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Since Linux has lower technological overheads than some of the world's "favourite" operating systems, you can get the same, if not then similar, functionality using older hardware... so recycling! Actually this is something that really annoys me! You see schools/hospitals throwing out hardware because it is 'out of date'! How stupid!
When the United Kingdom came out with its October white paper supporting the use of open source software for governmental applications, I was struck by their inclusion of a "green effects" argument for open source. Because I work for an environmental agency (California Air Resources Board), I attempted to compile information on this to add to our argument for open source. I was unable to find a website devoted to the environmental effedts of OSS and so we started one. It is not large, and we are soliciting other citations. Please check us out at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/oss/green/green.htm .
Continuing with the recycling theme, manufacturing one PC (including a display) requires:
240 kilos of fossil fuels
22 kilos of chemicals
1500 liters of water
Currently about 130 million PC's are sold yearly in the united states alone with most "outdated" machines simply removed from use because they are considered to be of no use anymore. At the same time there are approximately 1.1 billion people in the world suffering from the shortage of drinking water.
Lifetime of PC's is at the moment relatively short (I would estimate it to be no longer than 5 years in most cases) although they do work for much longer time if only there would be software to support them. Only 13 countries in the world have somekind on legislation concerning the recycling of computer hardware (needless to say that the forementioned united states is not one of them).
You do the math...
Whoops... the thread seems to be quite old and I only took a look at the time of previous posting. Well, maybe it's a thread worth awakening
If you switched out all those Windows systems that are used just for word processing and other things that dont require a large amount of computing power with Linux, They would almost never have to be thrown out or upgraded until some major computing change took place and that would save a whole bunch, Environmentally speaking.
Cost a lot? Exactly where would these costs be coming? The costs of moving to Linux has been studies extensively and at least the studies commited in my home country have shown no need for massive re-training of the users. The software is free (okay, as in freedom, but commonly also as in beer). Recycling old computers also means that there will not be new hardware costs. Better quality software also requires less maintaining (i.e. less costs of maintaining it) and the working time can actually be used for something productive instead of continuously fixing problems caused by bad design.
I did the environmental posting on 3/28/05 just ahead of yours and was wondering if you can recall the citation for the 13 countries who have a recycling statuatory mandate as I would consider adding this link to my small website on the issue of computer disposal and the environment. Thank you for any assistance you can provide on this matter.
Originally posted by alienDog Cost a lot? Exactly where would these costs be coming? The costs of moving to Linux has been studies extensively and at least the studies commited in my home country have shown no need for massive re-training of the users. The software is free (okay, as in freedom, but commonly also as in beer). Recycling old computers also means that there will not be new hardware costs. Better quality software also requires less maintaining (i.e. less costs of maintaining it) and the working time can actually be used for something productive instead of continuously fixing problems caused by bad design.
Not sure, but did you miss the point?
I suspect that the comment was "tongue in cheek" i.e. that it would have cost a lot - to billyg and his boys. In missed profits etc etc, notwithstanding the lesser numbers of systems that didn't need upgrading in the first place etc etc.
Ha, I mean, let's face it, most big corporates have accounting value of zero on hardware after 3 years - and after than the "bean counters" give them a negative valuation so the balance sheet still shows a "cost". Any extended life of hardware would extend the accountants "marking down" in the hardware value at a slower rate, thereby triggering replacement as a lower/slower rate. But because it's my understanding that Sys A's for linux/unix cost more (ever though they, are apparently, more productive) the number jugglers become very short term/short sighted and just see a "per seat" cost for that system administration.
But hey! don't ask me. I'm a truck driver who happens to run linux !
Well, I set up two Linux boxes for my workplace on old used P-III's that give us the functionality of a P-IV running XP & MS Office. So yes, Linux in a way has promoted "reuse". I never thought of it that way, but these computers were more or less tossed out by some larger cooperation because they'd reached the end of their usefulness. I had to convince the boss that we could do everything we needed to do on a P-III that the home office was using brand spanking new equipment for, but a couple months ago he came up to me laughing with a smile on his face after a meeting at the home office..."we spend so much money on computers!" in a sarcastic voice. He loved the results. I take it that some bean counter at the meeting must have noticed that we re-fit the whole office with used computer systems for about what the main office spends on one new computer (including software).
Now if i can only find a good Linux CAD system, I'll be one happy camper.
bigjohn: Maybe I did miss the point, I'm bad at dealing with sarcasm in english. Especially when it comes to written language
However, the costs of moving to Linux has been a hot topic in recent years and usually these costs are claimed to be caused by the need of retraining people to use the new os as well as need for retraining IT personnel to maintain the new system. There has been no need to re-train common users in most cases, as the differences between systems from the point of view of the end users are insignificant. IT personnel need continuous training anyway, so it's highly questionable wheter training them to maintain UNIX (like) systems is more expensive than training them to maintain new versions of Windows. Especially in the long run. Windows seems to get completely re-arranged with every new version, but the basic structure of UNIX (like) systems stays pretty much the same.
billfell: Ok I've searched high and low, but I don't seem to be able to find the document that talks about computer recycling legislation in the world. It's a United Nations report and about a year or so old.
Ok, though I cannot seem to be able to find the report itself, the UN university seems to have published a book on the subject. You could try to get the book into your hands:
The reason some businesses virtually throw away their old computers may be a tax reason.
for instance ...
Lets say a business buys a computer for $ 1000 and the government ( who-ever ) says the life span is five years. Then the business may depreciate the computer at $ 200 per year and that $ 200 is a claim against tax as it is considered a business expense. However at the end of five years the computer is valued at $ 0 on the books of the business and so must be virtually thrown out as any proceeds from the sale of the computer ( now valued at $0 may be a capital gain ( depending on tax legislation ) and so the business may be liable for tax.
So in reality a business may sell its older gear before it hits zero and if the money recovered is below the book value then there is another tax claim. At any rate the money injected back into the business from the sale may help with actual cash flow.
From an environmental point of view, maybe countries should extend the useful life of computers and software in their tax legislation so that business isn't throwing away perfectly usable gear so often.
Hang on a minute, that would affect production of new computers, and that would affect the jobs of people who make computers. Nah this isn't going to happen.