Environment Variables
How can Open Source Help Reduce Software Emissions?
May 30, 2022
In this episode Asim Hussain is joined by guest Chris Lloyd-Jones; Head of Open Technologies at Avanade and co-chair of the Open Source Working Group at the Green Software Foundation, and Dan Lewis-Toakley; Green Cloud Lead at ThoughtWorks and co-chair of the Open Source Working Group at the Green Software Foundation. They discuss the benefits of open source versus closed source, what tools are already out there and how open source can help reduce software emissions.
In this episode Asim Hussain is joined by guest Chris Lloyd-Jones; Head of Open Technologies at Avanade and co-chair of the Open Source Working Group at the Green Software Foundation, and Dan Lewis-Toakley; Green Cloud Lead at ThoughtWorks and co-chair of the Open Source Working Group at the Green Software Foundation. They discuss the benefits of open source versus closed source, what tools are already out there and  how open source can help reduce software emissions.

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Transcription below:

Chris Lloyd-Jones: If everyone has their data out in the open that they don't feel precious, like they're being compared in a negative way, this incentives to make things better, or you also let all of these open source tools consume from a curated, trusted data source. So open source is almost like that trusted gate for good.

Asim Hussain: So welcome to this podcast episode. My name is Asim Hussain I'm the executive director and chairperson of the Green Software Foundation. And I'm also the green cloud advocacy lead at Microsoft.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Hello. I am Chris Lloyd-Jones. I am one of the co-chairs of the open source working group, that Green Software Foundation. And I'm also head of open technologies at Avanade.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Hi folks. I'm Dan Lewis-Toakley. I'm based in Brooklyn, New York. And I'm also a co-chair of the open-source working group at the Green Software Foundation. And I'm the green cloud lead at ThoughtWorks in North America.

Asim Hussain: it's actually just so amazing to have so many people. Uh, Mike focused on grid software and you know, in these environments. So Chris CLJ Chris Lloyd-Jones. So you are at a conference today and you're talking to people about open source software and green open source software.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah, that's correct. I am at bill today or specifically I'm at the UK chapter in Reading and London. And it's a pretty timely topic based one because I co presented this morning on green software. And there's a really big discussion started with the Green Software Foundation. Then we quickly moved on to CNCF the DPIA and tons of other open source communities.

What was cool is everyone's first thought was how can we work with each other? And also all I see is green software.

Asim Hussain: Yeah. So out of interest, what are people, what is the general impression of people as to what is green software? Cause this is a question which is just, I think, going to constantly be redefined year and year.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: It's interesting actually, because I've seen three broad definitions. The first one was sustainability with technology. So anything from sustainability, like sustainability cloud things like how you track people around your building to make them more efficient. So using technology to make things greener, then there was software.

From my quantity, intrinsically green. So making code greener and less emissions. And I think that the final piece is kind of some combination of the two. So things like using green software for carbon accounting, which was interesting. So I don't really consider that cause I tend to assume that a lot of the accounting protocols that blockchain are inherently not green, which I might be a bit out of date on now, but yeah, three definitions there.

Asim Hussain: When both of you talk about kind of green because you both lead the open-source working group in the foundation. What do you think of when you say, if someone says, what is green open source software, whereas open-source green.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: I can, I can have a stab, uh, same, I suppose, maybe two starting points. One is open source information. I suppose it doesn't necessarily need to be code, right. It could be data or research, but open and readily available tools. Frameworks of research that help enable. Practitioners in the technology space to build software that is green on what we mean by that is software that consumes less energy, particularly dirty energy, and that emits less carbon.

And so we've got quite a wide gambit within the Arkansas working group to sort of explore and discover and help drive and accelerate projects, open source projects that help really enable that space. I think. Been predominantly our focus over the last year, but I think another component is trying to find and understand and accelerate the software itself that is doing things in a green a way.

And so maybe leveraging some of those tools or frameworks that we've discovered, but to help create examples of, you know, software that's written in a Greenaway as sort of a ways for others to learn through that process. So some of the ways that I'd like to think.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah, I guess I probably agree with that. So I liked the way you started. Cause I think about three opens, open data, open software and open hardware. So kind of sharing. Sharing those different approaches to kind of collaboration and making a lot of important information available outside of large corporates for the common.

Good. And then for me, green software, I do think about carbon and reducing electricity, but I also like to think about the planetary boundaries theory, which are pretty, always banging on. But was thinking about in future, how might we think about e-waste pollution and even vague things like land usage, reducing chemicals, which are much harder to, to affect in any way as software engineers, but I still think we could have something.

Asim Hussain: I think, I think that's one of the space that's kind of what the challenges that we've had is. You're trying to get really focused in on this space. I think required a lot of, you know, narrowing down, not on down the targets. And a lot of us really talk about carbon emissions and things like that. But, you know, you're talking a Palm tree bound.

There are other things, there are other problems. Believe it or not. There's other problems in this, in this world other than just carbon emissions. But, and I think you're right. I think we will over time kind of open that, open that gate open. I don't quite feel that way. We're getting there, but I don't feel quite feel like the carbon, the carbon problem has been solved just yet.

