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AluminiumTech

QT plans to go anti-open source because of Coronavirus and need for profits | All future versions possibly delayed by 12 months for open source

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Posted · Original PosterOP

QT, the popular cross-platform desktop framework used by everything from VLC to Radeon Software for Windows to Spotify to many others, is now considering delaying all future releases under open source licenses for 12 months.

 

The QT company has said their plan is to give commercial customers access to new versions as they come out and offer open source versions of those 12 months after release. Their stated reason for considering this is the Coronavirus and their new money problems.

 

This has naturally lead to major concern as QT open source is used by a huge number of projects. As such, KDE are negotiating with the QT company but are looking to fork QT if this goes ahead as planned.

 

Quote

But the most surprising new information made public today by KDE's Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer is that The Qt Company is considering making new releases paid-customer-only for the first twelve months.

Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer wrote, "But last week, the company suddenly informed both the KDE e.V. board and the KDE Free QT Foundation that the economic outlook caused by the Corona virus puts more pressure on them to increase short-term revenue. As a result, they are thinking about restricting ALL Qt releases to paid license holders for the first 12 months. They are aware that this would mean the end of contributions via Open Governance in practice."

Olaf went on to add, "We hope The Qt Company will reconsider. However, this threat to the Open Source community needs to be anticipated, so that the Qt and KDE communities can prepare themselves. The Qt Company says that they are willing to reconsider the approach only if we offer them concessions in other areas. I am reminded, however, of the situation half a year ago. We had discussed an approach for contract updates, which they suddenly threw away by restricting LTS releases of Qt instead."

Thus moving ahead there is the possibility of a ~12 month delay for new releases being available as open-source but The Qt Company doesn't appear to have firmly decided on this direction yet.

 

Quote

The hope is first and foremost that The Qt Company and KDE / KDE Free Qt Foundation can reach a mutual agreement without this embargo on future releases, which would effectively close up its development. But should an agreement go unresolved and The Qt Company go ahead with their plans in the name of boosting short-term revenues stemming from the coronavirus, developers are expressing a willingness to fork should it come it.

Among those backing the concept of forking Qt as a last resort if necessary has been developers from consulting firm KDAB, the Qute browser developer, and the QGIS project as one of the leading geographic information system software packages, among many KDE developers themselves.

This mailing list thread is quite active in talking about the possible fork if necessary, including aspects like web-hosting down to what such a fork should be called ("Kt" seems to be a popular choice so far with several different members in the community).

 

Honestly, what a bunch of sore losers QT are. Their commercial plans have exponentially increased in price in the past couple of years from around $30 per month to now almost $300 per month and yet they now want to effectively kill off their open source versions.

 

Remember kids, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

 

Giving too much power to one company is asking for that company to abuse it's power.

 

I'm shocked but not all that surprised it has come to this. The QT company has been somewhat greedy for some time because of pressure from their parent company with them having shareholders. Shareholders are often imo the reasons for companies trying to increase profits and running their low cost or free products into the ground. And just in general they ruin products that would otherwise be great.

 

What a joke.

 

I hope this is a wake up call to all open source devs using QT and cross-platform frameworks which have a commercial business. When you're not paying for something, these companies will turn you into the product which in this case means giving away contributions to QT for free. But in this case that now means also being denied access to new versions for 12 months.

 

To be clear: QT hasn't decided whether they want to continue down this path but unless KDE and QT company come to an agreement it is very likely this will happen.

 

Oh well. Another reason for me to avoid QT.

 

Sources:

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Qt-Might-Restrict-New-Releases

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=More-Interest-Possible-Qt-Fork


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Never heard of Qt Company before reading this... 🤷‍♂️


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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, SansVarnic said:

Never heard of Qt Company before reading this... 🤷‍♂️

Here's a couple more (hopefully more popular) examples of who uses them:

  • Valve: Steam client
  • Nvidia: GeForce Now PC client
  • GOG: Galaxy Client
  • OBS
  • Teamviewer
  • Virtualbox
  • Folding At Home: Desktop client
  • EA: Origin client
  • KDE: KDE Desktop Environment

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So non-commercial use is still free right? I used Qt a lot in my projects which requires GUI for CS classes, otherwise I'd have to look for other free frameworks then.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 minutes ago, SpicyP said:

So non-commercial use is still free right? I used Qt a lot in my projects which requires GUI for CS classes, otherwise I'd have to look for other free frameworks then.

