Brian & Gabe LIVE #24 - Part 2: Erik Westhovens jumps in to talk about OnLive

Listen to the whole show here!



Brian: All right, check this out, I’m going to send you a Twitter link right now,  So if you on the phone don’t know this, so my boss, our boss’s boss somewhere, Mike Catoia has just joined.  He’s a TechTarget guy.

Gabe: Did he join when you said circle jerk or shortly before?

Brian: He doesn’t have a microphone so we’re safe there but – he’s in Boston and he’s visiting the office but this is the – he is a corporate Twitter guy now, so he just wanted to come in and see our show and see what it is.  So I said pop in there.  Let me go through his Twitter there, 10 TechTargets, ROI summit this Thursday, the Newton Marriot, oh, that’s March 30th.  Dude, it’s been like ten days since you tweeted, so – the Mike Tyson one, met these guys, bachelor party or something.  Oh, wait, you’ve got a picture of you with Mike Tyson.

Male Speaker: He tweeted it about us.

Brian: Oh, holy shit. Wow. Wait, let me –

Male Speaker: Not bad, huh?

Brian: So if I use this word, am I going to use the word properly?  You tell me, that is legit, is that – 

Gabe: Wicked awesome?

Brian: So anyway, thanks for letting us do the show.  Anyway so we can move it along.  So Mike was kind of the, hanging here in the background so Eric, are you – was that you doing dishes in the background earlier or was that you, Gabe?

Gabe: I don’t think it was me, maybe

Brian: You’re out there now, Eric, now?

Eric: Yeah, it certainly wasn’t me.

Brian: All right, so, Eric, you emailed us awhile ago and let’s see that email, what did you write?  You said, I’d – you’ve got opinions about why Microsoft refuses to give Windows 7 SPLA and what you’re doing about it.  And I guess it’s a lead in to this conversation.  Certainly we’ve talked about On Live quite a bit the past six or seven shows.  So we don’t have to rehash all of that but I’ll just sort of put, let’s see, I’m not good at the multitasking here. On Live, there’s our link.  Okay, I’m going to put a link to the On Live story if you haven’t seen that yet, that is the On Live sort of paved I guess and it gave into Microsoft and the switch, they’re offering to use 2008 instead of Windows 7 since when they were offering Windows 7 desktop they were very clearly violating Microsoft’s license.  And incidentally I know Guise is in the chat. 

I listened to the show with Guise actually as I was running a couple of days ago, and I don’t know if I missed this as the show was actually happening but I love when Guise, first of all, I’ve never met Guise in real life but he just reminds me of John Oliver of the Daily Show like with the voice.  And he’s like, the reason that they are doing – the only reason we’re doing that, they can do that is because it’s illegal.  And then Guise was talking about starting his own company, Desktops on Demand specifically to flagrantly violent Microsoft license agreements.  And when asked about success he said, well I assume it’s going to be sued like crazy because what we’re doing is clearly illegal. It’s just a fun situation.  So part of me is a little bit sad that non online is sort of given into the licensing demands, yeah.  And I hope this isn’t over in some ways.

Because it was just really fun to watch this sort of thing.  A couple quick notes, by the way, I do not believe for an instant that On Live actually changed the technology or changed anything they are doing in the way that they deliver desktops, I’m sure it’s probably still one to one it’s just that they’re using the server 2008 colonel instead of the Windows 7 colonel.  And –

Gabe: Yeah, and I’m sure it’s still their protocols and their broker and all of that stuff, it’s just that the OS can be licensed as a – interesting though is that Microsoft, did you did see this, and I can’t find it right now but Microsoft actually released a statement saying they’re happy to see that On Live has changed and they will be reevaluating whether they’re doing something legitimate or not so the way I interpreted that is that Microsoft is not exactly 100% behind them yet they’ve still got to check in and make sure that they’re doing something legitimate.

Brian: See, I feel like this is all for show.  I mean I love what Simon Branford wrote in the comment when he just said flat out, I’m sure this is something where they went back and forth and Microsoft was like, look, man, just change it to server and we’ll leave you alone and we’ll all move on our way. 

Gabe: Yeah, we won’t even charge you anymore.

Brian: Yeah, that’s what’s interesting because what On Live desktop offers, On Live desktop as a service, I think was it Dennis that pointed this out in the comments,  pointed out that even them selling this desktop at $5.00 a month, that’s cheaper than the price from Microsoft.  So there’s still something going on, because this is not like they just knocked on Microsoft’s door and said, please, we want 10,000 license and now we’re going to resell these because selling them for as far as we can tell cheaper then Microsoft provides them to any other partner for.