Although I was kind of worried, cause I know we'd be trying to Bovis, which is another non and they released actually they released their open source API, the carbon API, and one of the things it does. I forgot Chris, what the different, it, it, it tells you that carbon emissions is it's an API where you can provide it, you know, adjacent.

Description of this is the, these are the machines I'm working on. This is how many, how much CPU or use et cetera, and returns you, not just your carbon emissions estimate, but also think it was primary energy. And I forgot what the other one that we're returning a biotic,

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah, that was a whole set of manufacturing. So they broke it down and put the different scopes and they scope 1, 2, 3, and broke it down in that way, which, which was interesting.

Asim Hussain: but, but also beyond, beyond carbon, it was also.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: All the minerals

Asim Hussain: Mineral. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: and reclamation.

Asim Hussain: yeah. Yeah. And, and, and that stuff as well, which I think is interesting there, they're also like looking to broaden out the scope of green to beyond just carbon it's other things.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: I like that because my concern is where is the tipping point? Because so many organizations have net zero carbon targets, you know, either in the next few years or decades in the future. Do you think that now is the time to stay narrow, but eventually we may have to widen out because otherwise if you leave it too late, Who's addressing the other problems, but yeah, I think now we're still in a good space at the moment.

Asim Hussain: Yeah.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Which, which isn't it really interesting. Right. Because as what building these tools and frameworks, we want to architect things in a way that delivers value in the short term, in terms of, you know, quantifying and measuring carbon emissions. But we don't want to build in a way that it's going to be really difficult in the future to consider other factors.

And so we want to think about our interfaces and design tooling in the space that can be extensible to like future future use cases, not beyond carbon, which is like really interesting problem to think about.

Asim Hussain: Well beyond the carbon, that's a, that's a good title for something Matisha wall.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Maybe a future podcast

Asim Hussain: It's a podcast. Yeah. Podcast. And I think, I think, I think you, you hit on something that as well, Christmas is like, you know, it's about the targets. So like organizations that, so if an organization sets a net zero target, that's a target relates to carbon and therefore all of the underlying infrastructure and tools and everything tools up to, to, to solve the carbon price.

But then as Oregon, I don't know what an equivalent, I have no idea. Actually one equivalent target would be for some of these other things. Like I know Microsoft, they also look at, I want us to just want to say the word water. I want to say potable water. Like, you know, water scarcity is, is, is one of the key things that are looking at and he works and they have set targets for that as well.

It's just not as high as the carbon target. Like if you want to get something done, you talk about the conference.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: In a way, I feel like it's because carbon isn't easy, but it's graspable now in a way that it wasn't the. And I think the UN SDGs are at that same level of the greenhouse gas protocol, the way that that was in that high-level government global target. But we now need to do that same work of translating it into impactful actions that we as individuals can have.

There's a great book called mission economy, which looks at things like the NASA, the NASA moonshot, and how you can identify these bold challenges to make the targets achievable. Like what you're talking about, like NetSuite.

Asim Hussain: I like that a lot. Yeah. Yeah. So what are those opiates? I would say in general was just kind of general around run, run, run, run, run, focus a little bit. But what are some of, what are some kind of open source projects that you could point to? Some, some, maybe some of the stuff working in the foundation, but also stuff outside of it related to, you know, green, what does exposed some green open-source

Chris Lloyd-Jones: I'll probably refer to when a dance actually, first of all, cause it's one that I actually use. And

Asim Hussain: and he's, and he's probably not going to refer to it. Cause he's so he's so polite if like.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: that's why I was

Dan Lewis-Toakley: I didn't want, I didn't want it. Yeah. Thanks Chris. I appreciate that.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: the cloud carbon footprint calculator. One of the initiatives that I know you're a part of is which I used a day in, day out tracking kind of. Carbon footprint from many different clouds and helping people to identify where they might be able to shrink that. I think that's great because it's an organization just making something that others needed and just sharing it for the common good.

And it does seem to have active pull requests and issues, and people are very welcoming. So that's why I picked.

Asim Hussain: Do you know what let's dig into that? Cause that's actually quite interesting because I think that that touches on some interesting areas because. There are some closed source versions of cloud carbon footprint. So that's an interesting angle to talk about that as well. I mean, why, what are some of the advantages of having something like cloud?

So just for the benefit of everybody else, cloud carbon footprint, I said, why don't you give us an overview of what cloud carbon footprint.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Yeah. So cloud carbon footprint is an open-source tool, mostly developed by ThoughtWorks where I work, but also we have many contributors in the Arkansas community in some of the members of the Greenstone fire foundation. And the way that the software works as it connects to a cloud provider, API APIs, and it supports AWS Google cloud and Microsoft Azure connects to the usage and billing APIs.

