Could "Upgrading" to Microsoft Windows-Vista cause "environmental disaster"?

A number of campaigners have criticized the heavy technological burden the new system will bring.

The Green Party for example has recently claimed that the combination of new hardware and "paranoid" software restrictions would afflict users and the environment.

To be able to utilize Vista's capabilities fully, many users will need to buy expensive add-ons, or buy an entirely new system.
"There will be thousands of tonnes of dumped monitors, video cards and whole computers," said Sian Berry, the Green Party's principal speaker. "Future archaeologists will be able to identify a Vista upgrade layer when they go through our landfill sites."

Windows Vista home upgrade

Members of the European Parliament representing the Green Party and the European Free Alliance (EFA) believe that Europe's software industry would get a substantial boost if the EU and the European Parliament migrated their IT systems onto free and open-source software.

The Green-EFA group will argue its case at a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday, having already written to the secretary general of the European Parliament, Julian Priestly, to explain their reasoning.

"We would like the Parliament, in liaison with the other European institutions, to plan to either begin phasing open source software into the IT system, or to give the choice between open source and proprietary software of the Microsoft type to the people who use software in the institutions," wrote Monica Frassoni and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-presidents of the Green/EFA group.

"We truly believe that by taking a step in this direction, the European Parliament could demonstrate its desire to respond to the expectations of its constituents while still remaining in touch with technological developments," Frassoni and Cohn-Bendit added.

So what's the alternative?

Now that the long awaited Vista OS has finally arrived it will potentially do more harm than good by 'forcing' users to upgrade their hardware to take advantage of some of the enhanced features, according to a statement posted on the eco-political party's site yesterday.

To avoid increasing energy consumption and further damaging an already frail environment, the party is urging users, on both the consumer and business side, to turn their attention away from Vista and towards free software.

"Vista requires more expensive and energy-hungry hardware, passing the cost on to consumers and the environment," said Derek Wall, the party's male principal speaker.

"This will also further exclude the poor from the latest technology, and impose burdensome costs on small and medium businesses who will be forced to enter another expensive upgrade cycle."
See here if your PC can run Vista?

Ubuntu Linux operating system.

He added: "Free software can run on existing hardware, reduces licensing costs for small businesses and affords important freedoms to consumers. The UK Government should capitalize on this opportunity to promote the use of free software in public bodies."

What do Microsoft have to say?

In response to the issues raised by the Green Party's statement, Matt Lambert, director of Government Affairs at Microsoft UK, said: "We believe Windows Vista and Microsoft 2007 Office reflect Microsoft's deep commitment to the shared interests of customers, the technology industry, communities and governments worldwide.

"Environmental issues are important to us all and we believe we are making important steps towards reducing the environmental footprint of our products and the hardware on which they run. We would be keen to have the opportunity to meet Siân and other members of the Green party to address their concerns."

We will have to wait and see, but we strongly urge you not to upgrade to Vista if you share the concerns outlined here, Green ISP would suggest a look at Ubuntu Linux or Red Hat Linux, all which are freely available to order or download.

You will be almost certainly to benefit from these alternatives and at the same time keep your existing hardware.
Jan/Feb 2007