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Trolltech to Extend Dual-License to Qt/Windows 436

Posted by Hemos
from the excellent-moves dept.
scc writes " Trolltech announced today that Qt 4 will be available on Windows under the GPL. While Trolltech has long dual-licensed Qt on X11 (Linux, various Unixes), Mac, and embedded, Windows developers have had no options other than a commercial license."
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Trolltech to Extend Dual-License to Qt/Windows

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  • by geoffspear (692508) * on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:03PM (#11596970) Homepage
    They claim that to use their software in a commercial setting (or to develop proprietary software from their code, which isn't an issue), you need to buy a commercial license rather than using the GPL. By releasing their software under the GPL, aren't they making it impossible to require a commercial license for use in any setting?

    Can't I just download their software under the GPL, and redistribute it to anyone to be used under any setting at all?

    • by Nurgled (63197) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:06PM (#11597009)

      I think by "use" they mean linking the library to your application. The application developer is the user of Qt, not the application user.

      If you want to write an application and not release it under the GPL, you must purchase a commercial licence.

      • by MartinG (52587) on Monday February 07, 2005 @01:07PM (#11597734) Homepage Journal
        If you want to write an application and not release it under the GPL, you must purchase a commercial licence.

        No. If you want to write an application and not release it under the GPL and you want to distribute it, you must purchase a commercial license.

        Remember the GNU GPL does not restrict any kind of use whatsoever unless you want to distribute.

    • I think they're trying to make this dual-licensing model similar to MySQL's - develop GPL'ed (even commercial) software with GPL Qt, but if you want to release it under different license (not as free as GPL), buy a commercial one from them.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:10PM (#11597065) Journal
        Except that (unless they've changed it recently) they specifically prohibit you from doing this. If you develop non-GPL code you must do it on the commercial version. The non-GPL version is licensed on a per-seat basis, so you can't have all of your developers using the GPL version and a single build machine running the commercial version.
        • Well, if you think it's bad (requiring license for developing "proprietary commercial software", as written on Trolltech site), I think you read too many RMS interviews recently.

          (yes, you can mod this one troll and flamebait, I don't care, OSS zealots!)
          • This is a good thing for free software: more windows developers might get involved into writting free, cross platform software.
          • Because, of course, as everyone knows RMS is always evangelising proprietary software in his interviews...is that what you are saying? Yes, I think you are trolling.
            • No, what I'm saying is that forcing everyone (especially companies) to release all their product under GPL and only GPL is just plain bad and there should be commercial licenses available to buy for developing proprietary soft.
              • I misunderstood then.

                I still don't understand what "forcing everyone (especially companies) to release all their product under GPL and only GPL is just plain bad" (which I would be interested in your clarifying--who is forcing whom and what is bad about it) has to do with "there should be commercial licenses available to buy for developing proprietary soft" and "requiring license for developing `proprietary commercial software' [is bad]". Are those connected and part of a single argument or are they just

        • Except that (unless they've changed it recently) they specifically prohibit you from doing this. If you develop non-GPL code you must do it on the commercial version. The non-GPL version is licensed on a per-seat basis, so you can't have all of your developers using the GPL version and a single build machine running the commercial version.

          Qt on Windows is useless for new developments. Licensing might be a good choice for low seat-count projects, where rewriting is not an option and cross-platform compati

    • by Vengie (533896)
      The idea is that if you want to keep YOUR source code closed, you need to license a commercial license from them. If you are writing an open source (GPL) application, then you can use the GPL'd QT. If you are writing a closed source proprietary application, you *can't* use the GPL qt, so you license the closed source one from trolltech.
    • If you use QT under the GPL then you have to release the source code of your software under the GPL as well. KDE isn't affected because all of their stuff is GPL, though commercial companies might have a bit of a problem with being forced to give away their source, and thus are forced to buy a commercial license.
    • QT *does* have a win32 "non-commercial" distribution of the QT3 API - unfortuantly, it is only available with the book 'C++ GUI Programming with Qt3' by J Blanchette and M Summerfield.

      i've taken a number of qt-based linux apps off kde-apps.org and recompiled on windows - as long as the developers stick to the Qt API, its a breeze to port!

    • Trolltech have just confused the terms 'proprietary' and 'commerical', just like a number of /. trolls. Perhaps that's where their name comes form.

