Home Science Energy Reduce your Linux PC's power consumption through smart activity monitors

Reduce your Linux PC's power consumption through smart activity monitors

A new tip in IBM's developerWorks shows you how to monitor application usage, system attributes, and user activity to more effectively use the power-management systems of your Linux laptop or desktop computer.

The developerWorks website is IBM's premier technical resource for software developers, providing a wide range of tools, code, and education on AIX and UNIX, Information Management, Lotus, Rational, Tivoli, WebSphere, and Workplace, as well as on open standards technology such as Java technologies, Linux, SOA and Web services, XML, and more.

Recent developerWorks articles include An introduction to XML User Interface Language (XUL) development about building desktop apps with the XUL runtime environment under Firefox 3.0. 

This is a tutorial in which you start to program in XUL, learn about some tools to help you develop XUL apps, and assemble an XUL-based blog editor as you enhance your Web development skills to build desktop apps with XUL.

There's also Build Java EE applications with IBM Rational Application Developer and WebSphere Application Server about creating an end-to-end Java EE application to build a JPA entity, a session bean that calls the JPA, a servlet that invokes the session bean, and a Web page that calls the servlet.

Another tutorial is Install and configure an enterprise-level Web server about integrating the IBM HTTP Server in modern enterprise environments or as a stand-alone web server.

This tutorial explains why IBM HTTP Server, a key component of IBM WebSphere Application Server, is also an excellent choice as a stand-alone Web server because of its standard configuration and seamless upgrade path for evolving enterprise Web environments.

And how about Wicket: A simplified framework for building and testing dynamic Web pages? No, it won't assist the Australian cricket team, much as they seem to need help after yesterday's defeat by India in the 4th test match.

Wicket is an object-oriented approach to developing dynamic Web-based UI applications. Because Wicket is pure Java and HTML code, you can leverage your knowledge about Java to write applications based on Wicket, dramatically reducing your development time.

Unlike frameworks based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) model, such as Struts, Wicket takes away from you the task of handling request/response objects, which is inherent with technologies such as servlets. By taking away this task, Wicket allows you to concentrate on the application's business logic.

The above is all very meaty stuff, but developerWorks has other sorts of handy articles too, some of them not quite so draining on the old grey matter.


Today, for those of you who use Linux desktop or notebook PCs, I would like to draw your attention to a new IBM developerWorks article: Reduce your PC's power consumption through smart activity monitors.

Any PC manufactured after 2000 should provide hardware and software capable of reducing power consumption.

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) and the power configuration systems built into modern computers provide a wide range of options for reducing overall power consumption.

Linux and its associated user space programs have many of the tools necessary to master your PC power consumption in a variety of contexts.

"Much of the current documentation focuses on modifying your kernel parameters and hdparm settings to reduce unnecessary disk activity. In addition, extensive documentation is available for changing your processor settings to maximize the benefits of dynamic frequency scaling based on your current power source."

This article provides code and links to tools for building on these power-saving measures by monitoring your application-usage patterns.

You can use the techniques presented in the article to change your power settings based on the application in focus, user activity, and general system performance.

You'll need a modern Linux kernel, and it helps to have a Linux distribution with many of the power-saving tools built in.

However, simply blanking a screen or triggering an automatic shutdown can provide substantial power-consumption benefits.

Older hardware or those without ACPI capability, the article says, should still find the code presented here useful.

So here's a chance for Linux users to go a bit greener, courtesy of some free guidance from IBM developerWorks.

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Tony Austin

Worked at IBM from 1970, for a quarter century, then founded Asia/Pacific Computer Services to provide IT consulting and software development services (closed company at end of 2013). These says am still involved with IT as an observer and commentator, as well as attempting to understand cosmology, quantum mechanics and whatever else will keep my mind active and fend off deterioration of my grey matter.