Yes still free but you'd be stuck with a 12 month out of date version unless you pay money if this goes through.


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Wow. If this went through... wow. 

 

But how will it actually impact end user?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, xAcid9 said:

Wow. If this went through... wow. 

 

But how will it actually impact end user?

Assuming this all goes through:

 

Under the hood platform changes will take longer to reach end users.

 

Incompatibilities with new OS features or changes will take substantially longer to fix. Supporting a new OS or a new OS feature on Day 1 will become impossible and support will come months or even a year later.

 

Open source projects like OBS, Virtualbox, Folding At Home, VLC, etc won't get the latest QT version and will always be stuck on an old version. Potentially also leaving them stuck with bugs until the next version in the event that a new major version includes bug fixes.

 

KDE will fork QT framework open source and so there will eventually be incompatibility between KDE QT or whatever they call it and QT open source.

 

The open source projects mentioned above may choose to ditch QT altogether or may choose to switch to KDE's fork of QT open source. Causing a headache for devs using QT open source and potentially slowing down development of new features or changes in their projects.

 

Some apps that used to be open source and using QT open source may end up going proprietary as they move to QT proprietary and change business model to paid.

 

That's about the size of it.


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I second SansVarnic's statement, I've never heard of The Qt Company or their Qt software before this thread -- then again, I'm not too well-versed in the toolkit/software side of things. 🤷‍♂️

54 minutes ago, AluminiumTech said:

Here's a couple more (hopefully more popular) examples of who uses them:

  • Valve: Steam client
  • Nvidia: GeForce Now PC client
  • GOG: Galaxy Client
  • OBS
  • Teamviewer
  • Virtualbox
  • Folding At Home: Desktop client
  • EA: Origin client
  • KDE: KDE Desktop Environment

Would you mind linking a source for this list? I could verify the OBS, Teamviewer, Virtualbox, and KDE examples, but I'm not sure about the other entries and would appreciate a sanity check.

 

Also curious about this part:

1 hour ago, AluminiumTech said:

Oh well. Another reason for me to avoid QT.

Do you mean you'll be avoiding products that rely on Qt software from now on, or that you used to use Qt software and won't be using it anymore? If the latter, what do you use Qt for? (I'm trying to form an image in my mind because I'm having a hard time picturing what the Qt software is used for.)


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26 minutes ago, xAcid9 said:

Wow. If this went through... wow. 

 

But how will it actually impact end user?

There has been a lot of talk about forking Qt, so if that did happen, most of the open-source apps relying on Qt would just switch to the fork. Non-programmer end-users shouldn't really see any change at all and programmers would just switch over to the fork.


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1 hour ago, AluminiumTech said:

Oh well. Another reason for me to avoid QT

There's no point in avoiding Qt. If they don't go ahead with their plans, no harm, no foul. If they do, the community will just fork Qt.


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So they are considering killing themselves off?


Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
20 minutes ago, Eschew said:

I second SansVarnic's statement, I've never heard of The Qt Company or their Qt software before this thread -- then again, I'm not too well-versed in the toolkit/software side of things. 🤷‍♂️

Would you mind linking a source for this list? I could verify the OBS, Teamviewer, Virtualbox, and KDE examples, but I'm not sure about the other entries and would appreciate a sanity check.

Folding At Home and EA Origin are easy enough to check. Folding At Home client is open source and EA Origin uses an older version of QT and offers a copy to download. You can check the EA Origin usage on wikipedia.

 

I can't give you any specific proof for Steam, GOG, GeForce Now PC client but knowing how they work and seeing them work I can say I'm very confident they all use Qt.

 

If you want definitive examples:

  • Spotify Desktop
  • AMD Radeon Software
  • Adobe Creative Cloud apps
  • Teamspeak
  • Skype (macOS and Linux version)
  • Various Autodesk programs
  • CryEngine
  • Amazon Lumberyard Engine

 

Quote

Also curious about this part:

Do you mean you'll be avoiding products that rely on Qt software from now on, or you used to use Qt software and won't be using it anymore? If the latter, what do you use Qt for? (I'm trying to form an image in my mind because I'm having a hard time picturing what the Qt software is used for.)

QT is a cross-platform GUI framework.

 

I didn't use Qt before but I definitely won't be using them now.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Also, in case their motives weren't insidious enough, if they go ahead with this then Qt 6 which is planned for release this year won't be open source until 2021.


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2 hours ago, AluminiumTech said:

developers are expressing a willingness to fork should it come it.

