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Following Up on Crosby's Comments

In the wake of Citrix CTO Simon Crosby revealing to Alessandro Perilli of virtualization.info that Citrix would be "shortly fully sourced" (see "Citrix to Open-Source XenServer"), I got to wondering how his perhaps loose-lipped comment was playing internally at Citrix, and how the company was dealing with it. Upon searching the Citrix site, I came to the conclusion that the company was dealing with it by ignoring it. That could be a function of just sort of hoping that the whole thing would go away, or maybe Citrix was thinking that it simply wasn't important enough to spin one way or the other.

In the immediate wake of Crosby's comments, the implications of a fully open-sourced XenServer didn't seem to be particularly promising or foreboding for any members of the major hypervisor platform cabal.

Still, I was curious, so I contacted Citrix and asked for an interview on the topic. Always quick to respond, they got back to me with an offer to interview Crosby when he gets back from his current, international trip. They also provided a somewhat circuitous, three-paragraph statement that seemed to have a lot of well-intentioned goodness for the XenServer community in its first two paragraphs.

However, the third paragraph seemed more to the point, and I am including it here:

"Citrix XenServer is 100% free and based on open source code, but it is not 100% open source--there are components like the Windows drivers that Citrix has invested in and developed specifically for XenServer. By providing XenServer free of charge, we make it easy for customers to gain the benefits of virtualization via free download or as a built-in capability in our core XenDesktop and XenApp products. This strategy also gives us a competitive edge over VMware, which does not have a comparable product to XenApp and its competitor to XenDesktop does not currently scale comparably."

The gratuitous and highly debatable shot at VMware shot aside, I am led to believe that given a choice, Citrix as a whole would have been just as happy if Crosby had kept his mouth shut.

Question: Is this a tempest in a teapot, or is there more to this story than meets the eye?

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 11/05/2009 at 12:48 PM


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