What is more energy efficient, source based or binary?
There are distros like Gentoo which are source based, meaning that you have to download and compile the source of a program on your computer to use it. And then there are, the majority, binary distros where you can install pre-compiled packages ready to install immediately.
So I was wondering, in relation to energy efficiency, which of the two is better overall? Compiling certainly spends much more of the CPU and hence more energy, but since every program has to be compiled somewhere, if you don't compile it someone else on some other computer will.
So the question pretty much comes down to how many times a program gets compiled in a source based world and how many times in a world of pre-compiled distribution. Where compiling happens less, there is more energy efficiency and overall less carbon footprint.
So what do you think?