08.30.07

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Watch and Learn How Microsoft Hijacks Rival Companies by Proxy

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Servers, Virtualisation, Windows, Xen at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A classic example. Think about OOXML and the Linux deals while reading this.

In mainstream media, headlines rarely tell the story. They state what companies want to be told because press releases and E-mails to journalists are picky and selective). Microsoft has recently taken control of Xen and tightened the screws on an agenda which it had already skewed last year when the partnership with XenSource began. A proxy, Citrix in this case, was used by Microsoft in order to escape antitrust wrath and direct contact with the GNU GPL.

The following new bit says it all.

The former Microsoft Latest News about Microsoft general manager is now vice president of XenSource, a Palo Alto, Calif., virtualization company with a growing outpost in Redmond, Wash.

It did not take long for a Free software trailblazer to be abducted by the company it threatened the most. Red Hat and Novell were just few among the Linux companies that needed Xen.

Citrix is close to and dependent on Microsoft. Last week we also discovered that it also has a poor sense of dignity.

Shareholders Sue Over Alleged Backdating by Citrix Systems Execs

A year after John C. Burris was hired as senior vice president of Citrix Systems, the company’s compensation committee granted him options for 42,000 shares of company stock valued at $15.69 a share, according to court documents.

But what has really happened recently? We covered this story at least twice before we probably have not stressed the takeaway strongly enough. For their future value (learning from the past), keep the following bunch of articles in mind. We may need to refer back to them.

Will Microsoft Buy the New Citrix?

VMware, holding some 85 percent of the market, with its VI3 technologies offers a fully integrated stack and represents a third generation of virtualization technology, while Viridian and Xen-based products, including SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, XenEnterprise and Virtual Iron, remain second-generation products, the report stated.

What the XenSource deal says about open source

This is what Citrix is paying for. That and a close relationship with Microsoft that looks likely to get closer. “We will be building dynamic virtualization services and management tools on top of Viridian,” Levine added. “We will build the same set of products we’ve built on top of Xen for Viridian. We’ve already hired a team to go do that up in Redmond.”

While Citrix maintained it will continue support for the Xen project, this deal is not about a proprietary vendor getting open source religion. It’s about grabbing an emerging player in a rapidly expanding sector of the market.

Virtualization Market Reshapes

“We prefer more freeware and open source,” said Christopher Boone, CEO of AppCentral Technologies, in San Francisco. “We had considered XenSource in the past, but we have a partnership with Microsoft and use their [free virtualization technology]…I think we will see a lot of consolidation in this space. EMC’s acquisition of VMware and now the IPO and its performance [are] indicative of the market’s appetite for this kind of technology.”

Does Citrix Have A Chance Against VMware In Virtualization?

“VMware will probably not be able to maintain its extreme domination in the server virtualization market forever,” Kumar writes, “but there is not other realistic competition right now. Microsoft is far behind and everybody else, including XenSource, is a speck on the horizon.”

Worry not however. There’s no need for a “good bye and good riddance”-type reaction. KVM is already here and it’s said to be much more elegant in terms of implementation.

For sysadmin types this means: do what you have to do with Xen for now. But keep the investments small. For developers this means: don’t let yourself be tied to a platform. Use an abstraction layer such as libvirt to bridge over the differences. For architects this means: don’t looking to Xen for answers, base your new designs on KVM.

There are several more open source hypervisor. They will fill the void and inherit the space that Xen might leave empty in the future. It is disappointing to find that Novell still plans to put its Linux under Windows. That’s Novell’s poor strategy, which is akin to servitude.

At these times when we see many suspicious deals and acquisitions, it’s worth bearing in mind that Microsoft is preoccupied with ways of subverting the rivals’ agenda. It’s easier than producing good products, with which it has been struggling recently (Windows Server 2008′s release date was pushed back yesterday).

Microsoft wants to poison Free software (OSI) and Linux, among other competitive threats and emerging trends, such as virtualisation. We must identify and interpret Microsoft’s reaction. We needn’t see another SCO.

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7 Comments

  1. Stephen said,

    August 30, 2007 at 6:34 am

    Gravatar

    XenSource have always had a for-sale product, this is the enabling technology for Microsoft’s hypervisor solution. OpenSource Xen, which is part of Novell core technologies is, however, opensource and will constinue to remain so – Novell make active and high profile contributions in that space. Microsoft can’t close it off – in fact, if they try, they’ll have to make the code they contribute opensource – and then it’s open to the community. I would suspect a GPL3 in Xen’s near future – that might keep the dogs at bay.

    To recommend keeping the investments in Xen “small” is therefore a miseducated joke. I would also preduct that future won’t be Xen or Virtual PC or VMWare, it will be in virtualized platform management whatever platform that happens to be.

  2. Sam Hiser said,

    August 30, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Gravatar

    Autonomy counts for EVERYTHING! Debian | Ubuntu proved the benefits of conservatism in adopting code and the long view.

    Here, the message I take is: ‘XenSource is now a Microsoft satalite; stop using Xen…use VMWare’.

  3. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 30, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Gravatar

    Stephen,

    Days ago Matt Asay sort of called people to fork Xen and it got the attention of XenSource, who pretty much had him retract or correct himself. I tend to sidle with Sam on this one for the same reason that I steer away from Novell.

    Novell’s new contract in Germany is not as encouraging as Munich’s migration to a specialised Debian GNU/Linux derivative.

  4. gpl1 said,

    August 30, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Gravatar

    This is interesting to read in light of what you’re saying…

    http://www.bellevuelinux.org/interlocking_directorship.html

    Interlocking Directorship Definition

    The term interlocking directorship in its strictest sense refers to the situation in which a member of the board of directors of one corporation also serves as a member of the board of directors of another corporation. A broader and more useful definition is the situation in which (1) a member of the board of directors of a company, (2) a top executive of that company or (3) a close relative (e..g., wife or father) of a member of the board of directors or of a top executive of that company serves as a member of the board of directors of another corporation. Interlocking directorships have long been used by corporations to maintain and expand their power. For example, they can be used to form a cartel, which is a form of collusion between firms in the same industry aimed at restricting output and increasing prices. They can also be used to gain influence or control over major suppliers or customers.

  5. Roy Schestowitz said,

    August 30, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Gravatar

    gpl1, I am aware of other Open Source company where role are being occupied by ex-Softies. This is worrisome (at the least).

  6. Aronzak said,

    November 13, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Gravatar

    “Here, the message I take is: ‘XenSource is now a Microsoft satalite; stop using Xen…use VMWare’”

    VMWare is not open source, and is hard to set up. Use sun’s Virtualbox Open Source Edition, or QEMU

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    November 13, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Gravatar

    Have a look at KVM. It is becoming a better and better Linux feature.

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