      Replace some instances of 'commercial' with 'proprietary' in their blurb and it reads better.
    • From their FAQ:

      "If you are using Qt commercially - that is, for creating proprietary software for sale or use in a commercial setting - you must purchase a commercial license from Trolltech. Alternatively, if you wish to write Open Source software you can use the Open Source version of Qt, released under the GPL. If you use the Open Source version you must release your application and complete source code under the GPL as well."

      Here's my question: what if I want to make commercial software released under
      • To clear up your questions:

        Here's my question: what if I want to make commercial software released under the GPL, and provide the source to my paying customers, do I have to buy a license?


        If your software is released under the GPL, you do not have to buy a license. You are able to use the GPL QT libraries.


        What if I don't sell the software but provide support for 120/hr?


        Go right ahead. In fact, feel free to sell the software too if you'd like.


        What if I GPL my software, including the Qt libs, an
      • Qt3/X11 and Qt3/Aqua have been dual-licenced with the GPL for a while. There's really no issue. If you can use it under the rules of the GPL, fine. If you want to use it outside the rules of the GPL, get a commercial license from TrollTech.

        So yes, my understanding is that your scenarios would be OK.
      • what if I want to make commercial software released under the GPL, and provide the source to my paying customers, do I have to buy a license?

        You do not have to buy a commercial license. Distribute to your (paying) customers the source code under the GPL. Two things happen. (1) Your GPL program may be linked and distributed with The GPL'ed QT. (2) Your (paying) customers can redistribute your source code because they received it under the GPL.

        Because of (1), you get the benefit of the GPL'ed QT.
      • I'm a pretty big Qt fan and IANAL, but I think that TrollTech is slightly overreaching with the statement that you need a commercial license for "use in a commercial setting" on their web pages.

        In reality, none of the wording on their web pages matters, all that really matters are the terms of the license. Once Qt-Windows is released under the GPL, then I'm confident that you would be free to use it for open source commercial development despite what they say on their web site - they would have no legal le
    • by eivindthrondsen (694907) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:14PM (#11597119)
      No, we are not trolling. The point of the dual license model is that we are _dual licensing_ Qt. We offer the Commercial license for proprietary use, and the Open Source Edition for Open Source use. You are of course free to download and redistribute the Open Source Edition, but you need to comply with the provisions of the GPL (distribute source with the binary, accept the freedom of your users to redistribute and modify the source). This is not the same as use under any setting at all.
      • You are of course free to download and redistribute the Open Source Edition, but you need to comply with the provisions of the GPL (distribute source with the binary, accept the freedom of your users to redistribute and modify the source).

        I think the point the OP was making was that there is a difference between using and distributing. If I am IT-guru for a company and write an in-house program for our workers to use on their workstations, Trolltech can not require that the source be made available, despit

        • If I am IT-guru for a company and write an in-house program for our workers to use on their workstations, Trolltech can not require that the source be made available, despite that being a commercial setting.

          No, but one of your (ex)employees can post the source code on the internet and you can't do anything about it since the code is GPL'd.
      • by geoffspear (692508) * on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:27PM (#11597267) Homepage
        I think what had me confused is the use of the word "use" in the dual license FAQ.

        I read it as prohibiting use of even open source programs built with Qt in a commercial setting without a commercial license, which would violate the GPL. It's clear from other posters in this thread that it's prohibiting only the development of closed source software without a commercial license.

        Of course, I'm not entirely convinced that even resolving this ambiguity helps; I'm fairly certain that the GPL allows me to develop closed-source software from GPLed code for use in any setting I want to use it in, as long as I don't actually distribute the derived program to anyone else. (e.g., if an investment banker somewhere wants to write a program using Qt for his own use in his office, for a commercial purpose, without distributing the program or the source, the FAQ seems to prohibit that, but the GPL says it's perfectly fine.)

        • I agree there.

          Could the Qt people clear that up:
          If a for-profit company wants to develop in-house, never-ever to be sold or released to the public, custom applications, do they need to get a license from Qt?

        • by Anonymous Coward
          I'm fairly certain that the GPL allows me to develop closed-source software from GPLed code for use in any setting I want to use it in, as long as I don't actually distribute the derived program to anyone else.

          Maybe nitpicking here, but I think you're confusing the issue by talking about the developed software as being 'closed source'. If the program is never distributed then saying that it is open source or closed source is meaningless.
      • by jdavidb (449077) on Monday February 07, 2005 @02:12PM (#11598546) Homepage Journal

        Given the dual licensing, can you please answer a question that has made me wonder about Qt for years? If I submit to Trolltech a fix or new feature for GPL'ed Qt, you can't include it in the commercial-license Qt, can you? Does the commercial-license version include community-submitted changes? Does the GPL version include fixes and improvements not present in the commercial version?

