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Episode 38: Sustainability

I had thought that we had whelped enough and shown how much we love the planet. But no, suddenly it's back on the agenda again. The Boss has been spoken to by his Boss, who had word from his Boss that we need to do more. Apparently the wife of the CEO is very concerned that our code is melting the ice caps, killing Polar bears and penguins and causing all-round catastrophic climate change. All this from a few time recording systems…

'But there is no consensus,' I tell the Boss.

'Look, Joe,' he tells me, 'I know you mean well and all that, but the science is settled.'

'To be honest, it's not. Even the warmists are back-tracking. The science is anything but settled.'

'You'd argue with a Nobel Prize winning scientist?'

'Which Nobel Prize winning scientist?'

He looks at me like I'm an escaped lunatic. 'Al Gore of course. Christ, Joe, the man invented the internet and you still don't take him seriously…'

I'm speechless. I look at the Boss and realise that his grasp on reality is even more tenuous than his hair line.

'So,' he demands, 'we need to take some action to reduce our carbon footprint.'

'How about we get rid of some management personnel?'

'Not funny,' he replies, a full minute after my comment. You know, sometimes it takes him a while to compute these things…

'How about we sign up to the Manifesto for Sustainable Software Development?'

His eyes light up. He likes the sound of that. 'Tell me more…'

'Well, it's a commitment to write software that accords with the aims of the manifesto. So, that means low carbon, organic, climate-friendly and completely sustainable.'

'Wow! Sounds excellent. The CEO is scared that they'll be calls to prosecute IT CEOs as climate change criminals. But if we're signed up for this then we're sure to be safe.'

'He's what???'

'Come on Joe, these are dangerous times. So, tell me more about what we have to commit to.'

'OK, it's very technical,' I warn him, trying my best to stall.

'Joe, don't treat me like an idiot,' he tells me. 'Give me some detail.'

'Well, object creation is expensive, so we commit to write software that recycles objects rather than creating new ones. Database pipelines are also re-used where possible. We commit to using only low powered CPU instructions. Oh, and because packet loss is a problem on the network we try to catch them all before they explode and make a mess.'

He looks seriously impressed. 'I especially like the database pipeline thing,' he muses.

'Sure,' I agree. 'When one of those babies leaks it's a real mess. Bits and bytes all over the network.'

'Must be expensive to clean up.'

'It sure is,' I agree.

'Is that where the lost packets go?'

I nod. 'Yep, they leak out of the hole in the pipeline. Very messy to clean up.'

'I think we should go for this. I really do. How do we make it happen?'

'First off we have to formally sign up and pay the membership fee. Once that's been accepted we have to undergo an annual audit. Assuming we pass that we can get the plaque.'

'How much?'

I quote a number for the membership, and when he doesn't blink I quote a bigger number for the annual audit. That looks harder to swallow.

'No pain, no gain,' I tell him.

'It is for planet Earth,' he reasons to himself. 'Sure, set it in motion, Joe. I'll get word to the CEO and his wife.'

As soon as he's gone I'm online. I've got a domain name to register, some documents to create and a plaque to design before I can bank that membership fee…

Who Is Joe Bloggs? Read other episodes here

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