Nokia Hopes to Increase Qt Popularity With New License

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Nokia has added LGPL (Lesser General Public License) as an option for Qt, saying the move will increase developer flexibility and increase popularity, it announced on Wednesday.

Qt is a C++ based cross-platform framework produced by a Nokia subsidiary that can be used to build, for example, user interfaces. Applications are portable as source code and then compiled on each platform. Qt can be used to build applications for use on PCs, mobile phones and set-top boxes, among others.

Currently, the free and open source software version of Qt is licensed under the General Public License (GPL). It is also available under a commercial license for proprietary software development.

But using LGPL, developers can combine open-source code written using Qt with applications that use other licensing options, both open and proprietary, which wouldn't be possible using GPL.

By adding a more permissive licensing method, Nokia believes Qt will be used more, according to Sebastian Nyström, vice president for Qt Software at Nokia.

"So it's pretty straightforward open-source logic here, where more use and more contributions lead to a better product, which again leads to more use. Nokia will be using Qt quite broadly and we have a big incentive to make sure the product evolves," said Nyström.

For Nokia, an important part of the licensing change is that the Symbian Foundation -- which is the upcoming, Nokia-backed open-source operating system for mobile phones -- will be able to start using Qt, according to Nyström.

Nokia also wants to increase adoption on the commercial side and the addition of LGPL will open the door for that, Nyström said.

LGPL version 2.1 will be a part of Qt version 4.5, which is scheduled for release in March. Versions of Qt prior to 4.5 are not affected by the announcement.

Qt 4.5 will also include performance improvements, better support for browser framework Webkit and platform improvements for Windows, Mac and Linux, according to Nyström.

For the Mac, version 4.5 adds support for 64-bit applications on top of Apple's Cocoa Framework.

Nokia is also going to employ more developers, open up the Qt source code repository and make it easier for the community to contribute to Qt, said Nyström in the Qt Labs blog.

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