Citrix CEO discusses Linux, licensing

FRAMINGHAM (10/17/2003) - Application access software vendor Citrix Systems Inc. held its iForum user conference in Orlando this week. In an interview with Computerworld, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton discussed his Linux strategy and the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company's attempt to respond to users' concerns about its licensing schemes. Excerpts follow:

Citrix has been joined at the hip with Microsoft for well over a decade. Given that Microsoft sees Linux as a competitive threat, do you see Linux as a threat or an opportunity?

Neither. We see it as just another part of the application infrastructure complexity that customers deal with. Our role is to make sure we stay focused on our goal to provide customers with a suite of products that allow them to deal with that complexity.

What are the prospects that Citrix will offer a MetaFrame Presentation Server for Linux?

It's possible. We already offer a MetaFrame Presentation Server for other variations of Unix -- Solaris, AIX and HP-UX. So from a technical perspective, there's no obstacle in any way, shape or form there.

Is Microsoft an obstacle?

They're not, because this is about doing what customers need for access. What customers need really drives what we build. But the fact of the matter is there aren't any widely accepted applications at the user tier where applications are accessed that are built on Linux. And there are very few on Unix anymore.

At last year's iForum, you told us that Citrix's licensing was too complicated, that the company was working on technology to solve the problem, and that you would present the technology to users in about a year. How's it coming?

The technology-based approach that I promised, we demonstrated yesterday morning. We demonstrated an access suite licensing service that we'll release next year. The licensing service basically allows IT to have one place to go to see all of the licenses that they own, where they are and their utilization. They can optimize the utilization of licenses so they can buy more when they need more, not when they guess they need more.

You said it would be ready next year. Can you nail that down at all?

I can't right now. I've got all kinds of guys on my butt that tell me I can't say.

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