Yep, I feel like this is the only good solution if it comes down to it. If anyone can do it it's KDE after all.


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i straight up thought you meant this

 

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QT might abandon this idea, but it's probable that even if that happens, it will get forked to make sure it stays free. Even if they go with that plan, I suspect a small bump in profits short-term and loosing customers long-term.

 

sadface.gif

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While this is certainly unfortunate... the impact this has on organizations/businesses developing in-house applications isn't really that end-of-the-world: life goes on. Certainly not moving back to .NET, even if we have to keep using 5.12 for a few years.

 

In any case, upgrading (and more specifically, validation testing) between QT versions is already a royal pain in the ass; triply so if you're targeting release for all of windows / macos / some-flavour-of-linux.

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Some things to consider:

1) Nothing is set in stone yet. All this info is from Olaf at KDE, and according to him Qt is just considering it. They have not said what they will do yet. Just what they might.

2) Since this isn't set in stone, and it has already gotten a lot of negative feedback, I am not that worried.

3) This here below is the only official statement made by Qt:

Quote

There have been discussions on various internet forums about the future of Qt open source in the last two days. The contents do not reflect the views or plans of The Qt Company.   

 

The Qt Company is proud to be committed to its customers, open source, and the Qt governance model.

https://www.qt.io/blog/qt-and-open-source

 

4) 12 months of delays on updates isn't as big of a deal as you might think. It's only updates for the framework that will be delayed. It's not like Qt now goes "you can't change your program and fix this bug for 12 months!".

 

5) I don't think they will go through with it. I mean, what do they expect to happen? Someone like KDE will just fork it and then the Qt company dies. It would be suicide to actually go through with this.

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7 hours ago, AluminiumTech said:

Giving too much power to one company is asking for that company to abuse it's power.

What?Isn't Qt their product so they can do whatever they want with it?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
1 hour ago, MyName13 said:

What?Isn't Qt their product so they can do whatever they want with it?

Qt as a product is split into 2 offerings.

 

1 is licensed under various licenses: LGPLv3, GPLv2 or optionally GPLv3.

 

The other part is exactly the same as the first but it's licensed under a commercial license absolving individuals of the responsibilities that come with GPL and LGPL code. They can do that as the copyright holder.

 

Anything that goes into the open source code makes it's way into the commercial license and vice versa.

 

My comment was that so many companies and individuals have turned to Qt as a platform which was supposed to be open source friendly and actually community friendly but then it's stabbing the community in the back. It's all centralized in one place.


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9 minutes ago, AluminiumTech said:

Qt as a product is split into 2 offerings.

 

1 is licensed under various licenses: LGPLv3, GPLv2 or optionally GPLv3.

 

The other part is exactly the same as the first but it's licensed under a commercial license absolving individuals of the responsibilities that come with GPL and LGPL code. They can do that as the copyright holder.

 

Anything that goes into the open source code makes it's way into the commercial license and vice versa.

 

My comment was that so many companies and individuals have turned to Qt as a platform which was supposed to be open source friendly and actually community friendly but then it's stabbing the community in the back. It's all centralized in one place.

If it can be forked and used without paying then why does anyone bother with the Qt company?Why isn't it handled like Linux and Firefox?

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Posted · Original PosterOP
7 minutes ago, MyName13 said:

If it can be forked and used without paying then why does anyone bother with the Qt company?Why isn't it handled like Linux and Firefox?

The specific licenses in question for the open source version make it almost impossible to make a proprietary application with it. If you made an app with the open source version it would be more than likely that you'd be forced to make your app open source because of the LGPL and GPL.

 

Big companies like to make proprietary applications. So a lot of them won't pick the open source edition. The open source version is mostly used by indie devs or small teams working on open source projects, as well as EA and one or two others.


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47 minutes ago, AluminiumTech said:

The specific licenses in question for the open source version make it almost impossible to make a proprietary application with it. If you made an app with the open source version it would be more than likely that you'd be forced to make your app open source because of the LGPL and GPL.

 

Big companies like to make proprietary applications. So a lot of them won't pick the open source edition. The open source version is mostly used by indie devs or small teams working on open source projects, as well as EA and one or two others.

You'd have to dynamically link against QT (a bit more of a pain), to fulfill the "your work uses the licensed product, but is not a derivative of a licensed product" aspect.

 

You basically just have your user download/install the QT binaries and link your application against it.

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