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ELI5: Open Compute Project — Advancing Hardware Technologies Through Open Source

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While the concept of leveraging open source communities to help build robust and efficient projects is quite common in software, applying open source principles and practice to hardware at scale was almost unheard of. In April of 2011, Facebook launched the Open Compute Project (OCP) with help from other computing leaders with the purpose to share, promote and foster innovations in the datacenter hardware community in an open and efficient manner. The launch of OCP marked the creation of the world’s first large scale open source hardware project.

In this blog post, we explain the Open Compute Project in a way that is simple to understand (or as it’s commonly known online, ELI5. If you’re interested in learning by watching or listening, check out the linked video about OCP on our Facebook Open Source Youtube channel.

Why Open Compute?

The Open Compute Project or OCP is a non-profit organization focused on sharing designs and best practices for data center products.

Let’s take a look at how it all started. In 2009, Facebook was growing exponentially, serving millions of global users. In order to continue serving the growing number of people on its platform, it needed to reimagine multiple facets of its data centers to control costs and energy consumption. Facebook began an internal project called “Project Freedom” which focused on redesigning an efficient data center from the ground up, re-envisioning the software, servers, racks, power supplies and cooling.

In 2011, Facebook publicly shared these designs to the world. It also partnered with Goldman Sachs, Andy Bechtolsheim, Intel and Rackspace to found the Open Compute Project whose mission is to apply the benefits of open source and open collaboration to hardware and rapidly increase the pace of innovation in data centers.

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How is the Open Compute Project maintained?

The OCP Foundation maintains a number of projects including data center cooling, rack designs, server designs and storage. A full list of OCP projects can be found on their website.

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Because OCP is open-sourced, it welcomes contributions from the community. In order to maintain a level of consistency and excellence, all contributions and project decisions are measured against four key tenets – openness, efficiency, scale and impact. A full explanation of the tenets can be found in this slide deck here.

When presenting to the technical committee, each contribution must show how it adheres to these tenets. OCP does not accept a specification or contribution unless there is a viable route to market (for example, a supplier is enabled within 120 days). Adhering to these tenets enables OCP to continue creating products that impact and move the market forward rather than just devolving into a library of paper specifications.

How is the Open Compute Project used today?

The original data center that Facebook had built when it open sourced its data center designs still stands in Prineville, Oregon. Ten years after its inception, OCP is enthusiastically embraced by the industry; now there are over 140 intellectual property (IP) contributions from 22 different companies representing more than 170 products across areas such as servers, storage, networking, interconnects and more.

Outside of Facebook, the list of OCP members includes over 200 companies. OCP is used across a number of telecommunications companies, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), large web based enterprises (i.e. SaaS), the public sector and in High Performance Computing.

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Additional resources to learn more

If you are interested in contributing, check out the ”How to Contribute” guide which discusses the steps to present your idea to the appropriate Project Group, write a spec (OCP Specification Template) and get your product in the OCP marketplace.

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To learn more about OCP, visit their website, follow them on Twitter @OpenComputePrj and subscribe to their YouTube Channel.

About the ELI5 series

In a series of short videos, one of our Developer Advocates on the Facebook Open Source team explains a Facebook open source project in a way that is easy to understand and use.

We will write an accompanying blog post (like the one you’re reading right now) for each of these videos, which you can find on our YouTube channel.

To learn more about Facebook Open Source, visit our open source site, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Interested in working with open source at Facebook? Check out our open source-related job postings on our career page by taking this quick survey.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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