RES Software pulls out the legal guns to squash a free user environment manager

Many of you know Pierre Marmignon (@pmarmignon), creator of many free tools, owner of CitrixTools.Net, a Citrix CTP, and one of our speakers at BriForum London this coming May.

Many of you know Pierre Marmignon (@pmarmignon), creator of many free tools, owner of CitrixTools.Net, a Citrix CTP, and one of our speakers at BriForum London this coming May. (This is all in addition to his day job as the Citrix Department Manager at Overlap Groupe, a French systems integrator.)

Pierre Marmignon

For the past year or so, Pierre has been working on a project called "Virtual User Environment Manager," or "VUEM." Pierre's been talking about VUEM for a long time. In a July 2010 interview published on XenAppBlog.com, Pierre said that "Virtual User Environment Manager has been designed to provide a first level environment management (e.g., shortcuts creation, network drives mapping, network printers, registry stuff). The tool will be architectured around a SQL Database, an Admin console and, an agent."

When asked whether VUEM would compete with tools like Citrix User Profile Manager and Flex Profiles, Pierre said, "Well I like to say that UPM and Flex are managing the profile settings save / restore while VUEM will manage the environment. Basically it has been designed to be a perfect UPM / Flex companion, taking care of the environment management part which is for now missing in these two products."

After working on VUEM for a long time, it's getting really close to release. In fact he sent Gabe and I a beta version in January, (which we've enjoyed!), and the final version was just coming out now. And in fact on March 17 (about two weeks ago), Pierre gave a presentation about profile management and VUEM at the Citrix French Experts Community meeting. (This is like the Citrix User Group for France.) He tweeted, "VUEM presentation at Citrix French Experts Community today was a real success ! v1.1.6 was demoed on XenApp 6 & XenDesktop 5."

That was on Thursday. On Monday Pierre learned that RES Software had sent a letter to his employer, Overlap, demanding that he immediately stop the distribution of VUEM and pay 50,000 Euros for damages, with further penalties for each day the distribution does not stop.

The next day, Pierre announced that "the release of VUEM would be delayed due to external constraints." A few days later, Shawn Bass wrote that it was due to a lawsuit from RES Software.

The French Citrix community reacts

Having spent time with the French community over the years, I have a few dozen contacts there, and it didn't take long for them to start sharing their perspectives on this. No one wanted to speak on the record given (mostly to protect Pierre, but also so as not to incur the wrath of RES), but their stories were all basically the same:

Arret

They shared that one of the audience members who saw Pierre's presentation went back to RES and told them that Pierre was proud to show a tool that was free and "better than PowerFuse." (They were clear to point out that is not what Pierre said, but rather that's what was told to RES.)

They confirmed details of the letter that RES sent to Overlap.

The reason, they claimed, was that the contract between RES and Overlap states that it’s strictly prohibited for the partner to develop a competitive offering to a RES product.

But they also point out that Overlap is an integrator, not an ISV, and that Pierre developed VUEM alone and in his spare time. (And that there's no contract between Pierre and Overlap for that.) So really it seems that this letter is without merit since Overlap has nothing to do with VUEM.

And for this they are outraged.

Said one attendee, "Of course, we (The French Citrix Community) can’t accept that a company could attack the moral values of sharing, exchange, help and dedication who exists around the Citrix Expert Club and specially Pierre Marmignon."

Another attendee confirmed that even Citrix is upset with RES's behavior, and that they even sent an email to all the Citrix Expert Group attendees explaining what happened and to support Pierre.

What does RES have to say?

Of course there are always two sides to every story. I emailed a few contacts at RES, and they all referred me to Marc Zinnemers, their CFO.

Marc responded to my email immediately, providing the following statement:

As an innovative company, RES Software actively protects its intellectual property rights and business interests (including the interests of our partners). Thereto we are taking all necessary steps to stop infringements.

Unfortunately this statement actually raises more questions than it answers. For instance, the members of the French Citrix community are saying that the letter is more about the reseller contract between RES and Overlap, and whether Overlap is allowed to develop competitive products. But this response almost makes it seem like RES is accusing Pierre of taking their intellectual property. Maybe they're suggesting that he saw a road map and stole some ideas? Maybe they're suggesting that he copied the product? (Although having used both products, they are not the same thing so I don't know where that would come from.)

I emailed Marc back immediately to ask for clarification, but even though he answered my first email with a few minutes, my second email went unanswered for three days. I emailed him again yesterday, explaining that I wanted to understand RES's perspective on this, and asking again for them to provide more information, but again my email went unanswered.

Another community member I spoke with over the weekend said that RES was actually upset with Pierre because they felt that VUEM competes against RES Workspace Manager Express Edition.

Regardless, this seems like a very strange move for them, and it's too bad that RES would do this. (And now that they did, it's too bad that they're ignoring requests to explain themselves!)