And then with a custom methodology based on, you know, best practice and academic research, we convert that usage data in terms of compute, storage, networking, and memory. Firstly into a quantified energy consumption or an estimated energy consumption. And then based on publicly available data sets of emissions factors, based on where that cloud usage exists, what data center, the cloud provider, we then convert that into estimate at carbon emissions.

And it provides the data in a front end dashboard where you can view it in some, you know, data visualization. You can also just consume it via API or CLI. We wanted to provide a way to understand and explore that data in variety of different ways, based on the context. Recently added support for on prem where you sort of provide your data in a CSV format.

And we estimate on, on premise, and also, like you mentioned, with the Bellavista API as SIM, we added support for embodied emissions as well, based on the carbon intensity standard. But yeah, it's, it's a tool we've sort of put out there about a year and a half ago, and it's sort of grown in popularity and usage in that time.

So something where hopefully a little bit. And we hope to see people use one thing I will add you notice. I said the word estimated energy consumption. It's not the same as the actual energy data that cloud providers would have of their, their data centers and major cloud providers all sort of provide different tooling uses.

More potentially more accurate and measured approaches for the usage. But as you say, it's sort of closed box in some it's to varying degrees. It's a little bit of a black box in terms of where that data is sourced. And so there's interesting trend. Like we went for a trade-off of easier access to the data, better usability, better overall support with multi clouds because we don't have access to the underlying data.

So there's that trade-off with accuracy versus sort of usability in various.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: I liked your mention of reference to close source tooling as well, because one. Your project made me think of a number of things that Green Software Foundation doing. Make me think of it. We launched as a foundation of the software, carbon intensity standard last year and the offer version. And I'm glad that it's done almost early in the development of this software, because there was already starting to be a lot of different organizations measuring their carbon intensity in many different ways.

So by having this standard earlier, I feel like it's going to help a lot of these open source and closed source companies, at least settle on a way that they aren't kind of comparable versus incentive to drive carbon down.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: This is more being out of our longer-term planning, but we've talked a lot about. Uses of these various tools or software could optionally opt into sharing some of the statistics or data about maybe their company size number of employees, industry, and, and some of the outputs of these various tools into some sort of centralized way to understand comparatively across injury industries.

What does good look like? What does not good look like? So not just you internally using the sci to measure against yourself, but how could you compare against competitors? Other comparable organizations in some way. I think we might be a little bit a way off from achieving that, but it'd be really interesting to think about.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, that's a really good, good point. I think it might just only happen because it's cause you're talking about using the cloud carbon footprint as an SEI measurement is what you described.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: I believe we haven't implemented the sci yet within cloud carbon footprint, but it's definitely on the.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, just, just in case you haven't mentioned it for the audience, because we get getting into that phase of, of, of, of our field where we just, we just kind of dive straight into our own kind of terminologies. The sea is a, is a, is a measured methodology has been developed in the foundation. For essentially scoring a software application for carbon emissions.

So just, just going back to the cloud common for it. Cause I think it's an interesting thing that there's a debate out there, an old debate, you know, open source versus closed source. You know, what are the advantages disadvantages of each? I think this is again, just a great example because every single cloud vendor had a podcast episode about talking about all the various cloud and, and, and there are different, everyone will have their own, their own measurement tool.

And with cloud carbon footprint is an open source one. And I think one of the interesting things about that is it's actually a lot easier to engage with. Because of the openness, you know, when you don't remember Dan, when you reached out to me, kind of in very my, my Microsoft hat to, to engage, it was actually quite challenging to get people to kind of start having those conversations with you because everybody's in there thinking, well, what can, what can we say?

Like, I don't want to reveal anything. This has been NDA signed and all this other stuff. Whereas as soon as something becomes open source, boom becomes easy. It's easy. It enables that collaboration and everybody can just see the work that you're doing. They can verify it. There's not, there's no hoops to jump over and that's kind of one of the Clare kind of advantages of open source I would see is.

Is or whatever. I don't even know what word to use described, but I just said like collaboration. Well, I suppose it's the whole, the fundamental nature of open-source is collaboration. Anyway, I see. No, it's not, I'm rambling. I'm rambling now, but it's it's to be open, but it enables collaboration in a way which closed source solutions.


Chris Lloyd-Jones: It cuts through legal. And governance technical barriers too, because I mean, I don't think it's just a green thing. I mean, if you look mid pandemic, there are lots of people struggling with solutions for vaccine passports, and you had cities and towns in the U S collaborating with universities across Europe, collaborating with small villages from Australia.

And can you imagine those sort of. Very geographically and size different organizations collaborating without open-source it wouldn't have happened. So it provides visibility, I guess, on a shared platform.

Asim Hussain: Yeah. With closed source. You can't like your methodology is fully is out there. It's completely out there. Every single number and people can review it and back it up. And it builds that trust. In, in UCA, essentially, you're creating something which provides data, which makes decisions, but everything is, is, is out there and open to be reviewed, which is a real advantage.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: One of the things, which yeah. Yeah. I mean, I love open source. It's what I do day in, day out. I want to be real. There are challenges which organizations and people need help overcome. I mean, first of all, you get a lot of people working on that side of their desk around the day job. And I guess in the foundation, we probably even seen it.

