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What price Freedom (2)?

Let’s take a look at what happens when other Free Software operating systems run on my laptop, in terms of power consumption (and nothing else — I’m not going to explain in detail what’s running on each one, and rest assured that the available apps and toolsets in each of these installs is very different, reflecting what I use each OS for):

  • OpenSolaris, display off, nvidia drivers: 31W
  • OpenSolaris, display on, idle, nvidia drivers: 38W
  • OpenSolaris, display on, disk + network activity, nvidia drivers: 52W
  • Just the power brick: 1W

So it looks like Solaris is marginally (2W) better with power than Kubuntu at idle, and this laptop draws quite a lot in regular use. Maybe Solaris is not switching some hardware feature on, like Bluetooth, rather than being more efficient — but I haven’t noticed anything missing (Bluetooth is not something I’d miss). FreeBSD 8 fares no different — roughly same usage numbers as the other two OSsen.

Many commenters suggested trying the nouveau driver — so I did, whatever is available on Kubuntu 9.04 with no updates applied, and it makes no difference in power consumption, fails utterly at resume-from-suspend (nv got me no video, but I could ssh in, while now it just hangs), and is just as slow on logout as the nv driver. Perhaps there’s newer versions available — not something I’m going to experiment with this week.

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3 Responses to “What price Freedom (2)?”

  1. jkt Says:

    What kind of *laptop* consumes 31W when idling and with display off??? Granted, I’m measuring after the power adaptor, but seeing 15W on a Thinkpad with 14″ screen just begs for improvements…

  2. adridg Says:

    A fat one :) P8400+GF9600; I haven’t tuned this thing at all, so it could be doing all kinds of stuff while I’m not paying attention. Come to think of it, there’s that flashpluginviewer process taking 16% CPU, that’s not a good sign either.

  3. Mkesper Says:

    Fedora has relatively fresh xorg / nouveau versions. (K)ubuntu 9.04 is very dated in that respect!