A holistic approach to computing and sustainability inspired from permaculture.
The abundance of digital storage and processing power has caused an explosion in wastefulness, which shows in things like ridiculous hardware requirements for computing even the most trivial tasks.
Permacomputing does not advocate for going back in time, despite advocating a dramatic decrease in use of artificial energy, but trusts in human ingenunity to finding clever hacks for turning problems into solutions, competition into co-operation and waste into resources.
It values maintenance and encourages programmers to refactor and rewrite programs to keep them small and efficient, instead of counting on Moore's law to compensate for software bloat.
Instead of planned obsolescence, permacomputing practices planned longevity, reuse and repair of existing technology and approaches waste as a resource.
|Frugal Computing||Salvage Computing||Collapse Computing|
|Utilizing computational resources as finite and precious, to be utilised only when necessary, and as effectively as possible.||Utilizing only already available computational resources, to be limited by that which is already produced.||Utilizing what has survived the collapse of industrial production or network infrastructure.|
Designing for Disassembly ensures that all elements of a product can be disassembled for repair and for end of life. This allows for and encourages repairs, with the result that a product's life cycle is prolonged; and it allows for a product to be taken apart at the end of its life so that each component can be reclaimed. Among other shifts in thinking and making, this means minimizing materials, using simple mechanical fasteners instead of adhesives, clearly labeling components with their material type, and ensuring components can be disassembled with everyday tools.
Unlike the nebulous goal of designing a sustainable product, designing a product for disassembly is a more concrete, quantifiable approach to ecologically sound making and to consumption. ~
The real long-term future of salvage computing consists of figuring out how to make the best possible use out of the millions of devices which already exist.
What is meant by "scavenge-friendly electronic parts" is parts that can be assembled with low-tech tools. Parts that can't be manufactured any more, but that are available by the billions in landfills. Those who can manage to create new designs from those parts with low-tech tools will be able to preserve electronics, a power that significantly advantages communities that manage to continue mastering it.
Collapse informatics is software engineering taking advantage of today's abundance in computing power to prepare for a future in which current infrastructures have collapsed.
It is based on decentralisation, not only because current centralised services and networks will break down, but also because peer-to-peer infrastructures are more resilient and flexible. It aims for simplicity, software should function on existing hardware and rely on modularity in order to enable a diversity of combinations and implementations.
Systems need to be resilient to intermittent energy supply and network connectivity. Collapse informatics prioritizes community needs and make use of open-source licenses to contribute to a knowledge commons in order to be able to succeed in case of economic collapse. The practice of engaging with the discarded with an eye to transforming what is exhausted and wasted into renewed resources.
A post-collapse society that has eventually lost all of its artificial computing capacity may still want to continue the practice of computer science in a purely theoretical level, as a form of mathematics.
Nothing new needs producing and no e-waste needs processing. If your new software no longer runs on old hardware, it is worse than the old software.