back to article Microsoft slings sack of green at US universities

Microsoft has handed over half a million dollars to four US universities doing research into green computing. The software giant, which has recently been building power-chugging data centres across the globe to beef up its web-based onslaught, said yesterday that it hoped the research would help develop techniques to lower …


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  1. Joe Montana


    This is all rather hypocritical, from a company coming out with increasingly bloated software that subsequently requires ever more powerful hardware to run.

    Most people do the same things on their computers today as they did 10 years ago, and theyre not getting done any quicker, just using massively more resources to run ever more bloated software written in higher level languages with more performance killing layers of abstraction.

    Instead, you could have small efficient software - like people had to write years ago, running on systems with equivalent performance to a few years ago (which was more than adequate at the time) but produced with modern manufacturing processes to consume a fraction of the power.

    Modern cellphones are already far more powerful than full sized computers of a few years ago, there's no reason why the workings of a cellphone couldn't drive a full size display and run everything the average user needs.

    For that matter, why not connect a cellphone to a bluetooth keyboard and an external monitor, and you can carry your computer with you wherever you go.

  2. Steve Woods
    Gates Horns

    Tokenism from a bunch of hypocrites

    This is just small change to salve MS' conscience after producing a dog of an OS that requires a high-powered beast of a machine on which to run.

    As for low-powered computing* this has already been done (e.g. LTSP and thin clients); it's just that Redmond's radar cannot spot it.

    * e.g. 20 workstation mobile suite & server laptop power consumption = 500 W.

  3. Torben Mogensen

    Bloat is not the only problem

    Bloatware is, indeed, a major part of the problem, as it (as Joe said) requires more power to do the same job. But there are other factors at work:

    1. Most computers these days are put on standby instead of being switched completely off. This is partly due to slow boot times (bringing us back to bloat), but also due to laziness on th epart of the users.

    2. Games are becoming increasingly power hungry, not due to bloat as such but due to increasing demands on graphics hardware (which is a major power consumer in a typical gaming PC).

    3. Wireless access. Wireless networks require more power than cable-based networks, and users tend to leave their wireless router switched on all the time.

    4. More computers. A few years ago, most homes had (at most) a single computer shared by all family members. Now it is common for each to have their own, which are in use at the same time.

    5. Power use not a competitive factor. Few home users look at power use when they buy a computer. CPU power, RAM, HD space, graphics card power and optical drive capabilities are much more important. In fact, few shops can even tell you the power usage of the PCs they sell.

    I suspect that power use won't drop until it is required of PC sellers to clearly indicate the yearly cost of leaving the computer on four hours per day and on stand-by the remaining 20 hours per day. That might make buyers think a bit about power.

  4. Craig McCormick
    Gates Horns

    Not much, is it?

    Half a million bucks in funding, split four ways? That's going to go a long way, isn't it? And as for Hypocritical, I think Joe Montana, above, has hit the nail on the head. Microsoft's bloat has been responsible for a steady upwards curve in the power consumption of the world's computers, for way too long now.

    Half a million bucks? It's not even a start. Big, nonsensical, PR joke!

  5. Ian Michael Gumby

    Not so much hypocritical as a cheap PR move...

    I have to concur with Joe.

    There's a company that ran tons of SQLServer boxes. They bought a company that ran Informix (Now IBM)'s IDS. Now just the electrical costs of running all those SQLServer boxes, they could afford the IDS licenses. Or so the story goes.

    (Its actually a true story, but I can't say who the company is. ;-)

    The point is that yes, Microsoft writes horrible bloated software that runs slow.

    Unfortunately to Joe's point. The number of software developers was much smaller than it is today. And most of those actually earned CS degrees. Now you have many more 10 week wonders running around.

    But hey! What do I know? I'm one of those old guys still keeping my hands dirty ...

  6. Matt
    Gates Halo


    Good Bill gates, as i really cant comment what with 1700watts (700watts idle!) of SGI onyx sitting in the lounge!

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Come on please, run a hi-res display from a cell phone? I can only assume that is a humerous post. Just for the record, a typical PC of today running Vista consumes less power than a typical PC bought at the time of XP release running XP. Hardware has a lot to do with that, it is getting more efficient. That said games are driving ever spiralling hardware and power requirements, but you don't have to buy into that, and you don't need a full on games machine to run Vista. This is posted from a 1.6GHz Core 2 duo with 2 Gb of ram and Intel integrated graphics (snicker).

    If you want to criticize OS software, fire up a Macbook running OSX and a similar PC running Vista and see which chews through its battery first. My current Lenovo X61 uses 12 Watts on battery when I am active running Vista Ultimate.

    If any of you want to hold up Google as the golden child, I would ask you of the four main Data Centre operators in the US, which is the only company not to release a Carbon Statement? I believe the four are Google, Yahoo, Amazon and Microsoft, and the only non-participant starts with a G.

  8. Tuomo Stauffer


    Everyone saying it's hypocritical is right! MS can be anything but green today - their systems and applications use more cycles and more (on desktop) graphics (i.e. hotter cards) than anyone else. They really have to do more - they are doing in some areas but green - no! Even with enhanced, lower power systems, MS systems just seem to eat more and more. I have to laugh when I remember the days when people were complaining that the systems used more than 10% of cycles compared to applications! Do you see those complains today??

  9. Dave Nordquist

    They've always been a green company...

    That is to say, they have always been in love with greenbacks. Now it's the environment...

  10. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo

    Good Work

    Hypocritical this, Hypocritical that, better than what Apple or the Linux community have given up I presume.

    Maybe they shouldn't have given anything at all.... dicks.

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