Green IT is about saving power in offices and data centres, so my definition of brown IT is about making the best use of the existing kit you have. This is good for two reasons, it saves you money as you don’t have to buy new hardware, and it saves vital resources.
You will see loads of stuff telling how energy efficient all the latest laptops and servers are but the materials need to make a 2Kg laptop weigh in at over 1200Kg the chief culprits being the chips and circuit boards. Another way to look at this that only a quarter of the power used by a laptop is used while it is running, the other three quarters are used to make it, and this doesn’t consider the cost of disposal. So the environmental benefits of replacing hardware less often outweigh the power savings by upgrading to the latest gear.
This is why I would say Windows 7 is better for the planet, either you can repurpose old kit to run it as is or perform a modest upgrade.
Of course upgrading the software can be hard, and in my village they don’t have software assurance with it’s shiny desktop optimisation pack, they don’t have Windows Deployment Services , they haven’t got System Center etc. they’ve got me!
I used to dread doing this sort of thing because consumer PCs are just so varied,possibly reflecting their owners! But it is all just so much less hard work than it used to be with XP – you may not remember how much fun that was to upgrade from Windows 95/98/SE, but I do!
A good recent example is my neighbour Chris. He’s got an old Dell running XP with an after fit Hauppage TV tuner, web cam, an old HP printer etc, This all just quietly upgraded to Windows 7 while we had a glass of wine and tried to play Beatles Rock Band. Of course he’s got to reinstall all his software, but actually that’s a great opportunity to have a good old clear out, and apart from a copy of Office, most of his software is bought online. He’s kept the keys and passwords for these other applications (which is essential for disaster recovery) so he just pulled down the latest version of each one and he was all set.
So if you didn’t feel like holding a Windows 7 launch party, maybe you could keep yourself in beer and nibbles over the festive season by hawking your upgrade expertise in your neighbourhood, it certainly works for me!