Citrix Project Independence is now XenClient and will be free

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Citrix doesn’t seem happy enough to give away a free server hypervisor (XenServer) and its management console (XenCenter). Now the company wants to give away for free also that client hypervisor that will be so important in next generation virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI).

During his opening keynote at the Citrix Synergy 2009, Mark Templeton announced that the much discussed Project Independence (developed in collaboration with Intel) is now called XenClient, and that Citrix will offer it for free.
Duding the second day keynote, Ian Pratt showed XenClient in action on a PC and, with much surprise on an Apple hardware. It’s not clear what kind of agreements exist between Citrix and Apple but so far the Cupertino company never allowed a type-1 VMM (aka hypervisor) to run on its computers.
The complete recording of the demo is available here.

The first technical preview/beta of the PC version should appear in H2 2009, with an RTM expected for the end of the year.
Pratt didn’t provide any specific date for the Apple version.

The more Citrix announces free products, the more the customers have concerns about the feasibility of the new business model that Citrix is pursuing.
But at the same time, every time Citrix announces a free product it creates serious issues to VMware, which has to justify every day more frequently the premium price that its customer have to pay.
It will probably take some months before we’ll be able to see how this strategy will impact the VMware behavior.