Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Mobile | August 9, 2012 - 07:08 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Qt, nokia, Digia
Ars Technica reports 125 employees at Nokia will move to Digia in a deal to relocate the open toolkit, Qt, away from the cellphone manufacturer. The deal reassures developers of software -- especially open sourced software -- their toolkit will continue to be maintained. Qt is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Symbian and MeeGo with other platforms such as Android and iOS planned for support.
I have a special place in my heart for Qt because of a couple of programming projects I have worked on. Finding a good cross-platform interface framework is more difficult than you would think. One project required developing a text-style editor for both Windows and Linux. Qt provided classes for dockable windows and panels, Webkit browser support, and just about anything else I could need.
It really was a cute framework – literally, that is how you pronounce it.
I was one of the first to get a little tenseness in my gut when Nokia started to partner with Microsoft and their Windows Phone platforms. Nokia was slowly distancing themselves from the framework they owned at the time. The Linux and other open source communities were getting quite involved with Qt due to how closely it is tied with KDE. Microsoft is embracing open source communities more than they have been but I would hesitate to trust them that much.
GTK+ is basically the viable alternative to Qt.
So developer framework choice could very well have been between The Gimp and a gimp.
There has been no word on the finances of the transaction.
It is still yet to be seen whether Digia will be a good owner of the framework. Certainly the most recent analogy was the purchase of Java along with the rest of Sun and its assets to Oracle. That certainly did not end up as the best of situations for the end-users of the platform.
Thankfully the framework is published under the GPL along with their commercial license. Should GPL-compatible applications require the framework they would be able to fork from whatever the latest supported GPL release would be and continue on from that point.
Software which uses Qt in a way which is not GPL-compatible still has a few worries going forth. Digia appears to be have some level of trust by the community. We will need to stay tuned to see.