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Re: [Fsfe-uk] ZDNet Carbon-neutral PC runs Vista (not Free software)

From: Ian Lynch
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] ZDNet Carbon-neutral PC runs Vista (not Free software)
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2007 09:54:00 +0100

On Wed, 2007-09-12 at 08:47 +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:

> I don't think that answers his question, actually - whether or not it's
> economically cheaper or environmentally cheaper to run older hardware
> rather than upgrade to newer is an interesting one, and increasing taxes
> only answers the question by mooting it. Taxes are a terribly blunt tool
> for making people make the "right" choice.

Yep do you really think putting 4x4 road tax up a few 100 quid will stop
someone with 50 grand to spend buying the vehicle of their desires ;-)
make it 10 grand and it might have an effect and some people would still
buy them as a status symbol for their wealth.

Unless the taxation is huge rich people will just pay it. Neither do I
have a lot of faith that a government would hypothecate this tax to
environmental issues.

> Running old hardware is not without expense. While solid-state
> electronics is reliable, hard drives, power supplies, cooling fans, etc.
> etc., all are not. Is it better to keep trying to replace those parts? 

Machines without hard drives or other peripherals. Slower (older)
processors use less power so a discless thin client is better than a fat
client but it could be that getting away from Intel CISC processors and
using ARM like RISC devices is better still.

> We're also a lot better at designing environmentally friendlier hardware
> than we used to be, too, e.g. Ndiyo (http://www.ndiyo.org/), an
> ultra-thin client which could conceivably have a useful lifespan of many
> tens of years with only PSU replacement required. 
> And we're at the stage where we can run many useful services on
> low-power hardware, witness the NSLU2 "Slug" and the various other
> commodity hardware solutions which are doing things previously only
> "servers" could do. The free software community in particular has the
> software which makes this feasible.

Its highly probable in general terms that getting off Wintel fat clients
will enable power reduction. There is a limit to innovation if the
constant constraint is it has to work on Windows Vista with umbteen gig
of disc space, RAM and a fast CISC processor.

So tax Windows Vista to hell and back :-)

> In many circumstances the taxes on the new would have to be extreme to
> make it a worse deal than re-using the existing. 
> Cheers,
> Alex.
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