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Graphics Software

Trolltech Adopts GPL 3 for Qt 240

Funkmaster F writes "At the KDE Developer Conference today, Trolltech CEO Havaard Nord announced that its Qt application development toolkit will be released under GPL 3. 'Here at the KDE release event, Nord's announcement was met with applause. Like Trolltech's initial decision to move from its own QPL license to the GPL, this announcement and the company's more recent decision to adopt the GPL for all platforms rather than just Linux, demonstrate the company's ongoing commitment to openness.'"
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Trolltech Adopts GPL 3 for Qt

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  • Gnome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by calebt3 ( 1098475 ) on Friday January 18, 2008 @11:40PM (#22104848)
    So the complaint that KDE is not as "open" as Gnome is no longer valid?
  • Re:Gnome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:06AM (#22105086) Homepage
    It gives the developer using the library more freedom, not everyone else. Hence the FSF's name change of the LGPL from "Library GPL" to "Lesser GPL".

    Of course it's the same argument that BSD license proponents put forth. It boils down to who you're talking about, the developer or the downstream users (who may also be developers). As a user, I prefer the GPL. As a developer, I only care if I want to release a closed-source application. (And I'll take a BSD or LGPL'd library over a closed-source proprietary one so that I retain control over my own software; it sucks when your library vendor changes things, or it doesn't work quite as documented.)
  • Re:Gnome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:10AM (#22105100)

    Well, QT has been using GPL2 for quite a while now. However the big point of concern with some people is that QT does not use LGPL which would allow GPL incompatible licences to interoperate with the libraries like GTK does. Of course there is the argument, such as that that made by the FSF that ALL libraries should be GPL in order to encourage GPL compatible software to have an advantage, but in my mind having a platform open to crazy licences and/or closed software is more important and the fact that Trolltech provides a commercial licence to circumvent these restrictions indicates that they probably agree with me.

    I don't believe that BSD licensed software is freer than GPL, however I do believe that the dynamic linking process provides a good boundary between licences for interoperability as per the LGPL. Trolltech who dissolve this boundary for profit and the FSF who dissolve this boundary to push their ideological agendas are not working in the spirit of openness. Switching libraries to GPL3 from GPL2 and especially LGPL will do nothing but further restrict what the program on the other side can be doing will do a lot for ideological and commercial leveraging at the expense of that library as a universal platform.

  • by ilikepi314 ( 1217898 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:22AM (#22105178)
    I did not think the GPL3 said "DRM is evil", just that you have to make available a way of removing the DRM if the user requests it. Is my understanding completely off, or can someone support me on that?

    I hate the idea of people saying if you are going to use these tools you can't do this with it
    Well, that's exactly my complaint with DRM. You say this, and then complain that you aren't able to tell people "you have to get music with my DRM, you can't do what you want with it.". Seems a bit hypocritical. You want to use toolkits for what you want; when I get buy music, I want to listen to it where and when I want. Same principle. Why do you deserve more freedom than I?

    But as I see it I give them freedom to choose to read DRM information where otherwise they cannot use it at all and give them a disadvantage.
    Much like giving people the freedom to choose to get a barcode tatooed on the back of their neck so they can get what they need, when otherwise they wouldn't be able to, eh? That's not really a freedom if you have no choice in the matter. I think I'm more worried about what you just said than what RMS has ever said.
  • Re:Gnome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gambolt ( 1146363 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:35AM (#22105252)
    Not to mention the mono cancer.

  • by pherthyl ( 445706 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:47AM (#22105322)
    I simply find stupid the idea of having two different installed toolkits on the same computer

    Why? That makes no sense whatsoever. Unless you really can't spare the extra ~5mb of ram, what's the issue? You realize that Windows is probably running about 5 different toolkits at once right?

    less importantly but still somewhat relevant, OpenOffice

    You do realize that Openoffice uses its own toolkit called VCL, right? Which means, that your computer has two different toolkits installed! Egad! Quick, uninstall Openoffice!
    The only reason it integrates into Gnome is because there is a GTK compatibility layer, just like there is a Qt compatibility layer for KDE.

    Not to mention Firefox uses XUL and XBL. GTK can be used to render some interface widgets, but that is minor in comparison.
  • by filbranden ( 1168407 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @12:48AM (#22105336)

    Actually, you can develop all your software using the GPL version (without distributing it) and then decide to distribute it under a commercial license.

    The GPL actually requires that when you distribute a software you distribute the source code with it.

    If you never distribute the software developed with the GPL version of Qt, you'll never have to give away your source.

    When you have the finished version ready, you may purchase Qt license and distribute it commercially as closed source or anyway you want.

  • by pherthyl ( 445706 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:03AM (#22105420)
    All of them running over Gtk.

    Over GTK? No, the exact opposite. GTK is a shell on top (Openoffice also has a Qt shell). And you think that doesn't contribute to bloat? It's worse, because now you've actually got two whole toolkits loaded in memory at any given time. So don't think you're really saving anything.