Gabe: There’s -  was trying, from Bridgett’s article, Bridgett Patella at Search Virtual Desktop wrote a post today where she actually like dug in and got quotes and tried to talk to Microsoft and On Live and stuff so let me find the chat room window again and I’ll post that in there, ‘cause –

Brian: Well what was interesting about this, though, is the conversation about On Live.  So I’m a little bit excited that it isn’t dead.  So even though On Live now has switched over to server and has become – that’s my coffee belly that you Guys are hearing in your headphones.  So even though On Live has – they have come in license compliance. The conversation on the website turned into about, hey, why isn’t there Windows 7 SPLA, which is exactly what sort of my big complaint was in the first place.  And that’s what we want to talk to Eric about.  So, Eric, you wrote an email that you had some thoughts and ideas on this and you’re doing some interesting things around it so I’m just curious about where you head is around this right now.

Eric: Yeah, Brian, well what happened was that especially Guise and yourself were doing a lot of shouting against Microsoft and why Microsoft was refusing a Windows 7 SPLA.  Well the hosting providers were asking for that and some other stuff actually you end up because I contacted the guys like  and of course Guise and asked them if they could help me make a legitimate matter of what do we want with Windows 7 instead of Windows 2008 and because we can do Windows 2008, we can use the Citrix tools to make it look like Windows 7 and then it looks like Windows 7 so the end customer who is working on the image doesn’t notice that he’s working on a Windows 2008 server instead of a Windows 7 desktop.  So it doesn’t make sense to stop companies from doing Windows 7 desktops in the cloud and still allowing them to rebuild with 2008 servers to look like desktops.  There’s a very interesting licensing model for that for the SPLA because Microsoft is talking about instances.

And if you really look about the Microsoft licensing and our rent is from customer that we are working on that is going to provide millions of desktops in the clouds and we actually figured out that we can buy a data center license for $100.00 a month and we can still license 100,000s of desktops without paying for additional licensing, specifically Microsoft talks about instance and our technology doesn’t use instances because we only have on image.  Even 100,000 end users connect with desktop, you still have one image, so it doesn’t make sense.  And I was asking Guise why does Microsoft allow us to use Windows 2008 server? Looks like Windows 2007 desktop so the end user experience is the same, but it doesn’t allow to use Windows 7 under SPLA.  And last year was working with company doing 170,000 desktops on premise and during the testing and benchmarking of the software we saw a couple things.

And a few of those things were very important and this one, so I asked one of the guys from Microsoft if there’s a place. Did not confirm it but he absolutely did not disagree.  If people are going to do Windows 7 desktops then they could use VMware View to clean those desktops, they use  desktop.  But actually if you need to do Windows 2008 server, you can’t use VMware View because VM Wear view cannot claim Windows 2008 desktops, customize them so that the end user can connect on them.  So actually what Microsoft is doing right now because they’re refusing Windows 7 SPLA is trying to beat the biggest market that’s going on right now that’s simplified us. 

Brian: That is the most unique tinfoil hat theory about this, but I’ll take it. I love a good conspiracy theory, so what you’re saying, the idea that since VM Wear view cannot use server desktops as desktop, it cannot broker and clone and all that stuff with desktops. Microsoft and Citrix platforms, they could switch over to using the server OS, make it look like a desktop no problem but since VM Wear can’t do that that sort of locks desktop hosting providers out from using VM Wear view.

Gabe: I think we have a new soapbox.

Eric: Again, it’s Microsoft Citrix verses VM Wear because everybody knows that VMware is the most used  in the hosting world.  So how do you beat them? By refusing Windows 7 SPA because in that case VM Wear can be a player in the desktop market.

Brian: I love it, I love a good conspiracy theory.  So let me ask this, so Microsoft have always said that everything they do, they are listening to customers and it’s all based on customer demand and when you ask them about why there is no SPLA for Windows 7, they say that they’re listening to the market.  SO my question is, what do we have to do as a community in order to sort of get them to listen? Like you’d think that all of the fervor over this and the comments and everything would be enough but I don’t know, is this a voting with our wallets kind of thing?  I mean clearly the whole world is not going to move over to Lennox or something like that so they are sort of a monopoly so maybe it doesn’t matter but I mean do you think there’s anything we could actually do as a community to say, hey Microsoft, we want this, you should do this now or have you already done that?

Eric: We can do the same thing.

Brian: Right, that is doing right now, right.

Eric: The biggest gag about All Life, did All Life change the desktops to Windows 2008? Everybody thinks, yes, because they’re looking at windows help, they’re starting the application and trying to figure out and it’s chose Windows 2008 too.  But if I want to go with my iPad to All Life desktop and I know my tools, I definitely see so that All Life will change to Windows 2008? No, they made it appear, they made it look like Windows 2008.  You’re still logging onto the Windows 2007 desktop.