Join the conversation

17 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

Whatever appended, it just once more a try to deny to user the right to choose !


Cancel

Oops I did it again www.youtube.com/watch


Now RES fan boys you also understand why you paying for a free feature called Reverse Seamless www.brianmadden.com/.../why-quot-reverse-seamless-quot-is-not-as-cool-as-brian-thinks-it-is.aspx


Res & Bagdad Bob still won't answer the questions why that is not secure and integrated. www.brianmadden.com/.../reverse-seamless-amp-res-vdx-separating-facts-from-fiction.aspx


Funny "Overlap" group :-) Perhaps they should stop partnering with RES, say FU continue and partner instead with Appsense etc. This is a move by a weak desperate company that has no future with a weak product.


They market themselves like hell that's all. RES should be boycotted, tell them  they are scum at Synergy since I am sure they will be there.


Viva la resistance!


Cancel

Not a good case for RES, I think they should leave it up to the customers to decide what they will use  and competition (if you even can call it that) is always a good think.


I don't think it's a good idea to upset the community, which they are by acting like this.


This could potential give them more trouble than a small program developed by a community member.


Cancel

So, if you can't beat 'em, sue 'em?


Is RES going to sue AppSense and anyone else that makes an environment management product?  


I am sure RES may find some contractual skirt to cling to but in the end, the community is disgustedly shaking their heads.


Unless they can prove some sort of intellectual property infringement, this is baseless and anti-competitive.  


Cancel

@ Appdetective; Clearly you have some personal axe to grind with RES Software, there is no other logical explaination for comments so filled with venom as yours are. My advice, as an adult, would be to keep your vitoral to yourself and use these blogs for technical comment, and not for exercising some personal vendetta that undoubtedly is a one sided affair.


With regards to the situation currently under discussion, blogs are blogs. Exactly the nature of what is going on between RES and Overlap can only be known by those working on the issue internally. The grapevine is a great way to share information, but it should be remembered that it is in fact just a grapevine. Chinese whispers generally end up being very far from the truth.


Cancel

@Rtogo when you decide to pull your head out of your backside the smell of BS may clear and you may be able to see the facts for what they are. If you are concerned about RES, have them explain their Reverse Seamless roadmap and the questions I asked them. They won't because they are full of crap. Explain to the community why they are such pussies that they need to sue a freeware tool guy? This just underlines their incompetence. Any customer in their right mind should be asking themselves WTF are they doing, should I do business with these people if this is where they are investing. RES is too stupid to even understand that they need to respond publicly. Why because I bet the truth is they are scared of competition. That's the truth that you seem to not understand with you head in your behind.


As for one post wonders like you.... I hope RES pays you a bonus for trying to defend them. Perhaps you work for them?


Cancel

Oh dear, here I am leaping to RES' defense, what will @appdetective think of me.


I spoke to RES Software yesterday. Given the timing of the call, it was kind of inevitable that this subject was going to come up.


Here's Pierre who out of the goodness of his heart/enthusiasm for his profession has developed an excellent series of free tools, being victimized by some big vendor just because he wants to give a little bit back to the community. What on earth was RES thinking?


As so often happens, once you look a little further, you find out things are less clear-cut than first impressions suggest. Overlap Groupe sells RES products and RES Software's reseller agreement, just like many other similar documents, includes a clause that requires that the reseller agree not to engage in practices that bring it into competition with RES, i.e. Overlap Groupe can't bring to market software that competes with a RES product (something that Brian has taken pains to point out).  Open and shut case in favor of RES then?


Well no. As Brian also points out, VUEM is all Pierre's own work, not Overlap Groupe's. However, Pierre works for Overlap Groupe and the dividing line between employer and employee actions, especially when viewed from a distance, is faint. Given that many IT organizations have clauses written into contracts of employment that stipulate that anything developed by the employee becomes the property of the employer, RES, if it wanted to protect its interested, had little choice but to contact Overlap Groupe to remind it of its obligations to RES under the terms of its reseller agreement. Note that point carefully, there have been no lawsuits, and no horses heads under the bed sheets; just a polite reminder and a single wooden clog left menacingly on the front step…


If this had happened a couple of months ago, RES and Overlap Groupe may have been able to resolve the matter out of the public eye and VUEM could well have been published by now. Instead, through dint of unfortunate timing, a minor point of discussion between two organizations becomes an international incident and it's the Congress of Vienna all over again.


I think credit goes to RES, Overlap and especially to Pierre who have all done the right thing and decided to work this out quietly and not start pouring fuel on the fire by commenting all over the place. I can think of a few larger software developers who could learn from this. Actually, on that point, I think the Pierre could teach a few vendors how to announce late delivery of a new product as well.


oh and @appdetective - RES have promised me that they will give you a VDX license if you can't afford to buy your own


Cancel

@Simon Bramfitt


excellent reply!


Always a flip side to every coin!


