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Crosby: Xen Trademark Policy is Fair

Simon Crosby, CTO of Citrix and former head of XenSource, responded via e-mail to several recent blog entries of mine regarding the new trademark policy surrounding Xen. He thinks I'm off base and wants to give the Citrix take on the issue. As always, his comments are worth reading. Here they are, reproduced verbatim:

"1. The new TM policy is approved by the Xen Advisory board, not just Citrix. That's Intel, Red Hat, Novell, Sun, IBM and Citrix.

2. It was available for community comment for a substantial period, and all of that feedback was used in the final version.

3. We are in the unfortunate position that for our commercial product is named XenServer. So any other XenABC risks confusion. We therefore requested the community to respect that, and I've seen no negative response. Importantly all of the other Xen based products are named differently today, so there is no incumbent competitive issue.

So it's not "Hands off" but "hands on, go for it" with clarification as requested by the community. The AB has done a good job here"

Crosby makes good points, but I differ with him on the following:

First, the Xen Advisory Board (AB) does a fine job by all appearances, but it's made up of commercial companies. Naturally, those organizations would support a company's trademark policy, since it doesn't affect them in any way. My point was more about open source developers and how they'll be affected.

"All of that feedback was used in the final version" only means all feedback was considered; it doesn't mean that it was all accepted. I'd be interested in knowing how much feedback there was, and how much of it was against the policy released a few days ago.

Finally, Simon writes "We are in the unfortunate position..." I wonder if that's just poor phrasing on Simon's part. After all, the name was chosen by Citrix; is that an admission that it was a mistake to go with the name?

If the open source and virtualization communities had full input into the policy and seem to be happy with it, it's hard to argue with Citrix's position. Again, I put it to the readers: Tell me what you think about the policy.

Posted by Keith Ward on 06/04/2008 at 12:48 PM


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