Friday, April 21, 2006

I wish Qt was LGPL

Or at least more free. There have been several buisness initiatives recently in which I acted as software design advisor. I was not involved in writing code, but my task was to make sure the software is good enough designed and that its creation process will not take more resources then needed.

All of them were about commercial applications, directed at companies, multi-platform, GUI, network transmission, different stuff usually B2B. Applications were not in fact what was the center of the product, they were just a way to transfer content effectively to clients. The protocol of the transfer was the biggest Intellectual Property behind them and the content was what companies later paid for. In fact the apps were going to be at least a sale good enough to bring back the investment. I was and I am even sure that in one year those apps will be a big hit in Poland among medium-sized and bigger companies.

So what does it have to do with Qt? All those applications were designed by students finishing the Universities, realising their ideas, etc, in short - they had a good idea, they are now going to turn into profit with help from a professional manager (not a student). The problem is, they do not have the money they are going to earn, at the moment they start writing code.

 To write it shorter: to start a company, get an office, buy computers with macos,win,linux, hire developers etc is to pay a lot of money students usually get from a bank credit. Those credits are not enormous, usually they are enough to cover the beginning with a 200$ margin.

Qt was ideal for all of those projects and believe me those projects would be able to pay for Qt lets say after a year (year is a good period becuase statistically companies that cant handle the market, die in around a year, also note that usually its after a year when company starts turning profit that can be used). But Qt will not be used. No project could afford buying Qt Commercial Licence at the starting moment. We sticked to wxWidgets and GTK2.

 Now here is something I do not get, why the hell won't Trolltech build some kind of a program for small, starting companies, that would give them commercial licence for their project free of charge for the first year. It is not stupid! A project developed with Qt that would prove a success and bring profit would mean that after a year Trolltech gets their money when the company buys a commercial licence for the next year (seeing as the application is already written in Qt, rewriting it just not to buy the licence would be stupid and no company would do that, really).

Trolltech would gain a client a happy one too! And a happy client is not only a client that will continue to buy the product but also a good marketing tool.

 On the other hand a company might not bring revenue after a year and bancrupt, well Trolltech would not loose that much in this situation right? It still does not get paid if the company does not use Qt.


Who knows maybe someone from Trolltech reads this and next time I am asked for advisory I can tell the company: hey, Trolltech's got Qt, best toolkit there is and they are giving you a hand at starters!