What happens with KDE with Qt license shift?

Summary:License discussions are usually about as interesting as watching paint dry, but the news that Nokia is going to use GNU's Lesser General Public License (LGPL) for the upcoming release of Qt may be a big deal for KDE.Nokia announced today that it would be releasing Qt (pronounced "cute," by the way) 4.

License discussions are usually about as interesting as watching paint dry, but the news that Nokia is going to use GNU's Lesser General Public License (LGPL) for the upcoming release of Qt may be a big deal for KDE.

Nokia announced today that it would be releasing Qt (pronounced "cute," by the way) 4.5 in March 2009 with the LGPL.

The move to LGPL licensing will provide open source and commercial developers with more permissive licensing than GPL and so increase flexibility for developers. In addition, Qt source code repositories will be made publicly available and will encourage contributions from desktop and embedded developer communities. With these changes, developers will be able to actively drive the evolution of the Qt framework.

This is a really important move as Nokia looks to push Qt as a development platform for mobile devices, and also will help the KDE Project as it embraces non-free platforms like Mac OS X and Windows. Making KDE/Qt a development platform for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X could be very successful if they can convince ISVs to adopt it -- which wasn't as likely with the GPL.

Of course, if Trolltech (now owned by Nokia) had done that from the get-go, things might be much different in the desktop world. It's been a slow evolution from a non-free license, to the GPL, and now to the LGPL, while the GNOME folks have taken the LGPL strategy for quite some time.

Another minor note -- even though the LGPLv3 has been out for more than a year, Nokia is going with the older LGPLv2.1. Still not seeing a lot of love for the revised GPL/LGPL, though I'm not sure if this is largely due to inertia or specific qualms with the licenses.

Topics: Software, Apple, Nokia, Open Source, Operating Systems

About

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is the community manager for openSUSE, a community Linux distro sponsored by Novell. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist primarily covering the Linux and FOSS beat, and wrote for a number of publications, such as Linux Magazine, Linux.com, Sys Admin, UnixReview.com, IBM developer... Full Bio

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