    I can go to .gtkrc* and do it, it will reflect on every software using Gtk

    Well when I'm running KDE, I change the colours and fonts, and those colours get applied to GTK apps if I tick the box..
  • by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:04AM (#22105424) Homepage

    Every GNU+Linux distribution (which includes Ubuntu and Red Hat) already ships a bunch of GPLv3 applications. From the perspective of companies that distribute general purpose operating systems, GPLv3 is strictly better than GPLv2 because of the internationalized wording and the "contributors can't screw the community with patents" provisions.

  • by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:16AM (#22105488) Homepage

    I'm not comfortable with the "or any later version" clauses many GPL programs have.

    Consider very carefully what the actual potential costs and benefits of such a clause are before deciding not to use it.

    One of the key advantages to using any version of the GPL is that your code can be combined with other code that was written separately and also released under the GPL. "Version X or later" code can always be combined. When the next version comes out, "Version X only" code will be uncombinable. That basically means that - unless your project is Linux sized and can get away with having its own license - "Version X or later" is the only answer that will allow your project to outlive your personal work on it.

  • by chromatic ( 9471 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:52AM (#22105684) Homepage

    Because you were cunning enough to use the GPL, you can hold them to ransom, and charge them $1M for a limited license that lets them use your shiny widget in their new project. And whats more, you can sell it all over again the next time someone needs your shiny widget in a non-GPL setting.

    My goodness, it's almost as if you had some way to make companies who don't want to participate in the development of free software participate by funding it! That's so... evil?

  • by Sam Douglas ( 1106539 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @01:54AM (#22105700) Homepage

    more than a few of them are fully aware of just how much control copyright reserves for them, and they love it.
    It is not limited to the GPL.
  • by Yahma ( 1004476 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:17AM (#22105842) Journal

    As the developer of an Open Source package based on GTK called LiarLiar [], I am very pleased that Trolltech decided to offer the Linux community such a powerful and easy to use toolkit; however, I chose to use Gtk+ because I may decide someday to release a Shareware version of my application. I receive nowhere near enough income from my app to even pay 1/10th of the license fee and I suspect many other developers are in the same boat. While the big commercial developers can afford a license, the thousands of small shareware authors would never be able to justify the license fees to be able to release their software. Thus, they will end up sticking with the windows API's.

    Now if Trolltech decided to release Qt as LGPL, that would make cross-platform development of many shareware applications possible, but would likely hurt Trolltech's bottom line.

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  • Re:Gnome (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Antiocheian ( 859870 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:18AM (#22105850) Journal
    The main point of the GPL is inheritance of freedom and not software quality.

    commercial applications won't use GPL libraries [...] between a magnificent GPL'ed library and a crappy library

    Which means GPL'ed applications will be more competitive for they will use the magnificent library instead.
  • by debatem1 ( 1087307 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:20AM (#22105862)
    This is supposed to be a bad thing, I take it? As I see it, the alternative for the software house would have been to just release their code. Open source, or pay up and fund future open source development. Seems like a pretty big win-win for the community to me.
  • Re:Gnome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @02:55AM (#22106080) Homepage

    Actually, the LGPL gives you somewhat more "freedom" than the GPL does. LGPL allows you to integrate code into commercial products, without putting your "derivative" application under the LGPL too.
    It isn't just for commercial products. For example, until this latest development you couldn't write Qt apps that were GPL3, and KDE was having problems with using GPL3 code. The same problem will occur if you want to write using any FOSS license that isn't compatible with Trolltech's licensing for Qt.

    The LGPL lets you use the platform to write whatever you want: free software under any license, proprietary software, etc. etc. Qt being under the control of Trolltech means that they decide what licenses you can use, free or otherwise. Now, Trolltech has been going in the direction of openness recently, and this announcement is more proof of that, but its product is still not as flexible as GTK, or the Linux kernel for that matter - you can write apps to run on Linux that use any license, just like GTK, and unlike Qt. I've posted it before, I'll post it again - would Linux be as successful today if it were licensed like Qt is, i.e., that you need to pay if you aren't GPLed (or on a shortlist of other FOSS licenses)?
  • by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @03:00AM (#22106110) Homepage
    I think you're missing my point somewhat - I can't, as a small developer who doesn't even know if his software is going to be released commercially, start coding now and then purchase a license later. I'm a small game developer and my editor may be of no interest to anyone but me. But if it does turn out to be useful to release it, and I don't want to release it open-source, I can't simply buy a commercial license and be done with it.

    Why should Trolltech mind if I bought a license later rather than sooner? They're still getting the license. One way just forces me to decide much earlier, when I may simply not have the information that I need to determine which is the right course of action. (Which, in this case, turns out to be "don't use QT".)
  • Re:Gnome (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rumith ( 983060 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @05:27AM (#22106828)
    Not a valid point any longer: since Qt 4.3 Trolltech has added a so-called "GPL Exception". Basically, they have listed plenty of licenses, such as MIT and Apache, that you can legally use in your project while linking against the GPL-licensed version of Qt. Here: []
  • by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @05:30AM (#22106846) Homepage
    If you don't distribute during development, there's no way trolltech could know if you did the actual development with the GPL version or a commercial version... Once you want to release it just buy a commercial license and wait say a month and release it proprietary.

