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Re: [Xen-users] RE: Does it legal to analysize XEN source code and write a book about it

On Mon, 2007-09-17 at 06:11 -0600, Tao Shen wrote:
> Tim Post wrote:
> >   
> >> 3.  In other words, you have a non-GPL'd controller application wrapped 
> >> around an opensourced Xen hypervisor running on a GPL'd but custom Linux 
> >> distribution made by XenSource.  It's crazy how many people on this list 
> >> say "oh Xen is GPL, but XenEnterprise is not" As Tim Post almost made an 
> >> impression that XenEnterprise is a complete beast compared to Xen.
> >>     
> >
> > Xen is free software. XenExpress, XenEnt, XenServer are not free
> > software. At what point did I call it a beast?
> >   
> Tim, I missed a word.  "a completely different beast"...and it's my 
> interpretation of what you said about XenSource maintaining two 
> different source trees and etc.

Ah, no worries. It is a different beast, its development is headed in a
_completely_ different direction. Did you read the press releases?

> Tim, you also are too strict on the following three terms, free, GPL, 
> open source as if you are an IP lawyer.  

Egads! I am NOT a lawyer. Intellectual property is a mirage, show me one
person responsible for shaping their own intellect. I am a free software
freak, I freely admit it. I was there when it started and I helped to
shape it :)

> Of course Xen is free, and 
> XenEnterprise is not.  The point I am making is that XenEnterprise is 
> 85% based on the core Xen which is free, GPL'd, and source made 
> available by XenSource, and is marketed as if it's a different beast.

Most of us see Xen in pieces

Piece 1 - The Hypervisor
Piece 2 - The controls
Piece 3 - The host OS (usually, GNU/Linux)

Whenever you talk about XenEnt, I'm only going to consider piece2.
XenEnt is 100% allowed to charge you for a nice re-packaging of
GNU/Linux. Stallman himself encourages that, so long as you get the four
freedoms with your OS. So, their adaptation of GNU/Linux is , if
anything, a gift. Anyone can use (most of) their efforts.

The Hypervisor is slightly modified from what I understand. Source is
available including those changes, no big deal.

The controls cost them millions to make, _of_course_ they're going to
charge for them. Some people really like those programs. I am _HAPPY_ to
see XenSource profitable, solvent and solid. It guarantees a future for
my free software which I base my living from :)

Some people want a 'cadillac' control system and they are more than
happy to pay for it. I want Xen to get the biggest market share that it
can (free or not free) because Xen has fed me, my wife and my kid for a
couple of years now :)
> My definition of smaller is based on perceived value and perceived 
> function.  The core free Xen Hypervisor has more perceived value and 
> function than the XenEnterprise the wrapping GUI application. 

I happen to agree with you, however, many who want something that 'just
works' will say "hyper WHAT?", they just want point and click utopia,
XenSource delivers it. Would you rather those people went to VMWare or
Microsoft who give nothing at all to free software?

>  To most 
> people that is. To prove my point, if the Xen Hypervisor is designed 
> correctly, everything you can do in XenEnterprise in a GUI environment, 
> you should be able to do in a command line environment. 

Xen (GPL) is building blocks. Leggos. You snap the stuff together how
you want and make your own controls. That's why it has such a big
following amongst more experienced system integrators.

System integrators are often programmers _and_ administrators, we like
Xen, it lets us do whatever the hell we want :)

>  If you look at the development costs in the millions, it's actually 
> cheap.  

I did not say how many millions, Simon might :)

> Development cost really depends on who's developing.  People in 
> the US get paid 5 times as much as people in India for example.  In the 
> US, 1Mil gives you about 20 programmers for a year on average, maybe 10 
> good ones for a year.  

Err, no. Most _GOOD_ programmers are about $80 hourly. 50 hours a week,
52 weeks a year. Do the math ;) 1 Mil gets your 4 programmers and a
slightly lesser paid project manager to track and oversee productivity. 

> I am sure Xen the hypervisor which is free, had 
> way more programmer-years than the non-GPL'd GUI.  And some of the 
> functions that's in the Xen Hypervisor is not enabled in the XenExpress 
> as if XenExpress arbitrarily limit functionality of the core Xen 
> Hypervisor to promote higher priced Server/Enterprise versions even 
> though the Xen Hypervisor hasn't changed.

Actually, I believe, the HV did change. Maybe someone can post a diff
from the source packages included with XenExp or XenEnt?

> >   
> >> 4. The issues with closed source Windows Paravirtualization is this:  
> >> whether or not it's merged to the Xen Server/Enterprise source tree(the 
> >> controller and UI parts, which is not GPL'd) or it's interfaced to the 
> >> Xen hypervisor source tree(which is GPL'd). 

"Interfaced" is where your losing it. You need to better understand
hypercalls and API's. Xen has 'hooks' for any program that speaks its
language to talk to it. That means, those programs use a method, not HV
code to do their work.

> Ok, Timster.  You are correct on that "They are under no obligations to 
> make it free" 
> My statement uses the words "should be" as merely suggestive that 
> perhaps a open standard, API for the windows paravirtualization driver 
> is of more utility and beneficial to both Microsoft, XenSource, and the 
> end user.  

I agree, but we're coming back to, they have given you a mile and you
continue to ask for more. They _NEED_ to make money too. Windows is not
free software, nobody in their right mind expects free drivers from
Microsoft, why would you expect them from XenSource? 

> Of course XenSource doesn't see it that way, and they see it 
> as another way to make money.  Legal for sure.  

One of the _FEW_ ways that they make money, you mean. XenSource had to
get very creative to make the offerings that they have. If they give up
any more, they'll find themselves in the hosting business as a last
resort. That would be very unfortunate. 

> Alienating potential 
> customers for sure. 

Well, I'm not a good one to guess on that. I am a FSF fundie, I have not
used software that was not GPL since X-Windows was stable. Prior to
that, I got e-mail with PINE. I can not stand Microsoft products, I have
been annoyed with them ever since they refused to give me the source
code to EDLIN. Man I hated that editor and I was STUCK with it because
there was no alternate for DOS at the time. Once I got something that
could build and use emacs, I never went back.

I've also never had to deal with a single piece of spyware :)

> Ok Tim, I got to get 1 hour of sleep before I have to wake up again :)  
> We shall continue the discussion in another time.

If you stop saying words like 'trickery', I'm happy to discuss it. Every
time you say those words I have to ask you to stop.


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