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Greener Coding » Linux Magazine

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Greener Coding » Linux Magazine


Go has a reputation for producing energy-saving applications, but you still have to know what you are doing.

Applications use the processor in different ways, and those differences are sometimes reflected in the power bill. The programming language you choose has a significant influence on energy consumption. But developers still need to go the extra mile to leverage the language’s capabilities.

At first glance, Go comes with everything you need for energy efficiency. It has a lean syntax, and smart Goroutines distribute parallel tasks efficiently to the processor cores, thus avoiding a bloated runtime environment that needs to manage complex class hierarchies or juggle classic threads. And the compiler translates the source code into a native and therefore fast program, which means the processor can go back to sleep sooner and save energy. On top of that, Go statically links all external modules into the finished binary, eliminating the administrative overhead of dynamic libraries during execution.

This contrasts strongly with Java, where a compiler converts the program into intermediate code, which is then executed by a virtual machine. This additional software layer slows down execution and costs unnecessary energy. The situation is even worse for interpreted languages: PHP and Python parse each line of code step-by-step during execution. Numerous optimizations and just-in-time compilers are intended to make the resulting applications faster, but there is still some loss, depending on the task. If you want to develop energy-efficient programs, you need to go for Go, right? Or maybe not? The following look at energy efficiency in Go is a useful entry point for examining some more general rules for more efficient coding.

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