Virtualized Applications running on XP embedded, is that legal or not?

Several ThinClient (TC) manufacturers are talking (loudly) about the possibility to use the XPe (embedded) client platform to run windows applications on that devices. I spent some time talking to those manufacturers and Microsoft folks.

Several ThinClient (TC) manufacturers are talking (loudly) about the possibility to use the XPe (embedded) client platform to run
windows applications on that devices. I spent some time talking to those manufacturers and Microsoft folks. It seems that some TC vendors don't tell the complete story..

When you read the EULA (normally I don't read that to be honest) of XP embedded, it essentialy says that you can run Windows applications on the XPe platform, BUT only when these apps are single purpose non-bussiness applications, so the Adobe Readers, IE, RDC/ICA clients etc.  (essense of EULA is mentioned on the buttom of this page)

When I speak with TC vendors they say a different story, that you may run (any) Windows application on XPe without any problem.

It's a not technical discussion but a legal discussion!. From legal point of view you are not able to run (virtualized) multipurpose business applications on XP embedded. (Microsoft Application Virtualization (formerly SoftGrid), Thinstall, Citrix Application Streaming, or Altiris SVS solutions).

In addition to the XPe legal part of this discussion, Microsoft Application Virtualization may not being used from licencing perspective. MDOP can only being used on 2000, XP (not embbeded) and Vista client platforms.

Cut and Past from the EULA:

Definition of an Embedded System
An "embedded system" is any computer system or computing device that performs a dedicated function or is designed for use with a specific embedded software application. Embedded systems may use a ROM-based operating system or they may use a disk-based system, like a PC. But an embedded system cannot be used as a commercially viable substitute for multipurpose computers or devices.

This limits the use of office automation/personal computing functions (e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, database, network browsing, scheduling, and personal finance) permitted with the particular embedded licensed product.

Windows XP Embedded is licensed for devices that perform Office Automation and Personal Computing Functions only to the extent that the Office Automation and Personal Computing Functions: (i) directly support the operation of, and are an integral part of, the Embedded Application (defined below); and (ii) operate only when used with the Embedded Application (that is, the Office Automation and Personal Computing Functions shall only permit creation, play, display, or communication of content that is directly related to the commercial or industrial processes or tasks that the device is specifically designed to address).

An "Embedded Application" means industry- or task-specific software programs and/or functionality that provide the primary functionality of the device and which offer significant functionality in addition to Windows XP Embedded.

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms940172.aspx

 

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I see your point Ruben, but by the terms of the described above, it sounds like you would be just as much in violation by serving up a Citrix desktop and assorted apps. The way I'm reading this it sounds more like XPe is intended for kiosk type setting. I know folks use Thin Clients for single task functions - POS, terminal emulation, shop floor, etc. - but I always assumed there was a greater percentage of people using them to serve up a desktop and a full complement of apps.

I think app virtualization is going to require MS to rethink the EULA.
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Who knows if this will happen but this does raise an eyebrow over here because at the Thinstall conference I was introduced by a customer to the possibility of using XPe as a backup environment if a backend such as Citrix were to fail. Aside from being a backup solution I could see customers potentially using XPe as a way to get around having a backend to the terminal but how suitable are these devices for such a function even if the licensing was not an issue? My concern about this configuration is the degree of application compatibility that these devices would have because I have a hard time believing that application virtualization alone will give these machines a high degree of compatibility / suitability for the majority of line of business applications.
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This is exactly what you mean, it's possible and legal to run single task apps on XPe. Some ThinClient manufactures and application virtualization vendors mention that it's no problem (technical and legal) to run full blown windows apps on XPe..
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HP was streaming CIsco's IP Communicator (VOIP) to XPe and said frequently that it was a "Concept" and even in the Breakout Session, pointed out EXPLICITLY that there are License Implications to Streaming Applications to XPe, they had an entire slide dedicated to the subject. Having said that I know of Enterprise Shops who have negotiated with MS for the right to stream Productivity apps to XPe. I think you are being a bit hasty in categorizing all TC vendors in the same box.
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I don't categorize all TC vendors in the same box, i mentioned "several vendor". It isn't my intention to bash vendors. I just want to know what's the right answer, what others (customers/vendors) are saying about this topic..
Thanks for your post
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From what I know of embedded operating systems, enabling telephony is one of their common purposes. I'll bet your mobile phone has an embedded OS. So why not a desktop appliance that serves as a telephone or Unified Communications device? It makes sense to me. I'd be surprised if Microsoft would object to using their embedded OS for telephony. I'll have to take a look at the slide by HP referenced in the previous comment, but it sounds like someone should check with Microsoft to get clarification on how the EULA applies to softphones.
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"An "Embedded Application" means industry- or task-specific software programs and/or functionality that provide the primary functionality of the device and which offer significant functionality in addition to Windows XP Embedded"

Sounds to me that these communication applications can run without any technical or legal problems.
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