Skip to main content
Welcome guest. | Register | Login | Post

Gentoo...the Environment's Killer?

I'm wondering if Gentoo desktop installations are a good thing for the environment. When I don't need my computer I tend to switch it off, since it'll only take some minute to start it up again if I want it.

But I find with Gentoo I must leave my computer on all night sometimes for things to compile. I would normally switch my computer off overnight - to save the environment, the electricity bills and so that I have less background noise when sleeping.

But since Gentoo compiles things my computer must be on when I don't want it to be for me to get an up to date system. With a binary distribution it doesn't usually take more than some half hour to download a set of updates and install them - thus the computer may be on less, and use less electricity.

Servers don't get affected by this logic since they run 24/7 anyway. I'm sure there is some kind of hole in this theory, and I have yet collected any evidence, thus it's rather hypothetical.


Alot of people have their

Alot of people have their computers on and connected all the time no matter if they need it to do something overnight or not, except if you'd consider idling in an IRC channel a "need" (though it has its benefits).

But if it is really an environmental concern then it may be more worthy to switch off rather than keep on all the time.

The thing is, though, at least for me, that I'm now kinda used to having it on all the time and available at the move of a mouse (with the ability to scroll up on IRC to see what's been happening for example). Smiling

Let's see if there is a hole in the theory... does keeping computers on all the time really pose anyhow significant environmental threat?

Well I'm not very sure on

Well I'm not very sure on how Computers consume energy. I'm not sure if you have a 400W PSU if it transfers 400J of energy each second throughout the day, or if 400J each second.

If it's the former, you'r using (with a 400W PSU) 34560000J of energy a day. I'm not sure how much that is in coal, gas or oil (I havn't found anything insearching yet - but I'd love to find out), but it seems rather a lot. Though this is only for the first senario of how PSU's work and thus may be flawed.

It will consume less when

It will consume less when it's not doing anything, especially if you have CPU frequency scaling (and configured it properly). But compiling isn't exactly "doing nothing", so yes gentoo is bad for the environment.

You can save a lot on your energy bill by replacing your 60W lamps by 10W energy saving ones. Now consider how many lightbulbs you would have to replace to make up for not switching off a 400W computer.

All my power supplies are

All my power supplies are quite low voltage, not more than 150W and only mine is usually kept all the time. Sisters shut it off.

But that's only maximum power. If it's just idling then it doesn't spend all of it, right? (And monitor is off of course).

No I wouldn't think so. If

No I wouldn't think so.

If you were compiling all day or something you'd use some 12960000J of enegry, which is 0.375 times that of a 400W PSU.

Maybe there should be a drive for lower capacity PSUs?

Haha, god knows what made

Haha, god knows what made you think of this one Dylunio.

Very apt point. I do turn most of my desktops off, mainly due to my mum moaning, but I keep my laptop on sleep. Which while it uses a bit of 'lecky can't be more than a whole sys running!

I do think tho..that most linux users do actually leave their computer on, as apposed to shutting down. Whether they are using a binary or source based distro(remembering other distro's like sourcemage, lfs).


I'd be interesting to poll

It would be interesting to poll people about keeping computers on all the time.

EDIT: Added poll: link

heh, good idea

heh, good idea


I notice nobody mentioned ESA (Electromagnetic and Sonic Addiction [Copyright])?
Well, and just the basic gluttony of modern society, which has become a prerquisite for a "normal" life. :-)

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.