Tax Break: Facebook Forms Open Compute Foundation

Amid the discussion of data center specifications and other high-tech arcana, Facebook announced the formation of the Open Compute Foundation to lead the development of energy efficient hardware infrastructure.

While the formal announcement didn’t say anything about money, other than the fact that Don Duet from Goldman Sachs would advise the Open Compute entity, foundations typically administer charitable trusts and make grants.

Foundations can become tax shelters for those who run them, since they are a form of charity. That largely explains why many companies create entire departments or divisions to make donations: lowering the amount of taxes owed while enabling rather noble looking brand associations.

Given that the companies joining Facebook in the Open Compute Foundation have been creating many jobs and boosting the U.S.’ gross domestic product, finding any kind of tax benefit seems fair, especially if it’s part o conserving energy use.

That said, here’s the official announcement of the foundation that posted on the organization’s website:

When we announced the initiation of the Open Compute Project earlier this year, we posed an audacious question to the industry: What if hardware were open?The benefits, if we could make it work, were clear enough: More openness and collaboration would likely mean a faster pace of innovation in infrastructure technology, greater accessibility to the best possible technology for us all, more efficiency in scale computing and a reduced environmental impact through the sharing of best practices.

The community has since responded to the challenge of making hardware more open with an enthusiasm and a level of commitment that has exceeded our expectations. We’ve spent the last six months working with many of you to build meaningful structure around the Open Compute Project, solicit tangible contributions to push the Project’s work forward and find ways to start making Open Compute hardware available to anyone who wants to consume it.

Today, at the second Open Compute Project Summit in New York City, we announced the formation of a foundation to lead the Open Compute Project going forward. We also announced an initial slate of directors and advisers that includes Andy Bechtolsheim from Arista Networks, Don Duet from Goldman Sachs, Frank Frankovsky from Facebook, Mark Roenigk from Rackspace and Jason Waxman from Intel.

In addition, we’re releasing a summary of our mission and guiding principles (will be live later today) andfurther details on how projects will be proposed, evaluated and supported under the OCP banner. We’ll also release a full list of the Project’s first set of official members soon, but some examples include hardware suppliers like Intel, ASUS, Dell, Mellanox, and Huawei; software suppliers like Red Hat, Cloudera and Future Facilities; enablers like DRT, Hyve (Synnex), Nebula, Baidu, and Silicon Mechanics; consumers like Facebook, Mozilla, Rackspace, Netflix, NTT Data, Tivit, the ODCA, and Goldman Sachs. Also participating from an institutional perspective are organizations like Georgia Tech University, North Carolina State University, and CERN.

A great deal of work remains to be done. We need to continue to grow the community and enable it to take on new challenges. We need to ensure that, as the community evolves, it retains its flat structure and its merit-based approach to evaluating potential projects. And we need to keep the community focused on delivering tangible results.

But what began a few short months ago as an audacious idea – what if hardware were open? – is now a fully formed industry initiative, with a clear vision, a strong base to build from and significant momentum. We are officially on our way.

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