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Why Open Source Hardware Is No Oxymoron

Jan 24, 2013, 10:00 (0 Talkback[s])

It was April 2011, and Heiliger — the man who oversaw all the hardware driving Facebook’s online empire — was announcing the creation of something Facebook called the Open Compute Project. As Google, Amazon, and other online giants jealously guarded the technology inside their massive computing facilities — treating data center design as the most important of trade secrets — Heiliger and Facebook took the opposite tack, sharing their hardware designs with the rest of the world and encouraging others to do the same. The aim was to transform competition into collaboration, Heiliger said — to improve computer hardware using the same communal ethos that underpins the world of open source software.

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