Xen becomes a Linux Foundation project

Xen becomes a Linux Foundation project

Summary: Xen, Citrix's popular open-source hypervisor, is becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project with the backing of such major technology powers such as Amazon Web Services, Google, and Intel.


San Francisco, CA: In a surprising move, the Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization dedicated to Linux, announced on April 15th at the Linux Collaboration Summit that the Xen Project, the open-source hypervisor, is becoming a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.


Xen, which is now 10-years old, is an open source virtualization platform licensed under the GPLv2 with a similar governance structure to the Linux kernel. Citrix has been Xen's commercial backer since 2007. However, as the project experiences contributions from an increasingly diverse group of companies, Xen is looking to The Linux Foundation to be a neutral forum for providing guidance and facilitating a collaborative network. This new project is going by the old name: Xen Project

While many users may not know Xen, many use it every day. Xen is the basis of not only many virtualization programs, but it's also the foundation of many cloud services, including the biggest cloud provider of all, Amazon Web Services.

According to the Foundation, "Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects are independently funded software projects that harness the power of collaborative development to fuel innovation across industries and ecosystems. By spreading the collaborative DNA of the largest collaborative software development project in history, The Linux Foundation provides the essential collaborative and organizational framework so project hosts can focus on innovation and results. Linux Foundation Collaborative Projects span the enterprise, mobile and embedded markets and are backed by many of the largest names in computing."

The following companies will be contributing to and guiding the Xen Project as founding members are: Amazon Web Services, AMD, Bromium, Calxeda, CA Technologies, Cisco, Citrix, Google, Intel, Oracle, Samsung and Verizon.

Critix will continue to play an important role. “The Linux Foundation will provide the necessary forum and guidance for the Xen Project to be adapted by the diverse group of contributors who are taking advantage of the project’s many benefits,” said Peder Ulander, VP of Open Source Solutions at Citrix. “We’re committed to the Xen Project and look forward to continuing our active participation and collaborating with companies across industries to advance Xen Project for multiple applications.”

Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, said, “The Xen Project is an important open-source community project that provides valuable technology to the entire Linux and open source ecosystem. It’s a natural move for us to help nurture collaboration to advance this technology.”

In addition to providing the necessary framework to support the Xen Project community’s growth, The Linux Foundation also supports the KVM community by hosting KVM Forum and other activities that support the project. Zemlin said that advances in virtualization technologies are key to the ongoing growth of Linux in the enterprise and cloud computing. The open source model thrives when users can exercise freedom of choice, so supporting a range of open source virtualization platforms and facilitating collaboration across open source communities is a priority for The Linux Foundation.

Topics: Open Source, Cloud, Enterprise Software, Virtualization

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  • Xen becomes a Linux Foundation project

    Outstanding news.
  • kvm mention

    What is the point of mentioning KVM Forum? It doesn't appear that KVM is a Linux Foundation project. Are you implying a conflict?
    • KVM is built into the Linux kernel

      Hence the name "Kernel Virtual Machines". I don't know if the kernel itself is a Linux Foundation project, but if it is, it doesn't make a lot of sense to develop Xen as well.
      John L. Ries
      • KVM VRS XEN

        KVM uses the Linux Kernel, so anything you run is running inside Linux.

        XEN runs (I believe) on bare metal, so it isn't running one OS inside another OS. (Though you could consider XEN to be a minimal OS.)

        As such, they are not the same beast. They are similar enough to compete, but really serve different markets.
    • Re: KVM

      Not a conflict

      KVM is a Red Hat Emerging Technology project.
  • The open-source Qubes OS Project is based on Xen


    And Qubes OS version 1 used modified Fedora.

    Steven, why have you not written an article about Qubes OS?
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • +1

      I first heard about Qubes through a distrowatch announcement. I loved the ideology and originality of the project, yet have been at a loss as to why the tech journalists have always overlooked it. I think I've seen one reference to it once on ZDNet, in passing to security strategies. Even then it wasn't really explored.

      I find in general projects sic as this are easily overlooked; the foray back towards Hurd, the Kfreebsd project, Nexanta, illumos... And that's before you get into all the more exotic Linux and BSD flavours. For ZDNet's open source guy, far two much effort does seem to go on tiny changes on the big platforms, instead of big changes on the tiny ones.
  • That is a very pleasing news

    currently install Xen on a high end kernel (read fedora 18) and your whole OS will be broken i hope this move push them forward with current Linux development or better say become a part of standard kernel! But i wonder if Linux does really need two standard virtual solutions i thought everyone was going KVM?
  • Wrong Links?

    You have two links on the “Xen Project”,

    one leads to: http://xen.com/

    and the other to: http://www.xenproject.org./

    Unless I am missing something here, both should be:


    Just checking…
  • Overlap or conflict with KVM?


    Can you please explain the impact in regards with KVM? Would one of these (Xen / KVM) becomes redundant or obsolete in the future?
    • Differences

      KVM allows you to run an instance of another OS inside Linux. This gives you the protections you have enabled in your primary Linux installation. That is how, for instance, Windows 8 is run with it's programs from a Linux server. XEN on the other hand runs everything inside it's own containers. Which approach is better is a matter for you to decide. If your box runs better with Linux, the KVM might be the way to go. If not, then XEN could be better.

      A poster above mention the Qubes OS. That installs Xen, and then runs Fedora Linux inside XEN. Both approaches have advantages. You need to consider each on it's merits.

      For example, in XEN you could allow Windows and Linux to have the same importance. Though, generally, for security, you would create an instance of the OS to run for each application that faces the internet. Then, if the application gets compromised, it doesn't matter, as the application AND the OS are both deleted when you exit the application. You just don't give the guest OS or the Application permission to write, except to a very limited space on the Hard Drive. If none of this makes sense to you, then you don't need this product.

      Personally, I prefer Debian based Distros. But, to each his own.
  • Xen Windows technologies retained?

    Since Citrix has a close technology partnership with Microsoft, providing hundreds of companies with Xen based VDI services for Windows Server OS, it would be interesting to know if Linux Foundation will retain and continue development and enhancement of these Xen Windows services, which are totally contradictory to the singular aims and policies of advancing Linux in the enterprise.

    Normally this dichotomy of purpose would be totally unacceptable or even thinkable inside the Linux Foundation mantra or operations, but since Jim Zemlin, LF Executive Director has on more than one occasion ceded the aims and principles of the Foundation to Microsoft at the expense of the Foundation directive on Linux, Xen may end up being developed more and better to Microsoft 's benefit than to that of commercial Linux.