GNOME Proposal Aims To Make GNOME Applications More Environment Friendly By Optimizing Them
Endless OS developer Philip Withnall held a presentation at this years annual GUADEC GNOME conference where he proposes that GNOME applications get labels telling end-users about their carbon footprint. He had one additional proposal for making GNOME applications more environmental friendly, which was barely mentioned as a footnote, that makes a whole lot more sense: Optimize the GNOME applications so they are more responsive, faster and less CPU intensive.
Software uses electricity which creates carbon pollution in third world countries where they still use gas and coal to produce electricity. Image by marcinjozwiak on pixabay.com.
This years annual GNOME GUADEC conference is being held virtually due to current world events.
Endless OS developer Philip Withnall held a long presentation at this years virtual GUADEC where he proposes that GNOME developers measure how much electricity the applications they develop consume on user systems and warn users about the carbon footprint. Slide 24 in his long presentation has one slightly hidden proposal that is very good compared to the rest of it which only focuses on measuring power usage:
"Pulling it all together
- GNOME apps should be labelled with their embodied carbon cost: their share ofthe GNOME project and Foundation overheads, plus their costs for CI andhackfests, in each major release cycle
- We don’t have all the data for that yet, but should collect it
- Reduce those embodied costs (optimise CI, make hackfests carbon-neutral)
- Reduce the marginal costs of your apps (optimise them, and don’t waste the user’s time)"
The proposal for "Improving marginal costs on user systems" has it's own slide (18) with several concrete proposals:
"Improving marginal costs on user systems
- Be used for less time
- Do less work; use less network
- Do work faster; use the network more efficiently
- Cache better"
Many recent GNOME design decisions already help with the goal that GNOME "Be used for less time". Users choosing more usable, feature-rich KDE software instead of GNOME "apps" will probably not help the environment. The rest of the proposals for reducing cost on end-user systems would not only help the environment in back-wards parts of the world where they still use gas and coal to generate power, it would also greatly improve the end-user experience.
We wholeheartedly support the initiative to make GNOME applications faster, more responsive and less resource-wasteful and we hope it results in something positive. Only time will tell.