From: stormreaver
Written: 2009-01-16 11:01:21.871989
Subject: Qt 4.5 Is Being Released Under The LGPL!

Qt is, in my opinion, the greatest application development framework ever created. It is very well designed, easy to use, and runs on all the major platforms. It is vastly superior, technologically speaking, than GTK+.

Nokia, which purchased Trolltech and renamed it Qt Software, now wants to encourage everyone to use Qt everywhere. To accomplish that, Nokia is releasing the upcoming Qt version 4.5, and presumably all subsequent versions, under the GNU Lesser General Public License (the LGPL). This removes the most significant hurdle that has prevented Qt from completely dominating the graphical using interface development space.

Although some would argue, and rightfully so, that the lack of a dedicated integrated development environment for Qt is another major hurdle, it is relatively minor in comparison to the Qt licensing costs for proprietary application programmers. Many successful software developers launched their careers with shareware on WinDOS. They started small and cheap, and built on early successes and low overhead to eventually become highly profitable. Small time Qt programmers could not follow that route until now.

As much as I love using (and writing) Free Software, it does not (and cannot) fill all possible niches. There just aren't enough Free Software developers with a passion for the variety of needs in the software world. I fully expect to see a much more diverse ecology of small-time proprietary developers cropping up to fill those needs, and building successful businesses in the process.

This is easily one of the most momentous occasions in the software world. GTK+ has a loyal following, partly because it appeals to C programmers, but largely because of its licensing (it has been under the LGPL from the start). Qt 4.5 marks the point where GTK+ loses much of its appeal.

If we're lucky, it will also mark a point where GNOME fades away in favor of the far superior KDE as the standard Linux desktop. I say this as a C programmer who started GUI programming under Linux with GTK+, and learned C++ so I could get away from it. GNOME was also my first desktop under Linux, and it isn't bad for the most part, but KDE is far and away more powerful and visually appealing (Compiz notwithstanding). Most of GNOME's momentum has been due to the more liberal LGPL licensing, an advantage which will evaporate with the release of Qt 4.5.
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