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!







 

14 comments:

Reinhold said...

Have you actually contacted Trolltech about this? AFAIK, they *DO* have such a program. They don't advertise it, but if you ask start-ups can get special conditions to make Qt affordable.

verbaltone said...

Let's recap: You want to make a closed-source, proprietary application with a secret protocol, so that you can lock in and rip-off users, just like Micro$oft.

What gives you the right to demand that Trolltech give away their hard work so that you can use it for your unscrupulous purposes? If you want to make proprietary apps, play by the proprietary rules and pay up. The money you pay is well-spent because it helps Trolltech to improve open-source Qt.

Trolltech: Keep Qt as GPL -- it ensures software freedom and it's good for your business.

Matt Broadstone said...

Have you all considered getting paid for the development and then paying for a license upon completion? If you develop your product with the open source edition in the inital stages you can show your clients how well it works and how nice it is at which point you can convince them to buy their own license.. just a thought, though I understand there is a lot of risk involved I think Qt will surely win out with the size of code + development time differences from developing in wxWidgets or GTK+

chithanh said...

As long as the software is being developed in-house, there is no need to buy a commercial license.

Only when you actually start to distribute/sell your proprietary code (ie. generate revenue with it), you need a commercial license.

segedunum said...

The problem is, they do not have the money they are going to earn, at the moment they start writing code.

Neither does anyone else. Welcome to the world. All businesses have that chicken and egg situation, and they need to invest capital in the equipment and offices they need.

Use the free version of Qt to get aquainted (or discuss with Trolltech), make sure the thing is going to do what you need it to do and then pay for a license at some point in the future when you know it's going to work for you.

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.

Dude. Setting up a business isn't cheap. If you can afford to buy an office, computers and licenses for pointless operating systems then how is it not possible to afford decent development tools - you know, that stuff you're actually going to use to build that something that you want to make money from?

You'd rather money went into Windows and Mac OS licenses and other costs than the actual tools you're going to use to build your product? Hmmm.....

No project could afford buying Qt Commercial Licence at the starting moment.

Yes they can, and if they can't then I'm afraid those projects simply aren't viable.

We sticked to wxWidgets and GTK2.

Then I'm afraid you're going to be developing for an awful long time.

People can't expect to have free operating systems, free software and free development tools and frameworks. The development stuff is the engine room of where this software is created (both free and proprietary), and money has to go into somehow.

Lukasz said...

I couldn't write this earlier so it could be that I'm repeating some arguments already given here, but did you consider buying only one (multisystem) license for the build machine? You know, not every dev must have his own proprietary license as long as no one else outside the company uses his code, he can develop it with GPL Qt, you know - you don't ship your apps directly from a dev machine, even PLD has it's own builders.
BTW you write, that you're using wxWidgets and GTK+2 - why two different platforms? Time and money invested in those two will propably cost you more than a Qt license...

Saccagator said...

And why not making a commercial, Free-as-in-Freedom GPL app ?

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Hmm, they even got a small business programme where you can get discounts for up to three Qt licenses

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asdf said...

Qt is now LGPL!


http://www.qtsoftware.com/about/news/lgpl-license-option-added-to-qt