Removing Functionality WG

Continuing the discussion from OOO₃FFDEM Programme:

This morning we worked on the following pad: Removing Functionality - HedgeDoc

Here is a copy below… You can pursue in this topic for the afternoon session.

OFFDEM Sunday’s Removing Functionality WG


  • Igor (APC) – think outside the box (instead of ‘more tech is better’)
  • Maja (APC) – web dev, how to make websites less heavy, more accessible (esp. for smaller connections)
  • Paula (she/her) (CCT) – “not super techie”, interested in climate movement
  • Steffen () – we discussed the topic in Turbingen hackerspace recently
  • Noé (he-him/they-them)-- hackerspace strasbourg, art&design, interested in how we can make low tech knowledge accessible for climate movement
  • hellekin (p.s.:slight_smile: – interested in SBC backup-mirrors at home
  • Joost (Debian) –
  • Luc (he-him) – neighbor
  • Inari ( – based in Rotterdam, exploring the opposite of production. How not to make a product, but make a byproduct instead. E.g., energy drink from invasive plants. Interested in minimal computing.
  • Vesna (RIPE - IETF) – Amsterdam from Yougoslavia. Interested in dealing with the amount of waste from hackerspaces. Internet governance bodies talk about “Growing the Internet” ; “Data is the new oil” – climate protests ; next step is to protest against data centers and the Internet.
  • Emma Peel (l10n Tor) – Interested in reducing emissions, also reducing online service usage. Recycling hardware ; instead of buying new hardware, as it might not be so energy hungry
  • Pierre () – comms engineer from Italy


  • Minimal computing and SBC
  • Reducing global Internet consumption SBC-based backup

  • Electricity bill jumped through the roof. How to fix our energy consumption down to manageable level?

    • SBC power vs datacenter: from 150 GBP to 5 EUR / month
  • Lo-tech magazine runs SBC-based solar panel server: it does not need to be always on. → How to Build a Low-tech Website? - LOW-TECH MAGAZINE and also How Sustainable is a Solar Powered Website? - LOW-TECH MAGAZINE

    • Irational explored SSD instead of SDcard for reliability, and also OLIMEX hardware (but not powerful enough compared with Raspberry Pi)
  • immediacy / Always on:

    • trade-off between instant gratification of the Internet and people working picking up the phone and waiting for a paper copy.
    • solar-powered web is not available at night, but mirrors across the planet can make it available 24/24.
    • OSI layer 2/3 - assumption that the network is always on.
  • hidden energy costs:

    • most of the energy consumed by the devices is before the device hits the consumer market.
    • A single comma change on a website launches many background processes of indexing and caching…
    • is a recycled laptop worth using instead of a new SBC?
    • “when should you bake a cake” smart grid calculator
  • Is my data important?

    • who decides whose data is important (CDNs, farmers)
  • Disconnecting as a health practice

  • What data to backup ?

    • issue of duplication (same files from different users)
      • when deduplication breaks in progress media projects. Oops.
    • issue of replication (of public stuff)
    • issue of irrelevance (e.g., external data)
    • issue of encryption (how to deduplicate there?)
    • issue of sorting out (how to sort backup-worthy data? vs. alternatives: should you rather keep 10% of everything or lose everything?)
    • issue of constraint (less storage constraint, more data)
    • issue of redundancy (how many copies should we keep?)
    • issue of security (are we safe with these backups in case of server seizure?)
  • Off the grid Internet

  • Elektra (with funding from APC) made a solar-powered mesh network

  • Is amplifying usage of SBC-based networks actually competes with data centers in terms of energy consumption? What part of data center energy the SBC-based movement would actually shift away from DC?

    • grassroots movements vs. datacenters in small cities
  • Reducing power consumption

    • repurposing heat transfer
    • reconsidering protocols: Gemini vs. HTTP(S)…
    • up the hill vs. down the hill
  • but structural market issue with bandwidth (more leads to more)

    • how to reduce affluence of data transfers? What is the “private jet” of the Internet?
  • UX does not allow to reduce data size, e.g., taking pictures.

Maybe it’s usefull to link to here too.

And btw: thanks a lot for this OFFDEM edition; I had a great time! CU next year

Bye, joostvb