At the beginning of the year we share here on the blog the news about the decision that they had taken in "Qt Company" in which they made known changes to your licensing models and that they announced that the Qt long-term support edition is only included in commercial licenses.
Before this KDE project developers expressed concern by the change in the development of the Qt framework towards a limited commercial product developed without interaction with the community.
In addition to the above decision to deliver the LTS version of Qt only under a commercial license, Qt Company is considering a transition to the Qt distribution model, in the that all versions will be distributed only to commercial license users during the first 12 months.
And all this Qt Company reported to KDE eV, which oversees KDE development.
If the plan under discussion is implemented, the community will only be able to access new versions of Qt one year after their actual release. In practice, such a decision will end the possibility of community participation in Qt development and project-related decision-making, which were provided by Nokia under the Open Governance initiative.
The need to increase short-term income to stay afloat as a result of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic is mentioned as a reason for a possible increase in the commercialization of the project.
The KDE developers hope Qt Company will change its mindBut it won't rule out the potential threat to the community, which Qt and KDE developers should prepare for.
When communicating with the board of directors of the KDE eV organization, Qt representatives expressed their willingness to reconsider their intentions, but in response they required certain concessions in other areas. However, similar negotiations were held to renew the contract six months ago, but the Qt Company abruptly discontinued them and limited QT LTS releases.
Moreover, the collaboration between the KDE community, Qt Project, and Qt Company so far has been close and mutually beneficial. The benefit for Qt Company was building a large and healthy community around Qt, including application developers, third-party Qt developers, and experts.
Collaboration with the KDE community was a great opportunity to use the finished Qt product and participate directly in its development. The Qt Project has benefited to have a great contributor to development and the presence of a great community that supports the project. If the decision to restrict access to Qt is approved, then such cooperation will be discontinued.
The KDE project ensured that Qt could become a fully proprietary product through the KDE Free Qt Foundation, which was created to protect the community from potential policy changes regarding the release of Qt as a free product.
The 1998 agreement between KDE Free Qt Foundation and Trolltech, which applies to all future Qt owners, gives the KDE project the right to re-license the Qt code under any open license and continue to develop it on its own in the event of a licensing policy tightening, owner bankruptcy, or termination of the project development.
The current contract between KDE Free Qt Foundation and Qt Company as well forces to publish all changes to Qt under an open license, but allow a 12 month post delay, which Qt Company intends to use to increase its income.
It was intended to exclude this time delay in the new edition of the contract, but the new contract could not be agreed. For its part, KDE was ready to provide Qt Company with additional opportunities to increase revenue, such as the ability to supply Qt kits with additional software and the ability to integrate with third-party applications.