2009-01-15

The impact of Nokia's LGPL switch of Qt

Nokia has announced to publish its upcoming Qt 4.5 framework under the LGPL. In fact this is one of the biggest news since Sun has opensourced Java. And the impact will be similar meaningful as many companies, ISVs, and hobbyists can use Qt to develop not only open source but also commercial and closed source apps without being charged by Trolltech/Nokia. For the alternative OSS framework GTK the times getting really worse, since now GTK has lost one of the most important reasons to be advantaged instead of the technologically much more sophisticated Qt framework.

Here are some projects that could be affected by Nokia's Qt license change:

  • Android could include Qt as one of its native libraries [read this]
  • All commercial and non-commercial Linux distributions that have used the GTK-based Gnome (because of GPL/LGPL ) as their primary desktop environment, could switch to KDE
    • GNOME could loose many users
  • a much better KDE/Gnome integration is to be expected
  • Qt will become much more wide spread
  • commercial apps like VMware could use Qt to create UIs for both operating systems: Linux and Windows
  • a Qt port of Firefox has become much more likely
  • Chrome could use Qt as the underlying UI framework
  • Apple could replace parts of Mac OS X' UI framework by Qt framework parts

As you can see, the impact of Nokia's step is really huge and will affect a bunch of projects dramatically.