    This is obviously violating a term of the commercial license. However if you're a small fish with only one developer, there's no way trolltech will know or care for that matter. The term in the commercial license is there because they don't want big companies with many developers to just buy one commercial license. Which is fair enough...

    But IMO, if you don't want to release free software don't base your applications on free software libraries! How hard can that be to understand.
  • by Simon Brooke ( 45012 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @06:23AM (#22107098) Homepage Journal

    I build a shiny widget, and release it under the GPL. Lots of people use my shiny widget - it becomes the gold standard for shiny widgets. Then some software house cuts a huge deal for software development with [insert name of immense multinational here]. The only trouble is, they need a shiny widget as part of the code. And damn, your one is the standard.

    They come to you, and boy, you have them over a barrel. Because you were cunning enough to use the GPL, you can hold them to ransom, and charge them $1M for a limited license that lets them use your shiny widget in their new project. And whats more, you can sell it all over again the next time someone needs your shiny widget in a non-GPL setting.

    Great imagination, laddie, shame about your grasp on reality.

    The maximum value of any piece of software is what it would cost to do a clean-room reimplementation from scratch. Remember that a lot of the original GNU software was clean-room reimplementations of pre-existing UN*X utilities. On the whole it's always easier to do a clean-room reimplementation than to build the original system, because the re-implementors have a complete functional specification and a working prototype to test against.

    In the past I've needed bits of commercial functionality which weren't available open source, so I simply reimplemented them from the specifications []. It isn't hard to do - and it isn't hard to do the other way round either. So, sure, if you spent $1.5M equivalent in programmer hours developing your implementation, you might just get your $1M license fee. If it's something you knocked up in a weekend, they'll pay a programmer for a weekend.

  • Re:Gnome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by muuh-gnu ( 894733 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @06:49AM (#22107198)
    From the point of view of a free software developer, LGPL and GPLv3 are both equally free. The differences come in only if you are a proprietary developer looking for ways to embrace, extend and close up somebody elses code. Thats really all there is to the additional "freedoms" you have with the LGPL. Freedom to make code unfree. A way to sue people who copy code closed up which once was free distributable.
  • by muuh-gnu ( 894733 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @07:31AM (#22107350)
    > Even Microsoft doesn't get to collect extra fees for commercial software development on
    > Windows.

    They recoup it by collecting extra fees for using windows. (_Both_ from you and all users of your software.)

    > GTK is much better suited for a general-purpose library on Linux than QT simply because it
    > allows you to develop "anything" using it.

    The only difference is that GTK allows you to close code up and sue your users who share it with other people. Kinda weird for a "free software" library to faciliate proprietary lawsuits.

    >However, I do have an objection to supporting their attempt to make QT central to Linux
    >software development.

    They dont make it more "central" than any other toolkit out there.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <> on Saturday January 19, 2008 @07:51AM (#22107452) Homepage Journal

    The maximum value of any piece of software is what it would cost to do a clean-room reimplementation from scratch.
    Even a clean-room implementation won't save a developer in the following cases:
    • software encumbered by patent law,
    • software encumbered by anticircumvention law, or
    • software that nearly everyone is presumed to have seen, making it prohibitive for a room to be made clean.
    The third item is what made it difficult for Compaq to find good reverse engineers for its IBM PC BIOS cloning project: too many developers of application software for IBM PCs had already read through it, raising a rebuttable presumption of subconscious copying. This also causes trouble for developers of musical works, who are presumed to have heard their competitors' works on commercial music radio: see Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music and Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton.
  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @09:01AM (#22107766) Journal
    They mind because license prices are per developer using it. Otherwise, it's possible to buy just one commercial license for the final build, and use GPL licenses for all devs.

    That said, if you can't afford Qt, then you just shouldn't be using it for a commercial product. It's a full featured and very good quality C++ library, and those don't come cheap. There are always other simpler, "budget" alternatives, such as wxWidgets.

  • by NekoXP ( 67564 ) on Saturday January 19, 2008 @07:46PM (#22113188) Homepage

    But if it does turn out to be useful to release it, and I don't want to release it open-source, I can't simply buy a commercial license and be done with it.

    Yes you can. If software does not see a public release, it has no license; the GPL explicitly differentiates between private software for your own use and that which is made available to the public. Trolltech make the same distinction.

    You can develop the software using the free library, as long as it does not see the light of day outside of your own use. There is no need to license software that will never leave your desktop or be used by anyone outside of your company. If you need to entertain a commercial release, then you can buy the commercial license and recompile/distribute that software with the commercial library.

    I know a couple of projects which have especially done it this way; the software used was internal and used the free, non-commercial Qt library built from source. When it was decided to be released, due to licensing of other parts of the software it needed to stay closed source. So a license was bought.. and the software was released. Trolltech, nor any software company, would fault you for not planning to use commercial software, and there is no API difference in the commercial Qt and free Qt which means you must code for one and not the other.

    So, don't be stupid. Just code it for free, now, for your own use (the licenses permit this) and then get a commercial license *IF* you see the need for a public binary release at the time. But you do not need to plan that ahead.

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