more bloated software and they’re able to get away with it because hardware is cheap. Anyone remember PCs with 640KB of RAM and floppy disks? I learned C++, Fortran, Pascal and Assembly programming on a PC with 640K memory, 2 1.25″ floppy disks and no hard drive. Granted I couldn’t run anything really graphics-intensive but hey, I was happy playing the Prince of Persia on it. In addition, it ran dBase III+, Lotus 1-2-3 and several other useful software. All on 640KB.

The PC I’m using right now has 3GB of RAM, an 80GB hard disk and a 2.33 Ghz processor; and it simply can’t cope.

Which brings me to Snow Leopard. CNET has run tests that show that it saves about 8.2KwH of energy. Not a big deal, unless you multiply that by the number of copies of the O/S that Apple plans to sell this quarter, and you have over 42 million KwH saved! That’s 143 billion BTUs. Combine this with their annual desktop/laptop/tablet sales and you have incredible power savings. (btw, total energy consumption in the world in 2010 is estimated to be about 508 quadrillion BTUs).

And all this from just software. Imagine where we’ll be if all developers decided to similarly improve the efficiency and power consumption of their software. Imagine if Microsoft did it.

There’s a “green” revolution for you, and it could be as simple as writing Hello World.

  1. Emily
    September 6, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    You are a very smart man. Very interesting.

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