        • by vohi (857084) on Monday February 07, 2005 @02:31PM (#11598796)
          There are roughly two things that are likely to happen:

          - your fix points out an actual bug or deficiency, but is for numerous reasons not something TT wants to apply against their source code. In this case, TT will probably implement a fix for that actual bug, and most likely not use your patch as it came.

          - the code you submitted is substantial, correct, of excellent quality and follows TT's own coding style. Then Trolltech will most likely ask you to transfer the copyright for this code to them before they include your code, or to provide the code under a suitable license. Then they will send you a job offer :)

          The source code of the Open Source edition of Qt is identical to the source code of the Commercial edition of Qt, so if there is any contributed code in Qt then it went through the above process.
  • GPL Qt for Windows (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nurgled (63197) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:04PM (#11596981)

    Didn't someone external to Trolltech port the GPL-licenced code to Windows and licence it under the GPL? Without special clauses in the licence to prevent that, that would presumably be allowed.

    Or, do the X11 and Windows versions differ so greatly that such a port is an insurmountable task?

    • by atomice (228931) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:09PM (#11597042)
      Yes they did [sourceforge.net]
    • INAL but Trolltech does not waive their copyright when they release software under GPL. If they had not previously dual licensed it for windows, that external developer would have been in breach of licensing agreements and copyright violation.

      Again, INAL but given that they had previously only offered the commercial license to windows developers, it stand to reason that the copyright holders purposefully intended to not allow GPL versions on windows until now.

      • by Trestop (571707)
        It doesn't matter whether they allow Qt to run GPLed on windows or not - by releasing a GPLed version of Qt they are specifically allowing it to be modified and redistributed under the terms of the GPL. One possible modification is porting Qt to run on MS-Windows. so I can get Qt/X11, port it to Win32 (as the kde-cygwin project on sf.net do) and release it under the GPL. Other people can now use this version to develop and distribute Qt based application on Win32 - but again only using the GPL. So even giv
  • Microsoft asks and they shall receive!

    Screw application heterogeneity, write once, compile thrice, and run everywhere!!!
  • KDE on Cygwin (Score:2, Informative)

    by NeilO (20628)
    I suppose this is the end of the KDE on Cygwin [sf.net] project, and good news in general for Qt/KDE applications on Windows?
  • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:05PM (#11596998) Homepage
    since they have a large audience now that can take advantage of them maybe LyX will start accelerating development and adding in some nice features that will make document creation much more productive.(integrate a bib database for god sakes!!!)
  • by Progoth (98669) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:06PM (#11597001) Homepage
    Goodbye, MFC.
    • Yeah right.

      Even M$ has tried killing MFC off for years without success.

      Like Roseanne, Hillary Clinton, the Bush clan, and the New England Patriots - the hideous visage of MFC will be with us for a long long time to come.

  • by osho_gg (652984) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:06PM (#11597003)
    This is exactly what has been requested by many Qt/KDE developers over many years. This will bring about a flourish of new applications being ported from linux to windows (whether you like that or not). This will heat up the Gtk vs. Qt arguments as a major argument against Qt no longer holds. This will also help push KDE Enterprise efforts as many enterprise concerns will be resolved by this move. Good move Trolltech!
  • Ease transition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by isn't my name (514234) <slash@@@threenorth...com> on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:07PM (#11597017)
    This should increase the availability of quality F/OSS software on the windows platform, which can help ease the transition to Linux.

    I only wish this were the case a few years ago. TORA (Toolkit for Oracle) [globecom.net] was a great, inexpensive cross-platform PL/SQL editor. I tried to get my boss to standardize on it so that we could use the same tools in Linux and Windows, but he was turned off by the need to charge for Windows support. (He interpreted that as Linux arrogance and was worried that the Windows support would be lacking. Even though I explained it was because of Trolltech licensing.)

    Turns out the boss was right, though for different reasons. Tora got bought out by a windows pl/sql tools competitor and basically killed.
    • wxWidgets (formerly wxWindows) is a rather nice cross-platform toolkit. And it doesn't have any weird license, that I know of.
      If you're porting an existing Qt-based app, that's good news I guess, but if not, I think you should just use wxWidgets. The license for Qt is too restrictive, and well, their interpretation of GPL, as others have noticed here, is kind of absurd. It's GPL, but not really. Depends. Isn't that against what GPL is really all about?
  • Kindows???? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spectrokid (660550) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:08PM (#11597022) Homepage
    QT is the base of KDE, no? So when do we get KDE for windows?
    • Re:Kindows???? (Score:2, Interesting)

      how awesome would it be to replace explorer.exe with KDE :-)
    • Re:Kindows???? (Score:2, Informative)

      by strider44 (650833)
      Don't get your hopes up. KDE is a desktop environment (which is where the DE comes from), so it relies pretty heavily on an X Server. My advice: If you want KDE, use linux.
      • Re:Kindows???? (Score:4, Informative)

        by IceFox (18179) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:26PM (#11597260) Homepage
        Actually KDE doesn't rely on the X-Server that much. I ported KDE to native OS-X last Christmas and that was mostly cleaning up the few X-Server calls (i.e. the work is all done from the X-Server side of things).

        -Benjamin Meyer
      • Yeah, I'll second that. Why pay the Microsoft software license (you do use your software legally don't you?) in order to run KDE that's free on Linux?

        Shucks, you should work for microsoft marketing!

        Slogan: "We support open source! We love linux! Use KDE with Windows XP2!"

        No thanks.
      • This seems to be a pretty bad bit of engineering. Those sorts of dependencies should be abstracted away from the applications. What's the point of a framework as big as KDE or GNOME if you're still tied to a particular set of system software assumptions?

        As much as X is despised, it would seem silly to marry yourself to it.
    • Re:Kindows???? (Score:5, Informative)

      by JaxWeb (715417) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:18PM (#11597160) Homepage Journal
      Whenever you want? [sourceforge.net]
      • Re:Kindows???? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Bulln-Bulln (659072) <bulln-bulln@netscape.net> on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:58PM (#11597641)
        Quote from KDE-Cygwin:

        Posted By: habacker
        Date: 2005-01-27 14:21
        Summary: source and binary snapshots of QT/Win Free Edition available

        The QT/Win Free Edition is not far away from to be a full working release.


        Maybe this is why Trolltech made this announcement? Trolltech propably had its reasons not to release the Windows version under GPL, but with this fork their reasons may be undermined. So maybe the guys at Trolltech thought "better done right (by us), than done buggy (by others) and give us bad reputation".

        Of course this is just speculation and the close time gap between the KDE-Cygwin announcement and the Trolltech announcement could be just a coincidence.
        • Re:Kindows???? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by swillden (191260) *

          Maybe this is why Trolltech made this announcement? Trolltech propably had its reasons not to release the Windows version under GPL, but with this fork their reasons may be undermined. So maybe the guys at Trolltech thought "better done right (by us), than done buggy (by others) and give us bad reputation".

          I think this is exactly what happened, and I even have a guess as to why Trolltech didn't want to GPL Qt/Windows before.

          I think the reason they didn't want to GPL it before was because then companies

    • You mean like http://kde-cygwin.sourceforge.net/?
    • Do you mean KDE that can be run in Windows, like for a POSIX layer? Well that already exists, as others have noted, it works in Cygwin, and probably could be made to work with a native POSIX layer like the one SFU installs.

      Do you mean as in a replacement to explorer? Then no, likely not. KDE is all X based, and I just can't see a reasonable way of getting it to tie in to the Win32 enivronment. You have to remember that Windows doesn't have a distinct concept of a window manager. It has a shell that manages
  • Really? (Score:5, Informative)

    by LilMikey (615759) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:13PM (#11597098) Homepage
    I was under the impression that Trolltech did have a GPLed version of Qt for Windows. I thought it was the one included in their GUI programming book (the book is at home so I can't look it up myself). I also seem to recall at least a few projects stating that if you contacted Trolltech and notified them that you were working on an open source project and would like Qt for Windows, they'd give it to you for free (although maybe under a different license?).
  • Yea! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LoveTheIRS (726310) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:26PM (#11597262) Homepage Journal
    Yea! Hopefully, now since cross platform OSS programs can now use QT, the GTK will die an awful awful death. No more hassle making custom widgets in C. Thank the lord. I hope that there is at least some very good competition between QT and GTK now. They are now fighting on relatively equal licensing ground now.
    • Re:Yea! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ultrabot (200914) on Monday February 07, 2005 @01:36PM (#11598057)
      Hopefully, now since cross platform OSS programs can now use QT, the GTK will die an awful awful death.

      GTK is still preferable for developing proprietary applications. The whole software world isn't suddenly going open source - and that's what keeps Trolltech in business as well.
  • This is the best news of the year, for me at least. No longer will I (and many other developers) need to compromise when writing multiplatform C++ code -- Qt is just the natural choice for this task, and I'm very glad they decided to release Qt again under the GPL.

    Again, kudos to Trolltech -- great companies like them are pretty much the exception these days.
  • Fantastic News (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zemoo (582445)
    This is fantastic news!
    Opensource projects won't have to choose between Java Swing (and all the baggage that comes with Java), a heavyweight wrapper like wxWidgets (and BitTorrent, written in wxWidgets, isn't the prettiest app), or a fairly ugly port of GTK, which I've been forced to use.

    Does this mean we'll see a port of KHTML (Konqueror/Safari) to Windows?

    Move over Firefox, this is going to become a 3-way!

  • Commercial compiler support - the tools shipped with the GPL version support the popular GNU CC compiler. The C++ compilers from Microsoft, Intel and Borland are not supported by the tools in the GPL version.


    How would you compile it under Windows without needing cygwin? I guess we'll have to wait for Qt 4.0.0 when the first version for Windows with GPL is released.

    By the way, what's up with gcc.gnu.org? It's been unreachable for days!
  • You may know that there's a project to port KDE and its apps to Mac OS X using Qt/Mac.
    The developer(s) of this port replaced some X11 functions with Qt funktions, but the KDE project didn't accept them, because they caused some (AFAIK minor) problems. Now with the upcoming release of Qt/Win32, I hope that there will be some more pressure toward the KDE developers to accept those patches and work out the (minor) problems. If KDE won't depend that much on X11 any more, other plattforms may get working versio
  • Over the years, there have been complaints from various developers that it's not possible to distribute free ($) software for Windows using Qt: a license costs an arm and a leg.

    Finally Trolltech have corrected this (again - do they mean it this time?) but I fear it may be too late. Qt has always been an excellent development platform, but the grass roots support hasn't grown as it could have.

    I'm going to try compiling some of the Qt-based software I wrote, years ago, for Windows, but I've become quite use
  • by Paralizer (792155) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:51PM (#11597562) Homepage
    While Trolltech has long dual-licensed Qt on X11 (Linux, various Unixes), Mac, and embedded, Windows developers have had no options other than a commercial license.


    That's not true, I installed Qt3 on my Windows machine and I had the option of using the GPL.
    I came on a CD with this book http://vig.prenhall.com:8081/catalog/academic/prod uct/0,1144,0131240722-FEA,00.html [prenhall.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    GTK2 on win32 is good (and easy to install/bundle with your software)

    wxWidgets is a very nice toolkit and has been showing up more and more in sofwares.

    MS now allows developers to download their compilers and build tools in the SDK WITHOUT CHARGE, so it isn't a requirement that you buy a version of Visual C++ or .NET anymore, but you do have to use the command line only tools.

    If I remember, it was the cost of being a "developer" on windows systems that directed their previous choice to charge for al

  • by Qwavel (733416) on Monday February 07, 2005 @01:46PM (#11598189)

    As a Windows C++ developer, Qt4 is now open-source for my purposes. Since Qt4 is obviously much better than MFC this is very significant.

    But it is very frustrating since Qt could have been a very significant C++ framework on windows if it had done this years ago. Now it is a bit late for most of us.

    The other frustrating thing is that TT, in the best tradition, is pursuing lock-in (vs. standards) in QT4. By deciding to embrace templated containers in their own proprietary way, vs. the standard, STL, way, they make it much harder for a programmer like me to convert to QT, both practically and morally.

    I know they will have all the usual excuses for breaking the standard (I've heard them from MS in the past). It's kind of ironic that, just when MS stops playing games and finally puts out a truly standards compliant compiler (VC7.1) with a great standard library, TT decides to imitate the old MS.
    • by Simon (815) <simon@simo n z o n e . c om> on Monday February 07, 2005 @02:30PM (#11598773) Homepage
      The main benefit of Qt's container types is that they are the same on each platform. You have to deal with different STL implementations having different bugs. The other reason Qt doesn't use STL is simply because when Qt was started the STL hadn't settled yet and was a PITA to use for cross platform stuff. So then made their own. Now they have to continue using and supporting their containers types. Their customers have too much code depending on it now.

      --
      Simon
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Monday February 07, 2005 @03:08PM (#11599267) Homepage Journal
    KDE.org [kde.org] has a nice interview with the president [kde.org] of TrollTech, Eirik Chambe Eng. Definitely worth a read!

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