I attended a meeting of Sun’s European public policy team, where we discussed a number of things, including Sun’s critical public policy initiatives, open source and green computing. At the time, I posted two blog articles on my sun/oracle blog, and this is an omnibus version of those postings, created in July 2016 and back dated.
Richard Barrington, who doesn’t blog as often as he should, Sun’s Green Lantern, introduced the day’s keynote speaker, Craig Bennett, from Cambridge University’s Programme for Industry. He spoke about the science of climate change. He used a combination of his own slides,and Al Gore’s which reminds me I still haven’t seen “an inconvenient truth“.
Greenhouse gases are at an all time historical high. Unless we stop producing them, this will continue. Some natural (and a few human) processes consume carbon. The amount of green house gases in the atmosphere determine the temperature of the earth. The Stern Report talks about the potential effects of changes in the average temperature and argues it is possible to restrict the growth in green house gases, but the world needs to act in concert.
Craig’s web site states that he led CPI’s work on the Bali Commuiniqué which brought together 170 global companies in support of a comprehensive, legally-binding United Nations framework to tackle climate change and generated global media attention, Sun was a signatory and is an active participant in the CPI’s activities.
He also repeated Gore’s slides about how science and journalists treat the issues, by comparing the weight of scientific peer reviewed papers versus the balance of media coverage. There were no scientists arguing that the level of green house gases are not dangerous. Science has agreed that green house gases cause climate change, and that human activity contributes to the dangerous level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The majority of press coverage was opposed to this view. (2006).
When asked his opinion about what might be done, he firstly suggested that the politicians haven’t really got to grips with the importance and inexorability of climate change and that another major western city will need a New Orleans style disaster before they take it seriously, but his other, possibly more low key suggestions were
- there is no silver bullet, we need silver buckshot
- tax bad things not good things i.e. can we discriminate between clean & dirty energy, its a bit tricky with a 17½% VAT on everything
- government procurement should prioritise low carbon goods
This is what the Guardian said about the Stern Report, when it was first published.
Simon Phipps, introduced us to his reworking of “Software Market 3.0”. Its now called “An Adoption-Led Business Model In Action”. One illustration of how free creates adoption and innovation is that Open Solaris now has 750 projects. He then explored the nature and role of free licences. There is or should be agreement about the nature and purposes of the main types of free licences, although we can all get into the “mine’s better than yours” arguments, which while being fun, aren’t usually a good use of time. Simon pointed out that a number of the free licences are considering or adopting non-aggression clauses.
One fear is that as the free licenses gather momentum, intellectual property owners will seek to defend themselves using trademarks. It may become very difficult to make new trademarks since they’re all taken. Once, I was stupid enough to believe someone who told me that IBM had trademarked all the numbers between 1000 and 9999. (It was a long time ago, I am bit more cynical now.)
He also brought us up to date with our work on open document standards, it seems we and more and more users are coming to the belief that users should choose a document’s format not product authors. One of the critical issues with a proprietary format, is that the product authors decide when a standard is obsolete, not the document owner/author.
This is a reposting of two article that originally appeared on my sun/oracle blog, called Saving the Planet and Thinking about what Open means; this article was posted in July 2016.