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Re: [Xen-API] Announcing new version of "XCP"

  • To: xen-api@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • From: Gémes Géza <geza@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2013 17:23:44 +0200
  • Delivery-date: Tue, 25 Jun 2013 15:24:13 +0000
  • List-id: User and development list for XCP and XAPI <xen-api.lists.xen.org>

Hi Mike,
Hi xen-api,

Today Citrix has made a few big announcements. One is that there is a new version of XenServer available, version 6.2. Another is that this version of XenServer is available for use completely free -- all the features of XenServer that used to be available only in the Platinum edition (or in XCP) are now available without applying a product license, and without paying Citrix money. And the biggest announcement that Citrix made is that we are now committed to making XenServer fully open source.

You are probably aware of Citrix's "interesting" relationship with open-source software, particularly with the peculiarities of the relationship between XCP and XenServer. These issues stemmed from the original way in which XenServer was open sourced. We open sourced most of the XenServer code base with no intention of forming a development community around it, but instead to create a new thing, called XCP, which would function as the vehicle to showcase this newly open sourced code. It would start out as a de-branded XenServer, but the hopes were that it would truly become a broader, open source virtualisation platform for cloud computing. That never really happened, and XCP was left as a strange twin brother to XenServer, one that Citrix as a business never really acknowledged the existence of.

We would like to change that. Citrix as a business is happy with how CloudStack's Apache foundation move has gone, and would like to see a similar thing happen with XenServer. XenServer Engineering is committed to making XenServer a proper open source product, and is working right now to figure out how to change our development model to be more open source. We are putting BSD or GPL licenses on all but a few of our source repositories, and we are in the process of setting up public mirrors to those repositories, along with mailing lists to accept code contributions.

We aren't planning on XenServer becoming a true open source project overnight, but we are laying the foundations for this change to happen. As a result of this move to open source, a number of changes will be happening to XenServer and XCP:

- XenServer will be completely free to use. We will still charge for support, but we are no longer restricting any features* in the free edition. There will also no longer be a need to "activate" the free edition. Essentially the XenServer you download from Citrix will function the same as the XCP you downloaded from xen.org. (* The only thing that can be done with a paid-for XenServer is apply hotfixes via XenCenter. Hotfixes will still be applicable via the CLI.)

- Notable software that we are open sourcing is our windows PV drivers, XenCenter, and HA. We will not be open sourcing the v6 license daemon (links to closed-source binary), our build system code (we're moving away from our current build system, and we don't have the resources to support external users) nor any of the closed source third-party driver tools we ship with XenServer, for which we have no control over.

- XenServer's installer will have an option to install only open source components. This option will be enabled by default when upgrading from XCP. The compoenents that won't be installed include closed-source storage drivers, the v6d licensing daemon, and the HA daemon. (Unfortunately, we don't own the copyright to the HA daemon code, and weren't able to get approval from the owner to release the code as GPL in time for the XenServer 6.2 release. We have since received permission to release this code as GPLv2, and we will be doing so shortly.)

- The latest version of XenServer will be able to upgrade from XCP 1.6. If someone upgrades from XCP 1.6 to XenServer 6.2, they will have the pure-open source configuration. If you do not want this, then we recommend you do a fresh install.

- We are fixing the components that make up XenServer so that they are buildable and installable on third-party Linux distros. We started this effort with project Kronos, and we're picking it up again in response to CentOS's Xen initiative. We're committing to becoming a proper upstream software producer from which other Linux distros can package our software.

- We will no longer build a thing called XCP. Because XenServer is free to use in both the gratis and libre sense, there is no longer a need to produce a different build of XenServer that is debranded and slightly hobbled. The complexity of producing XCP over the years has been too high, and the benefits of doing so from an open source perspective have disappeared in light of the changes that we're making to both XenServer itself, and the XenServer development model. I really want to emphasise here that XCP users will be getting a better deal than they had before. No more delays to XCP releases, timely hotfixes that can be easily installed, and a product that's even more open than it was before.

- XCP users who upgrade or switch to using XenServer will have a number of benefits. XenCenter will work much better with XenServer than it ever did with XCP. Hotfixes will be applicable as soon as they are created, without the need to convert them to be applicable on XCP. HA will be available. And no more waiting for months for a new version of XCP to be built after a XenServer release.

I'm really excited about these changes to XenServer. I want to really emphasise that the XCP community will be getting so much more out of the new XenServer than they did out of XCP, both in terms of features, and open source software. Please go visit the new XenServer.org [2] website, and follow the download links to try XenServer 6.2. If you're interested in the souce code itself, check out the XenServer organisation on Github [3]. As we announced last week, the Xapi Toolstack code is not at github.com/xapi-project [4].


You have answered the question I've asked about the future of XCP a few minutes ago.

Thank you for this wonderful news!


Geza Gemes

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