That means that people might take their name to project, but not how to time commit or things get spun up and they go stale. I think open source is sometimes seen as a panacea for let's just get something cool, done without thinking about all the hard work and support that needs to go to make that work.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Yeah, I was going to say something similar to Christian that open source doesn't mean that you don't need things like leadership and project manage. And product development and thinking, right? Like there are still some of those, those core roles and responsibilities that would be required with any in-house software development team is still sort of required.

It might be a little bit more piecemeal in that it's provided by different community members and sort of globally at different times zones around the world. Some of those key aspects to successful software development is still a still really, really important. And oftentimes I've seen organizations just, oh, there's this, like, let's use this open-source tool, bring it in.

And they, you know, don't actually invest some of the time to understand how it's working or, or invest time in investing back into the tool itself. So there's still, it's still somewhat some of that work involved. One other note I'll make is that you mentioned the. Sort of things, Chris, I think we thought long and hard about the license that we were going to use for cloud carbon footprint.

And for us, we settled on the Apache two, which has a similar in terms of permissiveness to MIT. And it's, we still do is really important to have a license that allowed anyone, any organization or individual in the world to use the software in any way they wanted. If, if that meant they were going to take cloud carbon footprint code and build a page closed source service using that.

That was okay for us, because for us it wasn't, it's about engaging the community and growing adoption of this tool and similar tools rather than necessarily holding it tight to our chest and trying to have the secret sauce that you know, that we want to provide to our clients or to partners. So that was a, that's sort of a key ask to get different license types, more restrictive ones can often be a deal breaker for some companies and organizations to adopt.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah, I don't know about you, but sometimes it can also feel like, you know, when you got. Holding a sweet and you have to kind of prize their fingers off it at times for an organization that can be quite hard to make that decision. And I say that because we we've contributed some code as Avanav to the Green Software Foundation is to start with that CICB pipeline tooling.

But one of the reasons why I pushed for that is because I also think. That secret source, close to your heart. You run the risk of people. First of all, jumping over you because they just want to get things done. They want to get things done quickly. What you do becoming out of date and stale when you've invested a whole load of time and something which isn't compatible with what people are now using.

You can also just look like a bad actor, particularly in fields like this, where we're not, I don't know, making a search tool in comparison to that whole open search elastic search for Roy. We're trying to actually solve a problem here. We're fundamentally, if the world doesn't go near zero, we might all die in a massive heat.

Death has good reasons to do it.

Asim Hussain: I think that's also where this is one of the things that I recognized early on the foundation, because Hey, look, let me be honest. Both of you work for organizations that. Our competitors, let's just be out front your competitors. Right. But the, yeah, but, but your, but what's wonderful. I realized is that open is, is a way you can collaborate with each other because there is an underlying layer.

Every single time you talk to a customer and you're going to be implementing something as an underlying layer of trying to solve a problem, which is common. And that's kind of really what the advantage of open source. And then I love the fact that you use that, that permissive licensing. I always say, even at the foundation we've used, we've used MIT for some of the, uh, for since before content is, is creative commons.

I forgot the one way you can just make a derivative and just rename and sell it the most. Cause that's cause it's all about how do you kickstart this ecosystem than, than anything else? The open-source is again, collaboration between. Method of collaboration between organizations that would typically be competitors.

I think.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah. And it's nice to be able to set that aside, but also you avoid all the antitrust concerns operating out in the open in a way. It also removes a lot of the, kind of the way whom I did this year, the best cause people could see what he worked on. They can see each one of these meetings, which means we recognize the contributions of those that don't.

Which is an important piece. It's often overlooked because consensus meetings, design discussions is important. It's everything else, but you can also see the code and the minutes, which is nice.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: I don't know about you both, but I love feedback. Like I love getting feedback and there's nothing better than, you know, me pushing out some code to a project and then getting a pull request. Correcting me and say that I was like wrong about this. And like, sometimes that can be a challenge, but open source provides so much more scope for have a feedback mechanism from experts and community members.

And it allows projects like cloud carbon footprint, but many others to sort of better cost cost, correct. Towards things that are valuable because you have more feedback and more users, you know, giving you yeah. Improvements.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: I think open-source is a bit of a mindset as well. Cause I, I'm not going to be at as nice. I sometimes like feedback by half to be in the right mindset to accept it other times I'm like, oh, I just want to get on and do things. But source does get you into that mindset of go actually, no, hang on. They've got a point I'm wrong.

I can acknowledge it and we can move on when you're in that head space.

Asim Hussain: I think it gets a lot into kind of a psychology and where you are in your life as a human being at the current moment assignments to whether you can, uh, whether you can access. But as soon as I've seen, I've, I've seen feedback where I'm like, that is, that is not okay. Or that's, but then again, even that feedback is public.