Brian: Can’t you type in like –

Gabe: I would love to see that article, like the proof of that, showing that, ‘cause I mean, sure I guess you could go in and make a bitmap that shows the - when you got help about it shows Windows 2008 instead of 7 but –

Eric: If you go to help, about, it only shows you CHM file so you can change that and you can change the log on screen and you actually can change –

Brian: It’s actually possible, I mean –

Gabe: So this is the exact reverse of –

Eric: I could show you Windows 7 desktop that looks like Windows 3.1, you see the different type of –

Brian: Yeah, can’t you –

Eric: You see the different types of –

Brian: I’m sorry, my Windows commands are vague now but can’t you type in like VER from the command prompt that tells you what version of windows or like –

Eric: And even that can be changed  because Windows 2008 and 7, sure.

Brian: At some point isn’t it – well, no, hang on, isn’t this like faking a moon landing?  I believe it would be more work to fake the moon landing than it would be to actually go to the damn moon.  And so at some point with all these loopholes, isn’t it easier? Because if they treat Windows 8 just like Windows 7 and they can use like, they can take off all the crap that they don’t need and put their apps on to look and feel, I mean isn’t that just like a day or two of work to do it verse how many days of hacking, hacking, checking it would seem like to go to Windows server 2008, especially because these are non persistent desktops so would it be that – I don’t know, it doesn’t seem like Windows 2008 would be that hard to just go – it would be easier to move to Windows 2008 than it would be to fake it.

Eric: If you have to build Windows 2008 the way that All Life did, it’s going to cost you about two to three days.  If you’re going tweak the exiting Windows 7 image to look like Windows 2008 takes you about an hour.

Brian: But, why, this company has two to three days to have some junior engineer working on that. The other thing too, as Jack pointed out earlier, well to me, not on the show, about how they found this like with the handwriting.

Jack; It was keyboard, yeah, the keyboard changed and so there were features, touch features in Windows 7 that were not in 2008 and then that’s how the online desktop users discovered the difference.

Brian: Yeah, so it feels like they are using, I mean like, yeah, I don’t know. So I give – let’s take that as an open issue to discuss later, to poke around, and anything, Eric, you’re doing that can sort of prove that it’s actually Windows 7 I would love that.  But so I don’t – I’m not going to buy off on this one right now, but I do love the silly idea about Microsoft SPLA as a – I do love the conspiracy theory of Microsoft doing that to screw VM Wear. I don’t know whether it’s –

Eric: But that’s the only thing that makes sense. It doesn’t make sense too.

Brian: Yeah, yeah, all right.

Eric: So tell me. If someone can  tell me why it makes sense?  It doesn’t.

Gabe: Well, yeah, because Microsoft feels that they can make more without a SPA license than they can with it. I mean whatever their models are in the back end, it’s not – were not the ones that see those, we don’t know what those are, so believe me, if Microsoft felt like they could make more money by having a SPA license for Windows 7, they would do it.

Brian: So this is the same thing, John in the chat window, and I don’t know what John this is a few lines up said that they refused to offer Windows client SPLA before  VM Wear had any significance, so that’s –

Gabe: Right, right, they’ve been towing that line for many years.  So that’s – and it’s funny, it’s in the face of – Citrix has an SPLA license or service provider, I guess license for Zen desktop and I think they were working on one for VDI in a box too, I’m sure Guise will correct me if I’m wrong on that, but the people that build upon these Windows products have SPLA licenses and they’re just kind of waiting for Microsoft to have it so that they can use it.  

Brian: Well and you can still use it if the customers bring their own license too, which is always –

Gabe: Yeah, that’s true.

Brian: All right, let’s – I don’t know if anyone in the chat room has – I feel like I’m done talking about this now so we can move onto, I don’t know, any final thoughts Gabe, Jack, Eric?

Gabe: If you guys wanted wanted to maybe we can get Jill Motts on the show next week.

Jeff: That would be cool.

Gabe: Joe’s the head licensing guy at Microsoft.

Brian: He’s the one that wrote Microsoft’s blog post like a month ago.  Well I’ll ask them like, the MVP lead when I retired, as they call is said if you ever need anything reach out and clearly reaching out via the MVP program didn’t get anything but I’ve also got a contact that their PR agency who always says, hey, reach out to us if you need anything, so –

Gabe: Isn’t that like when you break up with somebody and they’re like, we’ll still be friends?

Brian: Oh, yeah. Then you call and it’s like, hey, want to hang out now that we’re friends?  And they’re like, oh, that was –

Gabe: Slightly more work though, work that you’re not at MVP.  Like, oh, yeah, Joe, yeah, he’d love to talk to you.

Brian: Well maybe not – yeah, I don’t have any.  All right, so let’s move on.  So, Gabe, last week you wrote about Microsoft’s user environment virtualization.


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