Keep It Green

Inspired by a rant about shoddy quality, and a particularly heinous bug, I am compelled to get on my own soapbox.

Software is a wonderfully green technology. Or it can be, when it’s done right. Remember when AOL used to market its service in magazines, which then had to be plastic-wrapped to keep the free AOL disc inside? What a waste! These days we’re better: banner ads, viral marketing, and old-fashioned PR have a much lighter carbon footprint.

HP3100Software upgrades are green, too – no trips to Goodwill or the Salvation Army to get rid of the old bits. But there it gets tricky. I had to replace a perfectly good printer a couple years ago because it wasn’t supported on the upgraded operating system. What a waste!

Toshiba R100Just this week, a software upgrade made my 5-year-old light-weight laptop unusable. If I can’t get a fix, I’ll have to replace the operating system, or worse, the laptop. I don’t care how recyclable they make the new computers, replacing old ones that should still be working is wasteful.

Vista security shieldAnd don’t get me started on all of the Vista software upgrades on my workhorse laptop. Seems every night when I go to logout, that irksome little shield tells me there’s something else wrong with the software, and it’ll be happy to fix that for me before shutting down. Right. What is it this time? Some bug that slipped past the test team? Or some cursed hacker’s idea of a good time? I’d like to know how many extra hours this machine’s been powered up, just doing upgrades.

So to all my friends and colleagues in the software business: while you’re busy designing and developing and testing and marketing and distributing all that cool new software, please, please, remember, keep it green.

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