Thursday, 11 October 2007

Can we produce a green software project

Just recently there has been lots of talk and drum beating in the IT press([1]-[5]) about making software more green. But what does it mean? What has to be done to produce green software? Does it mean a vast change in development practices? Or is it all just about the hardware!

Those of you who have met me will know that I try to ensure I do my bit for the environment and that I care about where my food comes from. But as a software and hardware consumer I have only really made token efforts to be green in this area of life. Where I can I do try to recycle my old computers and components around my family before passing the machines on to Charity's that can then make further use of them. As for software I have tried to use open source where possible, but that is more to do with the concept than being green.

But what is green software. To me it is about changing practice ever so slightly. I think of reuse where possible. This means that I am being more efficient and the code I develop can be reused not only by myself, but also by my colleagues and the wider community. We are an open source development project after all.

But is there any opportunity to go further? Well I think so, one consideration should be; do we need to have paper copies of everything that is produced, or is publishing online sufficient. Hang on, does this then pass the printing dilemma on to the person who wishes to read the report or document? But is that the projects responsibility?

We could also consider a vast wealth of other possible things that we could do as a project including; how we travel, how we hold meetings (do we really need to travel or can we hold the meeting online), what the institution we are based in is doing generally etc. The list could go on and on, but I do think that it is something that we can all consider and it may just also improve how software is developed and run.


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