The long running project is designed to counter what Oxide co-founder Jess Frazelle called hyperscalers like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft having 'infrastructure privilege' since they long ago decided they could build their own hardware and software to fulfill their needs better than commodity vendors.
Frazelle had seen a chance to make an impact with "better integration between the hardware and software stacks, better power distribution, and better density. It's even better for the environment due to the energy consumption wins."
Oxide CTO Bryan Cantrill sees real problems in the proprietary firmware that sits between hardware and system software — so Oxide's server eliminates the BIOS and UEFI altogether, and replaces the hardware-managing baseboard management controller (or BMC) with "a proper service processor."
They wrote their own custom, all-Rust operating system (named Hubris). On the Software Engineering Daily podcast, Cantrill says "These things boot like a rocket."
The project is open source and Oxide's early funders include 92-year-old Pierre Lamond (who hired Andy Grove at Fairchild Semiconductor) — and customers who supported their vision.
On Software Engineering Daily's podcast Cantrill points out that "If you're going to use a lot of compute, you actually don't want to rent it — you want to own it."