So you know, that, that conversation that happening in private, so you can then, you know, it's happening and then you can correct them. And, you know, do you think you, you reminded me of something? One of my, I don't know if it's related, I'll say it anyway. What am I kind of like happiest moments of the foundation was one of my first poll requests got rejected or one of my, one of the first time, one of my poll requests got rejected because I was like, Um, thankfully there is like a community of people and they're confident enough to kind of feed back to each other and kind of reject things and accept things.

And I was like, excellent. This is going to the stick, the culture's there. It's going to work. They're rejecting being okay with having poor requests. Retracted must be, it must be a really important thing in any kind of open source community.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah. I like the visibility that gives them because it's a bit of learning experience. And as long as it's public of those, then see what the feedback was that they gave to you. That'd be the only thing I struggle with sometimes is. Sure people can give that negative or critical feedback in a way that you can learn from it because you don't want to put off few, two contributors.

I feel like if it's your first one, you can also feel a little bit burnt too. Particularly for junior devs. I see them contribute. Once they get strong feedback, I'm like, oh, I'm scared of this now.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: I think you mentioned that what culture statement. I think that's really important, like different communities or that are a foundation or a particular pencils projects have different cultures. And I think. Being deliberate about the type of culture that you want to foster is really important. I know that the foundation, early days, we worked on some principles like principles, cultural principles to underpin how we engage within the foundation.

I think similar thought process is really useful for openings. Projects having a really grounded code of conduct. Ideally you don't ever need to use the code of conduct, but it's important that it's there in case, you know, people sway away from the intended culture. And Chris, I love your example of like the, that junior devs me and then getting negative feedback.

I've seen it happen. I think something that I like to think about is before providing. Direct or constructive feedback, like ask, ask a question instead. Like why ask questions to understand before delivering any sort of judgment or value in terms of people's contribution?

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah. Question is, is, is a great one, particularly being out in the open and chatting because. I know internally and in the past, this is certainly something I'd like to think I've learned from. I can see something and I take a negative intention from it. And it goes back to that psychology piece. When you ask often you find that are really good reasons for say why someone did something the way that they did.

And it also brings you closer together to work together and future, sorry, we're making open source sound very touchy feely. Now I'm good, but good things get done with open source.

Asim Hussain: Now there is it is, it is, it should, it should be is. I think there's a, there's a human component to everything, which I think really does need to be addressed. And I think it's actually, you might, you might need that. Cause that, that was one of the, I'll have to find it right now. Can't find it by. We we wrote, we wrote, I think we wrote in our manifesto assume good intent, which I think is one of the heart we have that shop that Microsoft has all like assume good intent and like ask it enough.

And that's the hardest advice. Great advice to give as hard as vice to remember, to use your sound. So, so ways here, but I'm sure there's many times that we kind of fail to do that ourselves. Yeah. Asking that question. Why? Oh, what was your reasoning behind this instead of this? What are your reasoning behind this?

And then you realize, oh, that's a really good reason. Oh, that's kind of how it goes. Yeah. So talk a little bit more as great as for us to talk about generally kind of source kind of challenges and solutions. I was wondering, do we want to, do you want to kind of touch on some more of the, the kind of green open source projects that are in that happening?

I know Chris, you just mentioned the, as the sci CD tool, I forgot what CICT stands for all of a sudden.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Continuous integration, continuous deployment.

Asim Hussain: all right. Okay. There you go.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah, I know that was a contentious naming. And then there's also the carbon where a software development kit. Those are two of my favorite projects that we have because they come at a very similar problem at our different parts of the life cycle. And I'm excited with the fact that the green stuff, I foundations a lot of different roles and people in it.

So we put developers, data scientists, we have business folks. And what the carpenter. Well, I start with the CIC D tool. What that does is that lets developers at the moment and just that infrastructure is code, I guess, almost the design patterns for the code that you want to end up in the cloud, that the services which you want deployed in Azure, Amazon, Google, and other cloud providers and forecast what the likely carbon emissions are going to be.

We would like to be static code analysis. It's a harder problem. It doesn't do that. So you forecast the carbon west software development kit is almost the next part of the chain. Once you have your applications up in the cloud and you have your infrastructure, this that you instrument them to figure out what times of day should this software run?

When is the energy clean? Where should this run? I'm unsure workloads. Then you have tools at the other end that can look at that forecast of both the infrastructure and when software should run, I'll tell you the actual sales. So I feel that we're getting a really whole end to end view of here's the forecast.

Here's what actually happened. I was slowly plugging the gaps that every part of what a developer would do is covered. And that makes me really excited.

Asim Hussain: I actually hadn't joined the dots between the CACD static analysis and the carbon until just now, because with the CIC, the tool will do is I can point it to my GitHub repository of my entire backend application. And it will just by looking at my Docker files, try and figure out this is this, these are all the instances you're going to probably create.

This is probably what the utilization is going to be. And therefore this probably probably what the carbon emissions will be on the carbon or SDK. Is it that, what that does is it essentially gives you your advice? I don't know how to describe it regarding like when is the cleanest time of the day? To run stuff and they never really joined those two together.