@Appdetective old chap... Did RES ever say "no, stop!" just before climax and left you feeling a little frustrated.. That's what bathrooms, locks and toilet paper is for.... Go and de-stress fella...


I'm prepared to donate a VDX license if you want? :)


Cancel

I'm sorry Simon but I am having a hard time with this being an issue of intellectual property and I see it more as anti-competitive.  I appreciate the post and I do understand that there are two sides to every coin, my concern here is with the precedent this may set.  


To quote "Overlap Groupe sells RES products"


Overlap Groupe does not develop products/drivers or plug-ins for RES does it?  I think it is a bit of a reach to say that Pierre's products are the property of Overlap Groupe as they, as I understand it, are resellers and not product developers.  


I guess the contract language may be what is key here but I still find it to be a bit on the lame side that they are attempting to block something that Pierre has done on his own time and it does bring up an old argument of if a person's inventions really belong to them.  I guess that depends on Pierre's agreement with Overlap Groupe.  


At best this is grey and on the surface I think it comes across as anti-competitive.  


So I can make a product that is similar to what is on citrixtools.net, get Overlap groupe to agree to sell it with a non-compete clause then extort $50,000 Euros from Pierre/Overlap Groupe too?  Also does a reseller who hires a community member now have to suppress creativity due to vague Non-compete agreements?  


I will yield that you have a lot more information than I do but unless there has been some genuine malfeasance I am just not buying into this.  


Thanks for the post..


John Smith


Cancel

@Simon RES also announced recently that they partner with a reseller called Gotham Technologies and made a big deal about it. They sell competing products. So what's the logic with that? Are you also trying to imply that there are not partners all over the planet that do they same thing. Ruben Sprjit's company sells RES and Appsense. Many partners sell both View and XenDesktop. This debate is about developing your own product not a partnership thing.


Now back to that Reverse Seamless thing. You really don't get it, so stop playing pretend consultant and blogger. You're really not very good. It's clear you just want a reaction from me. I could very easily do that but I can't be bothered right now, but would certainly enjoy it.


So next time you speak to RES ask them to explain the security and integration questions that they seem to be incapable of answering and you understanding.


@daniel, you are an SMB guy, don't get the enterprise requirements. It's fine for you, and you are F'in nuts with no money to be willing to pay for a feature that MUST be free to be secure and integrated. EOM, but hey you're a smart guy and I respect your opinion.


Cancel

@ Simon; good & balanced response, if only more people had the benefit of perspective!


@ Appdetective; you're very unreasonable and it appears quite frustrated, perhaps you should sort that out. As with all unreasonable people there's no reasoning with them, so I'll spend my energy elsewhere rather than burn it here in you. Good luck in your witch hunt of RES Software, you'll need it.


Cancel

@AppDetective...Out of interest (and out of context of this thread), At what stage do YOU call the "enterprise" the enterprise and not a SMB?


Oh and...I am happy to pay for a feature that enables users to work more productively... Why make them suffer while I wait for a feature that you think "MUST be free"? It is what it is...


Cancel

@Daniel Bolton It's not Kingston University the Quest reference customer my friend :-) Ask Quest to acquire a license for Reverse Seamless so you can also be stop being raped for a FREE feature. Let Quest give you a little more value. I am sure you are getting your reference customer discounts :-) FREE for you...... so you have money to waste to $hit features from RES.


@RTOGO congrats now you are a two post wonder and can go back to your day job of being spokes person for the Libyan government and ignoring all the facts and refusing to answer the questions that matter.


Cancel

@Appdetective, aww bless...


You going to BriForum UK? Maybe we should get a pint - i'll even pay. I'll be watching my drink for any signs of rohypnol mind.


Have a good weekend chap.


Cancel

@ jmsazboy


Thanks John


Just to clarify a couple of points, I was not intending to suggest that  VUEM is Overlap Groupe's intellectual property. If it was I don't think this conversation would be happening. However,  given the number of organizations that require employees to sign over all rights to products they developed whilst they were employees, regardless of whether or not it was done on the employee's own time or not (I've signed a few of these myself in the past) , there was sufficient possibility that Overlap Groupe did have legal ownership of VUEM that RES felt obliged to take some form of action.


That said, I do understand how on the surface RES' actions could look anti-competitive Regardless, I still feel that all parties would like to see this resolved amicably and expect  we will see VUEM available for download from CitrixTools.Net before too long.


If there's any lesson to be learned, it would be that community members make sure that they publish terms of use and license status for anything they release so that there can be no misunderstanding as to ownership of any intelectual property in the future.


Regards


Simon


Cancel

Does VDX work with PCOIP?


Cancel

@Watson


PCoIP support is expected in June 2011


www.youtube.com/watch


Patrik


Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchVirtualDesktop

SearchEnterpriseDesktop

SearchServerVirtualization

SearchVMware

Close