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Interview with California Air Resources Board CIO 59

SilentBob4 writes "Mad Penguin has published an exclusive interview with the CIO of California's ARB (Air Resources Board), Bill Welty." From the article: " Massachusetts might have been the FOSS shot heard 'round the world, but California may be quietly building pressure for an open source earthquake of its own. On the face of it, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) is not setting the world on fire with its well-documented adoption of free open source software. It is using FOSS primarily in the back office, just like so many other governmental agencies and businesses. But if you dig just a little deeper, as shown in this Mad Penguin(TM) interview of the ARB staffers responsible for moving ARB toward a more FOSSy future, you can see that the seeds of more profound change gradually developing. "
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Interview with California Air Resources Board CIO

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  • These are the same idiots you can thank for making such things as ANY modification to any car illegal unless it has CARB approval and a sticker.

    Yes, even a cold air intake, or any sort of aftermarket exhaust, even though both modifications to cars generally INCREASE a car's gas mileage and effeciency.

    Given their track record, their use of OSS is only going to allow them to be more effecient in their ability to make and enforce more stupid policies. We cannot allow this. Californians, write to your represent
    • Actually it's those representatives you're suggesting everyone write to who are the ones making non-CARB approved mods illegal. They're the ones writing the legislation.

      If ARB operates more efficiently, surely they'll be able to put mods through the approval process faster?

    • I, for one, like the ARB. We have the shittiest air in the nation here in california (See Here [] and here []), so we need stricter rules than other states. I mean, it's not like they OUTLAW all after market modifications. I mean, hell, where I live there almost isn't a single truck without a modified exhaust or intake system. Cars are constantly modified up the shitter all over California. The CARB is just making the sure modifications don't fuck up the air even more. That, in my mind, is not a bad thing a
      • This is such a frustrating topic for a person who works on old cars it's hard for me to even address it without going into seizures and throwing the keyboard against the wall.
        There is a huge problem with your "I heart CARB" sentiment if you really do want cleaner air. Yeah, sure you can buy overpriced aftermarket stuff that is CARB approved. But what you can't do is adapt used modern cleaner technology onto an older car by upgrading to more efficient used technology. See, t
        • For the EFI to work properly, the old engine and newer engine would have to be exactly the same. And if that's the case, why not move the whole thing over? You can swap a newer complete engine setup into an older car, as long as all stock pollution controls from the newer car also move over.
          • Well, I'm not going to pretend I know all things about all motors. But you are definitely wrong when it comes to my particular area of expertise which is the Toyota R series. The reason I like the R series motors so much is precisely because the same engine was used across platforms (trucks and Celicas have identical motors) over several decades and you most certainly can take a fuel injector from a late model and directly bolt it onto an older head. No problemo. You can even mix and match heads across diff
            • True, you can't mix-and-match parts. However, you can transplant an entire 20R engine, including computer and all emissions equipment, from the newer car to the older car. You have to get it refereed, and it's my understanding that you'll be flagged for "test-only" stations for the remaining life of the vehicle, but it can and has been done.
          • The whole CARB system is illogical if the stated purpose (reducing smog) is the real one. If the tailpipe emissions are acceptable, who cares what's under the hood? Oh yes, that's right, CARB does. Personally I'm of the opinion that CARB has more to do with the auto industry lobby than anything else. If something smog related breaks in your 76' lincoln and the only option is an OEM unit that hasn't been available for at least a decade, chances are good that you'll be going car shopping.
        • They might have even been mandatory, I forget.

          Anyway, they could make a car "clean" by adding a retrofit oxygen sensor to the exhaust, adjusting the carb to run lean, and adding an "enrichment" fuel injector into the throttle body.

          The engine runs as it did before, but this added system adds the right amount of fuel at all times to keep it right at the best fuel/air ratio. It improves mpg and emissions on older cars. On some cars you could even add a catalytic converter to complete the job.

          Given that Califor
        • Futhermore California mandates both what you can do under your own hood AND tailpipe testing.

          If something you do to your car is making it pollute MORE than is allowed, it is going to show up during the tailpipe test. If you do something that makes it pollute LESS, then you'll pass the tailpipe test, but still be subject to all sorts of ridiculous penaties and you fail the visual inspection.

          Part of the problem with rules like this is also that they don't take into accout the air pollution caused by MAK
    • Aren't these the idiots that allowed MTBE (methyl t- butyl ether) to be used as an oxygenate. It was implemented at a huge cost that was .... drum roll please.... passed on the the consumers. This heralded in gas prices higher than anywhere in the country.

      Oh and now we find that the low molecular weight ether is water soluble (known all along) and is ..... drum roll please ...... polluting water supplies and now it is no longer being used.

      Why didn't these fools mandate that ethanol be used? Oh because
      • Use of oxygenates was mandated by the Feds after some serious junk science from a single Winter trial of them in Seattla. It was not CARB's fault we used them.

        Ethanol sucks too, likely adding to pollution: nate030905.htm []
        (Please ignore that this link is from one of our idiot spendthrift Senators, I'm sure she just slapped her name at the bottom and had nothing to do with it.)

        Because of this, CARB worked for years for the ability to return to making fuel with
        • I worked as a chemist in a Bay Area refinery at the time this was implemented.

          Building the "units" that created MTBE from raw materials at the refineries cost billions.

          This was >10 years ago. At the time urban areas of CA were the only ones mandated oxygenates. IIRC.

          MTBE was not mandated as "the" oxygenate to use. There were others. Among them EtOH (ethanol).

          That these idiots allowed MTBE to even be an option was stooopid.
    • Another thing that makes me glad I'm not in a state that is a victim of CARB is that diesels, which can help end our dependence on oil, aren't allowed in CARB states.