So we could actually figure the actual carpet emissions and potential carbon emissions are. Oh, wow.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: So forward looking and then what Dan's got like the cloud comfort for nasal my step backwards looking viewpoint. So eventually one day we'd get that Delta between this, what we forecast, this is what happened. How can we slowly close that gap and figure out what bits can we improve more? And in an ideal world, every part of everyone's job could just be greened in that way, which would just be.

Asim Hussain: One of the thoughts I've had for the longest time is, is, you know, I like the way you phrased it in terms of the software development life cycle.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah.

Asim Hussain: that's the way I kind of think about what, what we need to, to get to is kind of one of, wouldn't it be great. If, if, as you're developing code, like on your laptop, you had information there and then that would inform you somewhat about, well, you've just made this.

I'm not even gonna call it coaching, but architectural change some sort of change to your software, by the way, it might have, you know, this, you might, it might improve this, this change, my increase, your carbon emissions somewhere else. And then I, and I, then I was imaginable. What's the next stage. And everybody, they even develop as journey is to check something and then push it to some sort of a get lab, get hub, whatever it is, code code repository.

And then that's what you're describing. Chris is kind of like that, that started code analysis there. At that point, you know, do some actions, then you can see like, well, my push might coach. Merged in with the actual code base estimates, this, this kind of impact. And then once you actually are deploying the into production, that's when tools like the calc carbon footprint.

So yeah, I liked the way that, so I think that's, that's a really good way of thinking about it, kind of all that chain through, um, all of that really has to be open source. I just, I mean, maybe part from the deploying to the cloud providers could come up with their own proprietary way, but everything else in that journey has probably has to be open source.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: And even they're collaborating. Cause I mean, if you look at Google homes in Nashville, it's in their interest to make it as easy as possible to get on their cloud. People don't want to be locked in. So in a way, people compete in the quality of their servers.

Asim Hussain: That's a contentious point. So it's three dig into that a little bit,

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Go for it. Go for it.

Asim Hussain: I don't know. Cause I've had that because I think there is this, there is, and I know Chris Adams as well, has this idea as well. If you have open source. If you, if you're building something on some kind of non vendor Lockton opensource system, let's just say, Kubernetes, for instance, you then have the freedom to move, but you can therefore use that power.

If provider a is an adherent to some green standard or something you can easily move to provide a B. Is that kind of what your, the open source

Chris Lloyd-Jones: It is. I can see where you're going with that is that when you start to use vendor specific extensions, you then get cruft and little bits of luck and little hooks in your code, like tracking a fish out of the water that make it really hard to move from one to the other.

Asim Hussain: But, but also I would all get it. I I've heard. And I, and I, I'm not an engineer in those platforms. I do not, I don't know, first hand noise. This is second hand information, but the more vendor looking you get, the more efficient the actual platform is, does that make sense?

Chris Lloyd-Jones: I think that was the case. And I'm going to strongly push back on that one. I will repeat the fact that I am at Microsoft build a Microsoft conference. And later today, I'm going to be talking about as you container apps, but that is built on dapper. Dapper is a non-green project, that distributed application platform, runtime.

What that does is it takes all these vendor lock in pieces.

Asim Hussain: It's opensource.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: totally open source. It was contributed to the cloud native computing foundation. What it does is it hides all these proprietary pieces behind abstractions. So you're not using an Azure SQL database or RDS in Amazon. You're just storing data.

You aren't needing to know necessarily how even Kubernetes works. It has different building blocks, calling services, saving data. Publishing observing and secrets. And then it has little adapts. It's that which gives you that developer productivity of moving fast. So you're allowing you to stay efficient, allowing apps to stay small so they can be carbon efficient, Watson not locking you in.

And, uh, that to me is the ultimate expression of freedom from one place to another. So it really serves as again, as we can.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Another example I might add is some Spotify. And source backstage tool that provides an interface for developers to deploy resources across all the cloud providers, but many other infrastructure and services as, as sort of like a central dashboard for them to do it. And the reason I mentioned it is we actually recently worked with Spotify to publish a plugin for cloud companies.

So, if you're using backstage, you can now sort of install the cloud carbon footprint, plugin connected to your cloud providers and get that same data and data visualization within, within that platform. And I think that's a really neat example of different open source communities collaborating in a way, and adding building blocks together to build better solutions, which I think was really.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah. Sage is another great example because that does a similar thing of dividing up tools into categories, infrastructure monitoring discovery, and let him develop his peak was right for them through that agnostic portal. Yes.

Asim Hussain: I see now. So I'm, I'm, I'm standing corrected. Well, what or.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: As him, but to your original question, like that efficiency gains or cost gain, I'm going to give you the classic consultant answer. It depends. It depends. It depends on what your goals are, right? If your goal is to get the most efficient bang for your buck, in terms of like dollars spent, then. Deep partnership with a single cloud provider where you can negotiate every single cent for all the instances.

