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XenSource calls VMware a cash-hogging automobile

Open source explained through car talk, bandits

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LinuxWorld XenSource CTO Simon Crosby wishes all the best for the folks at VMware. But he has one simple request; please stop hogging all the money.

Open source virtualization has a long way to catch up with VMware's slice of market pie, but Crosby assured a panel at LinuxWorld the industry will be a happier place if open code does keep pace.

So why is open source better for everyone? Crosby expounds using that time-tested old chestnut, the automobile metaphor; Xen sells an engine. VMware sells a car.

Selling the "engine" for virtualization alone lets vendors add their own value to the product. Vendors can customize the rest of the package to meet specific customer needs and get to use their own brand. Everyone gets a piece of the pie. It's the sort of strategy seen with the storage management pact between XenSource and Symantec announced last month.

Crosby said this model not only serves customers best, but creates a powerful ecosystem of vendors with a viable economic model. But for this vision to work, the code needs to be open source and available to everyone. Something like — oh maybe— Xen.

Meanwhile, VMware is providing the whole car. It might be sleek, shiny and complete, but what you see is what you get — all at the mercy of VMware. Their proprietary code may get VMware rich, but it leaves everyone else in the cold. And as VMware's platform expands, it's bound to step on partner's toes more and more.

"We want people to use our codebase and have everyone make out like bandits," said Crosby. "Otherwise, only VMWare makes out like bandits. That's not good for the rest of us."

Hey, everyone making money sounds great, but we can't help but think Crosby's engine is running on unleaded sour grapes. ®

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