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Is Linux harmful to the environment?

  1. Aug 1, 2008 #1
    It seems Linux simply does not have the power options that Windows has, such as hibernation, sleep mode, fan control, AMD cool and quiet, and if it does have them they're usually hard to implement (at least compared to windows) or they cause problems. It seems I've seen a lot of problems with APCI.

    (In fact, when I googled "Linux" and "sleep" I got a lot of people who had nothing but problems with it, such as here and here.)

    Plus, the monitoring tools aren't as good. I use superkaramba, but it was somewhat difficult to install and I had to go looking for the good monitoring tools.

    I also think Linux users have a tendency to be people who leave their comptuers on all the time, as Linux takes a long time to boot.
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  3. Aug 1, 2008 #2


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    For sure my Windows XP boot much longer than Linux on my server. And server is 400 MHz, while my main machine is DualCore 2.66 GHz.

    But you are right about ACPI problems.
  4. Aug 1, 2008 #3
    I don't know about any laptop problems but usually the reason why google searches result in problems is because Linux has a much bigger and better society and communication than Windows. What do you mean by monitoring tools? Could you be a little bit more specific? The reason why Linux takes too long to boot is because of the fact that by default a whole load of stuff is loaded at boot. As most of these you never actually use, you can just switch them off which saves boot time. I can tell you that my box takes less than a minute to boot.

    Linux is still developing and I admit that the hardware support may not be as good as Windows (for rare hardware) but the guys working on Linux have a much harder time as hardware is not made "Linux ready".

    On the whole I would say its a great OS full of software that is much much better than Windows equivalents (like xgl). It is a tinker box, it gives you the freedom to screw up your computer big time. In all honesty I'm proud that my 2.8Gz celeron, 768mb ram, nvidia 6600 can run desktop effects with ease.
  5. Aug 1, 2008 #4


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    I don't know. I have at home an XP box which has been running almost uninterrupted 24hr/day for about 5 years now even when I'm on a holiday (no, when I'm off for more than 1 week, I switch it off :smile: ). It is for different reasons, mainly because in winter it heats the apartment, but the main reason is that it's also the printer server and so on, and it's a pain to boot it (the backup utility takes about 20 minutes to get its act together). But it has a screen saver :tongue:
    On my portable, ubuntu boots in a minute or two. Much faster than the original vista btw.
  6. Aug 2, 2008 #5
    Is there any even remotely sensible manner in which this is true?

    Then you'd be wrong, not least for the fact that you seem unwilling to distinguish between what constitutes the operating system and what constitutes (third-party) software. I can think of only a handful of examples of Linux software that could reasonably make the claim to being "much better" than Windows equivalents. Interestingly, few of the examples that spring to mind (top, gzip, cat, screen, etc) are "Linux" software per se; they're almost exclusively legacy UNIX applications that were ported to run under the Linux kernel. And before anyone starts, I say the above as someone who divides my time equally between (various distros of) Linux and OS X.

    With reference to the OP's question, I and, I imagine, many others, couldn't care less about whether Linux is "harmful to the environment." It's a question that is utterly devoid of content.
  7. Aug 2, 2008 #6
    My laptop has all of its ACPI functions enabled, but it does not resume from sleep if I am using the closed-source driver from NVIDIA. This is because NVIDIA is an evil company that artificially differentiates their line of graphics cards by using drivers to disable features in 'cheaper' cards. For this reason they will never release the specifications of their cards so that fully accelerated open source drivers can be written. The problem is that when the team makes a change to the Linux Kernel, something like sleep might break because the NVIDIA driver is no longer compatible, which is a problem because no one can get inside the NVIDIA driver to fix it.

    Instead I am forced to use the open-source NVIDIA driver with no hardware acceleration, since this is a work machine for which sleep is more important then fancy effects.

    The best way to avoid this problem, is to only buy laptops with Intel graphics if you plan to use Linux. Intel is an honest company that released their card specifications, so that open source drivers have been made. Intel cards produce less heat then NVIDIA's, but of course they do not process graphics as quickly.

    Did you expect to find blog posts like this: "I just installed Linux on my PC, and it's working great, especially the sleep" ? My point is that most people post when they have a problem. Especially when there is a huge community as GNU/Linux has.

    That is much too general of a statement! A corrupted install of linux can be very slow to boot (same for windows), but otherwise any of the main distros wipe the floor with Window's boot time.