Like maybe that produces the best gains because you pay a lot of money for that. But is that your goal is your goal to scale most effectively is your goal developer effectiveness, developer efficiency. It really, it really, it really depends. The tradeoffs. I like to think of software architecture or software in general is trying to pick the least worst decision.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah.

Asim Hussain: Right.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: There's always trade offs. There's always,

Asim Hussain: always always trade off.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: People often think of it as, as Lego, but I think as marble run, cause you've got this whole runs, you've got to get the marbles to fit through as quickly as possible. I like that because it shows like the Rube Goldberg desk, like maze of parts and pieces.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, that actually fits with me because I play with my sons, but I do play with his novel run a lot. Both of you, you mentioned that Chris, you mentioned dapper and Dan, you mentioned backstage and they essentially sounds like FAFSA. To has mean like bringing up my design patterns from, I did use the code, but facade for essentially kind of the wide range of, you know, not in this example, car providers and kind of their interfaces.

Um, so maybe it's like a layer thing. Like, you know, as long as it's a thin layer on. Well, you could have like all the, all the optimizations underneath, but like the interface layer itself is the same and that's kind of where open source comes in. And I was going to say, Dan, like, that's one of the big things about cloud carbon footprint is it's multi-cloud and the only way that could be is if it was the only way a multi-cloud solution could exist.

Well, I, I take that back. If there was a startup criticizing or they could do, but th the only realistic way it's going to create as if it's open source, because. Like I can, I think I can say this, but like Microsoft, I think it might be obvious that Microsoft customers like Cisco is car platform, but they also Shakara use other cloud platforms as well.

And then there are some questions while you've got your wonderful tool. Like, can you, can you, Microsoft, can you make your carbon measurement tool calculate my Azure and my Google workloads. Unlike Microsoft would never decide legally that's just system minefield. You wouldn't even go in that direction from a closed source tool, but like an open source would actually allow that.

So that's kind of like for creating a facade amongst a lots of different cloud providers, lots of different APIs, Chris, I feel has different opinion or

Chris Lloyd-Jones: No, no, I don't think my would never do it. I mean, look at Azure up. That's exactly what that's trying to do,

Asim Hussain: yeah.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: but actually a lot of the underlying tech from Azure, there are other cloud providers out there to these open source.

Asim Hussain: Yeah. So that's maybe like the mechanism that would allow that kind of cross from the feeling I had is like, if, if, if you can't publish while you're saying your Amazon number is X, then there's then the one, if you could publish that in some open source, if the methodology for why you're calculating numbers and numbers of certain ways public, then that's going to stop you from an illegal.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: And does that take us back to the sci data project? Like another open source project, the foundation. We're trying to get providers and vendors and manufacturers to share their data publicly, to prevent these legal concerns. If everyone has their data out in the open that they don't feel precious, like they're being compared in a negative way, there's incentives to make things better.

Or you also let all of these open source tools consumed from a curated, trusted data source. So open source is almost like that trusted gates, a good data.

Asim Hussain: Yeah, trusted as a thing as the big term, big word there. And I think by the fact that, you know, well, the opensource working group is like a. Objection of people sitting there curating it, experts in the field. That's what gives it the trust because anybody can, I can create a source data in my, my, my, my, I have got several open source projects that no one should

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Heavy burden, but Dan and I and yourself were trusted in this one day. We're going to have our equivalent of elastic search and open search. I'm sure. But like it's, it's cool to be in. And to see where it's all developing at speed.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Chris, you've done a much better job than me at going over the projects in the, your working group. So I might I've barely listed any, I might list one, one more to add alongside the ones you made. Is the, the sci open ontology project, which looks at a different part of the problem domain of the software carbon intensity standard.

So when access to the trusted data, which you mentioned, press is totally a problem that we're trying, we're really trying to solve. But another problem let's say you do have the data. Another problem that comes up when trying to utilize the STI standard is where do I draw the software boundary? Let's say you have a, some software running on an instance in the cloud and you have a database and then you have a large number of users maybe accessing that API or something.

Do you include all of the end user devices that are being used to access? API. Do you include the networking over the internet to access it, you know, or do you just include the software code that's running, like making those decisions is something that is up to users of the sci. And so the, the open ontology project is about defining a standardized way of making those decisions about how and where you draw the software boundaries.

So it can be consistent and a lot easier for people to sort of make those.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah, which is important, I guess it helps the training as well, because I mean, you made an awesome workshop, which again, you shared with us around how to calculate sci. I tried running it, um, our organization. And it's incredible actually, when you get people using tools like the SEI and you see, you think you've written something really clearly and have people adding up all these different kill Afric is averaging them, doing them together, picking different or figures from monks.

API calls are as a part of the sci calculation. So the SEO told your project, you mentioned is almost like a training tool to help standardize the way people do that. Yeah, and I will share more details of that workshop in a way, because it was a car crash in a good way. I learned a lot.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Awesome. I'm running meant to be running in a couple of weeks, so yeah.

