Home > Development, FOSS, Marsyas, Programming > Confusing days for Qt (and its developer community)

Confusing days for Qt (and its developer community)

The Elopocalypse: Nokia chooses Microsoft | Be the signal.

So its seems Nokia, the giant who in the recent years seems to completely have lost its bearing, has decided today to party with Microsoft and include WMP7 as (yet another) software platform for their… er… devices (nowadays I’m not really sure what kind of stuff Nokia develops/sells anymore… cellphones? Smartphones? MobilePhones? MobileNet devices? Go figure…).

Now, I couldn’t care less about Nokia and their schizophrenic Symbian, MeeGo, WMP7 personas, but since they bough Trolltech a couple of years ago, I had since then this gut feeling that no good things would happen in the mid-term to Qt (a C++ framework originally developed by Trolltech and which is more than a multiplatform GUI development Toolkit, allowing to conveniently “write once and run everywhere” quasi-natively looking and felling apps for Windows, OSX and Linux).

And here we are…

The thing is that while coding for Marsyas, Qt has been the chosen GUI toolkit that allowed the project to easily deploy some nice GUI apps in the three main OS platforms (but fortunately, and mainly thanks to George “stubbornness” in not allowing Marsyas to become dependent on any 3rd party libs/toolkits, Marsyas can use any other GUI toolkit). Qt is in fact a quite nice piece of software, well documented and with good support, and almost paradoxically, made fully FOSS by Nokia when they bought Trolltech (at that time, MS Windows developers had no access to a FOSS license of Qt).

That said, and as someone that wrote some code using Qt in the past, I should probably now re-evaluate if my next projects should take Qt as a platform of choice. A good thing about Qt is that it is FOSS, and so it’s future may depend more on its developer base than on Nokia itself (and that’s why I’m curious to see what the KDE and (K)Ubuntu reactions will be), but these are confusing days for a software toolkit which may be relegated by its own owner to moribund symbian (eck!) or MeeGo platforms than not even Nokia seems to be betting hi-hopes anymore…

  1. February 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Meh, I’m not overly excited. Qt 4.7 is an utterly awesome toolkit. It’s available under LGPL. Not just GPL, but LGPL ! What more could you want?!?

    Sure, ongoing support, bugfixes, new features, etc., would be nice. But even if Nokia dies instantly (… as it seems to have done…), the source code is still out there. The open-source community forked LibreOffice; we can fork Qt. I mean, the Qt 4.7 source code isn’t going to magically stop working. Sure, improvements may be a lot slower than they were previously, but it’ll still be there.

  2. lgustavomartins
    February 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    True (as I also say in the last paragraph of my post). That’s the beauty of FOSS.

    But although revision 4.7 may be currently quite up-to-date, if Nokia decides to stall Qt development (or refocus it into something else), I wonder about the future of Qt… although the FOSS community could take the project into its hands, there are also cases where this fails to happen to a desired level, and we end up with a moribund project that fails to evolve as expected over time… That’s why I’m really curious to see the reaction of big projects based on Qt like KDE and Kubuntu.

    A thing in favour of Qt though is the lack of a true competition (things like GTK+ and wxWindows still lag far behind Qt, IMHO) and Qt is quite more than a GUI toolkit (includes support for threads, a multimedia layer, and other low level stuff).

    In summary, I just hope Qt survives Nokia, but times ahead seem quite bumpy…

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