    Ultimately, computers with GNU/Linux installed will use less power for these three reasons:

    1) When the computer is idling, it truly is idling with 0% CPU use. Vista and XP hardly ever fall below 5% CPU usage, even when the user is doing nothing.

    2) MS Windows is bad at managing hardware resources, so it is constantly probing your hard drives, disk drives, flash drives, etc.

    3) Most 3D games are played on MS Windows, and the majority of power consumed by a home PC is used to play 3D games.
  8. Aug 2, 2008 #7
    <snip>senseless rant about various hardware companies and their relative virtues in the eyes of $DEITY</snip>

    Ignoring the fact that the time required to boot depends entirely on how one judges the system to have booted (for instance, is Linux "booted" when the filesystems are brought up, or is it really booted only when X starts up and is ready to accept a login?), this wouldn't seem to accord at all with most people's experience. Moreover, if you restrict attention to the major distros only I think you'll find that they boot significantly more slowly than a fresh or reasonably well maintained Windows installation will on the same hardware.

    Ultimately, unless there are actually problems that prevent a Linux machine from booting, the question of which operating system boots most quickly is functionally meaningless since the question is itself so vague.

    Nope. Not even close, actually.

    Again, utter nonsense, particularly within the context of a discussion about how an entire operating system can't seem to figure out a reliable way to manage sleep and hibernation.

    Presumably you have some source of reliable data with which to support this claim? Because otherwise, y'know, it would kind of fall under the heading of "a really rather silly thing to say."
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2008
  9. Aug 2, 2008 #8
    My Vista system idles BELOW 5%, all the time. It idles at between 0 and 1%, at least according to the resource monitor. I used a third party monitor on XP and also it was not idling at over 1 or 2%

    The biggest power consumption concern is from leaving your computer on while you're not at it, which is why one of the ways to cut down your carbon footprint according to some environmental sites I've seen is to put it into "sleep" or "hibernation" mode (however, this is not available on my Linux system).

    As for Nvidia, I'm actually just glad they made drivers at all for Linux. I remember trying to install the crap from Direct Rendering Infastructure on an old Red hat 7.2 system with a Voodoo 3 card and it was absolute HELL compared to the problems of Nvidia. It just wouldn't work.

    I mean, there is no comparison at all to what the hassle that DRI was compared to NVIDIA, where there is just one command to installation, really. It would be like comparing Linux power saving features to that of windows. I could never get it to work on any system, so I just switched to NVIDIA 3d.
  10. Aug 2, 2008 #9
    As for the topic title, yes, it's an attention grabber.

    GNU/Linux also doesn't have very good programs for people who have trouble seeing or are hard of hearing compared to the numerous windows options for people who are handicapped, for example, it's harder to make font size changes universal, so if I was to make a thread about that I guess I could write "Is Linux more discriminatory against the handicapped?"

    Both statements are technically accurate, Linux is designed by hackers, and it doesn't have as good of end-user power utility features, and I figure every once in a while Linux could use some good natured ribbing.

    Plus, I do love hearing about how Linux has better programs than windows, and the current "problem" is everybody else's fault but Linux. It reminds me why I still like to use Linux in the first place :)

    The point was not to bash linux, merely to inquire. It may have came from a tad bit of frustration - I've already given up with Linux power saving techniques. I've got about the same system as that guy with Fedora core 8, except I use a prior version of Fedora, and I've got it configured exactly the way I want it.

    I can't even get lm_sensors to work, and I really don't want to have the problem where the PC can't be woken up.

    The point I was making was that the end-user (and this is important, because articles on the net have claimed Linux is indeed the "Green OS" when it comes to servers, which even the article I read admitted Windows had some good power management techniques, and I'm not sure their conclusions were to be believed) power-management options I don't believe are as good as their windows equivalents.

    The second largest power consumption factor, behind your cpu usage, is your hard drive activity. That's what makes a feature like "hibernate" so important, and the fact is some people will indeed turn off their disks through a feature like "hibernate" or put their computer to "sleep" while they're not at it.

    In Linux, it is just a hassle to do this on a desktop OS. So, if you had a company that was thinking of switching to Linux, it would become a concern. Yes, you could hire someone who knows Linux to come and set up the power option utilities. But the fact is, they're more confusing than that of windows, thus they're less likely to be used, and, as shown, they're more likely to cause problems should a certain feature be updated (such as a graphics card update).