Asim Hussain: my, my, my advice and works, I used to do a little bit shops is like, just make it as simple as you can and then make it 10 times simpler. And you still there still be people struggling. So, yeah, so. We're reaching kind of the end, the end of the hour that we have. I just thought, maybe give, give I'd love to kind of ask you a broad question, actually, each of you to, to, to see what's going on in the world.

So, you know, what else in the world of green software has kind of got your attention? Recently? I asked that to Chris first.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Ooh, I feel really put on the spot now, can I take off piece and just pick something which I think is a really cool in open source generally. So that is that the United nations, the us federal government and the European. Have a setup open-source project offices and a collaborating. And a lot of them are looking at digital public good, which includes screen software.

So the fact that you have not just your traditional corporate community and other organizations, but also now governments taking apart, that's incredible. As long as their heft and size, doesn't put off other people and having a chilling effect, this is going to be a really great scientific collaboration of the.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: I'm going to give you two things that I'm thinking about. One is you sort of touched on this a bit as seam in that the. software delivery life cycle and How we think about that. Something that. With our clients about and partners is there are many ways to solve a problem with software architecture, many different ways, maybe unlimited ways.

Imagine if you could model the carbon and energy impact of different software architectures that solve a given domain problem prior to writing any code, um, and make and factor that in as a cross functional requirement with alongside cost and performance and security. Right at the earliest stages before any lines of code is written, anything's pushed to a CICB pipeline.

You can at least put some guard rails around the architectural direction that you had in. I haven't seen that done successfully yet. Maybe I missed it, but I think that that would be really cool to think about and something that is sort of top of mind. Secondly, I just want to give a call out to the Green Software Foundation summit coming up next month, you know, dozens of in-person and virtual events all around the world.

I'm super excited to see some people in person. In some cases for the first time in a, you know, two years and that yeah. Go to the Green Software Foundation websites, check it out. That it's something on the, on the calendar that I'm really looking forward to.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: How could I miss that?

Asim Hussain: that Chris, Chris is involved in that. I actually think Chris, I think, I don't think we've ever met in person. Have we? So I'll be meeting you in person at the event. I think the London event. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: There's so many folks, the foundation I need to meet around the place.

Asim Hussain: Are you, are you told, I don't know. You don't know, you don't know, you know, people are quite surprised and quite a tall person anyway. Um,

Dan Lewis-Toakley: was literally about to say height is the most surprising

Asim Hussain: it's the most upright.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: but I'm like, you're so tall or in some cases it's not as though it's like, I have no idea how

Asim Hussain: That's what people, yeah. Some people say too.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: And I say a lot of the current chairs, many of the projects. So from surrendered project approach, pretty tool and understand average. Someone's going to be there by giants.

Asim Hussain: yeah, not in terms of my answer, kind of like one thing that it's just been a number of changes, number of essentially jobs going up recently, one thing I've noticed, you know, in the world of green softwares, a number of jobs with the words, kind of green or relates to green self. I mean, honestly, two years ago, if you didn't claw your role yourself inside your organization, there were no like jobs out there kind of publicly.

You know, posted, and it was deeply unlikely. Now I'm seeing, you know, you've both got titles that kind of relate to the degree of software I saw. So Amazon posted up, they've got roles for a sustainable solution. Architects. There's a new role for agreeing that advocacy that Microsoft and I'm seeing more and more, not often, but more and more kind of roles appear in this space.

And I think that's one of the most important indicators of the validity of what we're doing, you know? And the moon behind this, there is an ecosystem, the business behind it. And that's really what will drive this, this field, I think, in the, in the future. So can you let a confidence?

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Well, I want to say on that is, I think also your lead share from the Green Software Foundation has been a big part of that because I'm going to say I was watching bill near a year ago today when the GSF was announced and I text, I was on holiday. I texted my boss via people. I mean, we're conditioning.

Why aren't we in this what's happening. We sh we love green. What we're doing as in that.

Asim Hussain: Oh, wow. Is that, was that, was that the, was that the inception story for other? Not

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Yeah, we were so happy to join.

Asim Hussain: yeah. It's really good to you. Yeah. Very good to have it really, really glad you're here. Maybe this is before I wrap up any other information you want to give any, any, any, tell people what they can find you socials or anything.

Chris Lloyd-Jones: Sure. So you've called me a few times. That's my initial. So you can find me @sealjay the two animals undescore, the letters CLJ because I, 70 organizations have Chris's so that's always me. Yeah. I don't want to sweater.

Dan Lewis-Toakley: Also also on Twitter and get hub the handle DToakley as in DTOAKLEY.

Asim Hussain: Wonderful. Thank you so much. Both of you for being our guest today and also being such active participants and chairs of the foundation, your, your leadership. This is just been instrumental in us getting to where we are today. So thank you.

Hey everyone. Thanks for listening. Just a reminder to follow Environment Variables on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. And please do leave a rating and review. If you like what we're doing, it helps other people discover the show. And of course we want more listeners to find out more about the Green Software Foundation. Please visit greensoftware.foundation. Thanks again, and see you in the next show.