Mental Ward

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It's Official: Hands Off of Xen

Well, Citrix has released its guidelines about using the Xen name, and it's about like I expected, and blogged about last week.

In a nutshell, Citrix says "The name Xen is ours. Hands off." Here is the key sentence (emphasis in the original):

"All uses of the Xen Marks are reviewable by Citrix who, acting in the interests of the Xen community and in the interests of protecting the value of the Xen Marks themselves, expressly reserves the right to revoke permission to use the Xen Marks."

Again, it's amusing to use language like "acting in the interests of the Xen community." If you're in the non-commercial, open source Xen community (developers and users both), do you feel like it's in your interests? Maybe so -- perhaps you'll feel more comfortable using a Xen-branded product knowing it's been developed (or at least tested and released) by Citrix, rather than some open source Xen effort with code from who knows where. It will cause a differentiation in that regard, and that could be a good thing.

I have a hunch, however, that if you gave veritaserum, the truth-forcing potion from the "Harry Potter" books, to Citrix execs, and had them rewrite that phrase, it might come out a little different. Something like the following:

"All uses of the Xen Marks are reviewable by Citrix who, acting in the interests of Citrix alone and Citrix' profit margin, expressly reserves the right to revoke permission to use the Xen Marks."

Finally, as suspected, you'll be in trouble for using Xen at the front of a name. Here's what I wrote earlier:

"It seems that naming conventions with "Xen" at the beginning are the ones that will be targeted. Thus, you can develop products around Xen all you want. Just don't call them "XenSomethingOrOther" -- that will likely bring the courier to your door with a certified letter."

Here's what Citrix says:

"However, because of a desire to avoid confusing customers, and to preserve the Xen Marks for all community members going forward, no other commercial or non-commercial software products can be called "Xen_____," (or any other similar appellation) without the express written permission of Citrix."

Hey, it's nice to occassionally be right with my predictions! In my previous blog, I asked for your thoughts on this, and didn't get any responses. Does this mean you don't care one way or another? Tell me now.

Posted by Keith Ward on 06/02/2008 at 12:48 PM


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