      Why? Nitrogen oxides.

      The funny thing is, studies are showing that the nitrogen oxides actually... wait for it... *REDUCE* ozone in areas like California, especially those from diesels.

      Also, diesels last longer (less junkyard space taken, less energy used and pollution created recycling them, less energy used and pollution created making the rep
      • >> CARB can go suck on a tailpipe.

        They're welcome to come suck on my tailpipe, as it is mostly WVO (waste veggie oil []) emissions and is unlikely to have any ill affect.

        CARB really needs to reconsider their death sentence on Diesel-fueled vehicles. Especially now that the droughts of the late 80s/early 90s are gone since rain reduces Diesel particulates to very low levels, unlike gasoline emissions.
  • by Quirk ( 36086 ) on Tuesday February 28, 2006 @01:41AM (#14814749) Homepage Journal
    I'm not one to nit pic mainly cause I like to sling slang too but the imagery and gridlocked metaphors here are just too much to pass up.

    the FOSS shot heard 'round the world

    quietly building pressure for an open source earthquake

    On the face of it

    setting the world on fire

    if you dig just a little deeper

    the seeds of more profound change gradually developing.

    I'd like to try to compete but I'm just not up to it.

    Well done and thanks for the laughs

  • Flighty CARB (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If they'd stuck with the Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate, then back in 2003, 10% of vehicles sold in California would have been electric cars. Instead they gave in to the pressure from GM and Ford, and all we have are a handful of hybrid vehicles.

    I don't think we can trust them to stick with FOSS measures. The pressure from Microsoft and other closed source shops will again be too much for CARB to take.
    • How many cars does 10% of new cars sold in California in one year represent? Do you really think that many people want an all electric car?
      • Do you really think that many people want an all electric car?

        If owning them means being able to pimp them out with carpool lane access stickers, they will buy.
      • Hell, at 6'5" I'd settle for a car I could fit in. There are probably 3-4 cars that I can actually fit in without my head hitting the roof. One of those is a Touareg. The others seem to be pickup trucks. Oh, unless I want one of those Toyota Land Tanks, but they don't come with any munitions for my daily commute so that's out.

        I'd buy an electric car in a heartbeat if I could actually fit in one and not feel like I was in a clown car and have it go more than 60 miles without having to recharge the bugger.

    • Yes, and thanks to all those electric vehicles, the pollution would have been transferred from being distributed all over the roads by many tailpipes, to being concentrated in a few power station chimbleys. It still takes the same amount of energy to move a car whether it comes from an onboard fuel-burning engine or a remote fuel-burning engine.

      Still, with a little luck, the economies of centralised power generation {scale, and not having to lug fuel around with you from place to place} might offset so
      • also, power station chimney stacks don't vent directly into the personal space of the general population of a city. (you'd hope.)

        Plus an electric car could be augmented with it's own solar panels. The surface area of panels on all those cars would be a heck of a lot. If you covered the equivalent area of land there would be uproar.

      • Still, with a little luck, the economies of centralised power generation {scale, and not having to lug fuel around with you from place to place} might offset some of the losses incurred in distribution and the charging/discharging cycle.

        Don't forget the reduced energy desity of batteries. A vehicle with a 500 mile range on electric power is going to weigh a LOT more than a gas powered vehicle. It costs energy to move all that weight.

        And then there's also the issue of disposing of hundreds of pounds o
        • And then there's also the issue of disposing of hundreds of pounds of batteries every few years. Nobody really seems to think about that one much. 100 pounds of batteries per year, per vehicle (ballpark estimate) is a pretty significant amount of chemical waste. I don't see people factoring in the environmental cost of that.

          Lead-acid batteries, despite their reputation, are actually 100% recyclable. Lead is a valuable enough resource that it's never not worth the effort of recovering it. Dilute sulphur

  • That really shouldn't be within the purview of the Air Resources Board.
  • Good FUD piece (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 )
    It would probably be more convincing if it wasn't on a site called "madpenguin", which has all of the credibility of my little sister's blog.

    Also, they went a bit overboard on the FUD, too: "In the eleven years we've been doing open source, we have not, in my view, had one failure in applying open source solutions." Wow. These guys must be the best IT staff on the planet, if they haven't (in his view), "had a single failure in (applying) open source solutions".

    Also, you're not going to find any inte
    • First, FUD isn't the word you want to apply here.

      Second, you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

      They haven't had a failure in applying an open source solution to a problem.

      So, they need a database. They might not have been able to get X, Y or Z package working. But Open Source Database W works just fine for them. That's a success. They successfully applied open source to a problem.

      Get it?
  • No question mark because it's a rehetorical question. I saw this as an interesting confirmation of my theory that the last place we'll see FOSS is in the schools. I find it fascinating that the earliest adopters of fOSS are in the business community. No surprise there, business is cut-throat. You've got to take every advantage you can. The first wave f public sector adoption is taking place in governmental administative agencies. Again no surprise. As the article pointed out even the Governator was pus
  • I really don't see why nobody has thought of this. In cities, you have known times of day when there are going to be many vehicles chuffing out waste products. So accept this as inevitable. Instead of trying to minimise what is coming out of vehicles, try mitigating the effects of what has already come out of vehicles. Build air ducts in the roadway, leading to a purification plant: draw in the fumes, filter out the nasty stuff with cyclones, chemicals, activated charcoal, electrostatic precipitation a
  • It would behoove the state of California to base its servers in the San Jose area. Would provide a base of employees with expertise beyond the state's needs, and would provide jobs to some of the laid-off-from-the-slump Linux experts.
  • They want to use open source software, but they're opposed to open-source IC engines (ie. they support the "weld the hood shut, and treat shadetree mechanics like criminals" approach to enforcing automotive emissions controls).

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents