QT Software, under the graces of Nokia, has released the superb QT cross-platform toolkit under the LGPL.

This. is. HUGE.

For the libre software purist, this still benefits you, if indirectly. Companies that make changes to the toolkit must still submit patches. More influential, GPL incompatible software may now readily use QT for free. This will likely foster more QT centric developers, boost adoption of the underlying stack (Linux, etc), and lower the barrier for vendors to release cross-platform tools.

From a Nokia business perspective, it makes perfect sense and makes the whole thing that much more beautiful. "QT Everywhere" is really a possibility now. And, it's beneficial to Nokia as well as the ecosystem they are enriching. The more QT developers, the bigger the talent pool for Nokia software. The more contributors, the better the toolkit. Win. A small company like Trolltech could not afford to do this, but to a big dog like Nokia, the revenue from commercial licensing is insignificant and unimportant compared to device sales.

I know the company I work for, Analog Rails, will be able to take advantage of the license switch. Being previous commercial QT customers, it was expensive to juggle around machines to maintain compliance. For companies like VMWare that deploy cross-platform software and maintain their own cross-platform extensions, this surely must be compelling. I say, the more the merrier!

What a great day for free software, computing, and life in general :-) .

Ars Technica has outstanding coverage of the news: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20090114-nokia-qt-lgpl-switch-huge-win-for-cross-platform-development.html


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