[ubuntu-uk] Where are we with Green?

alan c aeclist at candt.waitrose.com
Thu Feb 28 13:57:39 GMT 2008

Rob Beard wrote:
> andy wrote:
>> Hash: SHA1
>> I've been listening to the BIG GREEN IT DEBATE on the register.. and
>> although it's no where nearly finished (more or less just started)..
>> there's already one point I'd love us to discuss.
>> One of the things that comes up when discussing 'Green motors' is what
>> I'd like to introduce as the Land Rover paradox.
>> "70% of all Land Rovers ever made are still on the road."
>> Once you take into account the energy required throughout the life of a
>> car, including assembly and destruction - are Land Rovers actually that
>> bad for the environment.
>> IMHO, ubuntu may fit into the Land Rover, rather than Toyota Prius
>> category, for a number of reasons.
>> 1) Power Management - where are we at with ubuntu at the moment?  My
>> perception (this will/may be wrong) is that much of the onboard power
>> management is managed through propreitary code, therefore ubuntu
>> performs worse that XP.. par example (but much better than Vista.. on a
>> hunch).
> My dual core 'Pentium Dual Core' is happily running at 1.2GHz at the 
> moment (slowed down from 1.8GHz), it's independent per core too.  That's 
> all controlled by the Powernow Daemon...
> Here's the output from powernowd --help
> "PowerNow Daemon v0.97, (c) 2003-2005 John Clemens
> Daemon to control the speed and voltage of cpus.
> This is a simple client to the CPUFreq driver, and uses
> linux kernel v2.5 sysfs interface.  You need a supported
> cpu, and a kernel that supports sysfs to run this daemon."
> Sounds to me like it's GPL'd.
> It is controlled by Powernowd too, when I tried to overclock my CPU to 
> around 3GHz it kept going back to 1.8GHz/1.2GHz until I disabled 
> powernowd which in turn disabled the power saving.
> That's better than my desktop PC at work running XP which sometimes 
> sounds like a jet engine taking off (it's a Dell Optiplex GX620 with a 
> Pentium D 820 (2.8GHz) with power saving turned off in the BIOS).
>> 2) Re-use.  Ubuntu saves having to re-buy PCs... However, if the
>> efficiency of the new PC means that it'll use less energy, surely
>> there's an argument that upgrading the hardware is more environmentally
>> efficient  - we need some better data to support the ubuntu approach (if
>> there is indeed one).
> Ubuntu can be used in a client/server environment just like Windows 
> 2000/2003 Server.  This is what I'm doing at a local community centre in 
> Exeter.  We're using a fairly mid spec Dell PowerEdge server with a new 
> Intel Xeon Quadcore CPU (2.4Ghz) which will run Ubuntu (or possibly 
> Edubuntu) with LTSP.  The client machines are old K6/2 450 machines 
> which according to the AMD specs use no more than about 36 watts.  Add 
> on the fact that they run completely over the network (no hard drives, 
> no optical drives) they don't have any moving parts (apart from the CPU 
> & PSU fans) and save energy.  They'll be attached to 19" TFT monitors.
> I'd say they'd use less than my desktop PC with it's hard drives and DVD 
> drive in there.
>> 3) Linux versus MS.  Is there anything to suggest that linux boxes are
>> more power efficient.  This doesn't have to be at a hardware/software
>> level either.  More about policy and application.  Linux boxes don't
>> crash, so we never shut them down.. meaning they're never off.  Discuss.
> Not sure on that, I'd say efficiency wise, they're probably about the 
> same.  I guess you could argue that Vista with all it's fancy effects 
> requires a fairly decent spec CPU and graphics card whereas Ubuntu will 
> run it's fancy effects on a much lower spec machine.
> With regards to never shutting the machines down, it depends on the 
> user.  Some people leave their machines on due to lazyness (I can think 
> of a couple of people at work who do this), others leave them on because 
> they run background apps.  I guess both Linux and Windows when idle will 
> use much less power plus put the screens into a standby mode.
> Not sure if anyone is aware, but next month is Green Month, at least it 
> is on the One Network of radio stations 
> (http://commercial.gcapmedia.com/index.php?id=8 - Gemini in Devon, BRMB 
> in Birmingham, Red Dragon in Cardiff etc).
> In the stations we're trying to save energy by turning PCs off 
> automatically at night (this is done through Active Directory), enabling 
> power saving on newer PCs which support it, reminding everyone to turn 
> off their monitors when not in use, combining PCs (such as legal logging 
> machines which need to log output 24/7, these are being combined in some 
> cases from two PCs to one), and even in some extreme cases turning off 
> all the lights (including the lights in the toilet even when someone is 
> in there).
>> I'm coming in at a tangent, but would be interested to hear other
>> people's perceptions of the 'Green-ness' of ubuntu - and some input from
>> people who can give hard facts on the performance of ubuntu power
>> management.
> See comments above.
> When we've installed the LTSP system at the community centre in Exeter 
> I'm going to measure the power usage of the single terminals and the 
> whole installation (server, terminals, switches etc) and compare them to 
> a regular 1 to 2 year old desktop system running XP, it will be 
> interesting to see how it compares.
> Rob

I wondered if this applied to my vanilla desktop so I opened a 
terminal and typed

the response:
powernowd: PowerNow Daemon v0.97, (c) 2003-2006 John Clemens
Go away, you are not root. Only root can run me.

made me smile :-)
Not only is is green, but it has Attitude!
alan cocks
Kubuntu user#10391

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