Qt and Nokia: An acquisition that actually made things better!


ned's picture

We all know the knock on corporate acquisitions - particularly in the technology world.  They never work out, all the good people leave within twelve months and one day, the product has got one foot in the grave by the time the ink on the purchase agreement has dried.  And that's all too often true - a point I myself often note over at The ERP Graveyard Blog.

But I'm here to tell you that I think we've found the exception that proves the rule.  The acquisition of Trolltech, makers of the Qt toolkit for C++, by Nokia Corporation, is off to a fantastic start.

Here at xTuple, we've used Qt from the beginning - that is, since the previous century.  And the company formerly known as Trolltech certainly had its share of challenges; while they were an early innovator in the field of open source dual-licensing, they also stumbled badly in their first attempt, with a heavy-handed license that contributed to the KDE vs. GNOME wars in the Linux world, among other things.  They've always had a terrific product, but they've suffered a bit of a reputation as mysterious Scandanavian wizards who don't always play well with the other kids.

That's all changing now that they're part of Nokia.  The company has decided to release Qt under the LGPL (as well as the GPL and commercial licenses) as part of a larger play for ubiquity and developer mindshare across multiple platforms.  Smart move.  The LGPL (which xTuple also chose for OpenRPT several years ago, by the way, after being smacked around by the open source community ourselves) allows essentially unfettered usage and distribution of the software, without the aggressively viral attributes of the GPL.

And, they're making the source code repositories of Qt itself more accessible, which is more good news for the platform - and all xTuple users.  This all starts with the new Qt 4.5 release includes lots of great new stuff, including an all-new IDE, SDK, and probably lots of other TLAs.  We're looking over 4.5 now here at xTuple, and will be supporting it later this year.  So three cheers for Nokia, and the Qt management team!