    I also can't get AMD "Cool 'n' Quiet" to work because I don't have the right kernel version. However, I can recompile a kernel and I will try and get that going at a later time (this is another good features as it cuts power consumption of your CPU for you).

    Many people on this forum have talked about making the "switch" to Linux, many people also are environmentally concerned and are trying to cut down on their energy usage, saving costs in addition to their the environment.

    So they indeed might be interested in knowing that there are problems with Linux and end-user power consumption as compared to windows (and this is esp. true if they own a notebook, where it is near essential to have a "hibernate mode," although I admit I mostly just use the monitor saving techniques, which are easier to use in Linux and come pre-installed and configured).
  11. Aug 2, 2008 #10

    Again, I wasn't trying to really bash Linux. Even if we concede that Linux doesn't have as good of power saving techniques as windows on the desktop (I never mentioned "laptop," I use Vista on my laptop), it would probably only be a minimal difference for the average user.

    The real way to cut down on PC consumption, if you're concerned about it, would be to turn the thing off while you're not at and not going to use it for a while.

    I've used Linux since I got Red Hat 5.2 with a book on Linux from the Library, and have been pretty much hooked ever since.

    I use both operating systems regularly.

    I would say the hardware support is not as good as windows for mainstream hardware - there is no comparison between NVIDIA drivers for linux and that of windows. Yes, this indeed may be more the fault of NVIDIA than Linux, however, Linux has been around a long time and it's never really been as good as windows for end-user 3d apps.

    Also, sound is not as good.

    Supposedly, though, the playstation 3, James Cameron's "Titanic," etc. all were designed or used the "power of Linux" during their development, just like some high end Linux systems actually save more powr than the Windows' equivalents.

    That is just another situation where on the high-end, linux can be better, but for the average user, it's probably worse in some ways.

    I agree somewhat. I actually like some window apps better. And I'm already a Linux convert, I use it, but I'm not a complete convert, I use windows as well.

    Merely making the point that Linux could use some work on its power management tools.

    Anyway, you can use windows programs on linux with wine. There's a minor performance hit (very minor comared to VMware), and not all apps work, but it's a good feature.

    Edit: When I search for "Linux games" or "Linux firewall," the first thing I get is usually a tutorial.

    I was just surprised that the first thing I got when I googled Linux and sleep techniques (or whatever I used, it didn't contain works like "troubleshoot") were problems with it.
  12. Aug 2, 2008 #11


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    Long time ago, I used Mac, when it 'still made a difference'. I'm talking about the 90-ies. Ok, a mac was about 2 or 3 times more expensive than a DOS/windows box at that time, but the difference in user-friendliness was so huge that it was worth the money. Then windows improved and mac declined: it was difficult to find cracked software for mac, while there was lots of it for windows, and windows became usable with win-98. IMO, it wasn't worth the price difference anymore. So I switched to windows. Unfortunately, that was at the time that windows ME was brought out, and that was such a terrible mess, that I bought (yes!) an XP licence all together to install it on the computer that had ME pre-installed. In the mean time, the trick was to get cracked office and other software. I even bought some software ! Trouble with updates and all that: always requesting money. And the vaguely unsatisfying idea that 3/4 of what's on your computer is in fact "illegal".

    So that's where linux gets my vote: you can have a fully legal system on your machine for nothing, with software that works more or less correctly. Probably it works less well than commercial software, but, as way back with mac, the difference isn't worth the price. At least I don't have to chase anymore cracked versions, and I can have a fully legal computer (must be the first time since I touched computers that I have a fully legal system :-)

    As to power saving, it's usually the first thing I disable on most computers (except for the screen saver), when they are on the grid (not when they are on batteries of course). If I leave a computer on, I want it to be on, not sleeping. If I want it sleeping, can just as well switch it off. Electricity here is nuclear, doesn't have a carbon footprint (but it does have a bill, of course, but that bill is reasonably low that I don't notice it).
  13. Aug 4, 2008 #12


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    Linux goes green!

    Please see the following initiative:
    http://linuxfoundation.org/en/Green_Linux (Green Linux)

    Please join the power management mailing list or read the archives located here (for those seeking more info):
    Also, please see the links sections for other linux power management information. When people complain about power management issues it is usually because they have failed to configure it properly or are unaware about the available options.
  14. Aug 6, 2008 #13
    It's not "supposed", the PS3 runs Linux and Titanic was rendered using it, from what I read very long ago.
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