Wednesday, January 30, 2008

what's going on at Trolltech?

quite a number of developers will know Trolltech, the company behind Qt, the cross-platform framework for creating desktop applications (orignally in C++, and more recently, in Java). Qt has a long history and forms the basis of KDE.

anyway, Qt has long been a favourite of C++ developers on *nix systems. Windows developers weren't so lucky. Trolltech released a non-commercial edition of Qt, which i first learned about when Qt was in version 2.3. anyway, i never really used Qt then (even now, i just want to get started with it) but i did keep up to date with it. some open-source developers (originally behind the port of KDE to Cygwin) began an unofficial opensource native Windows. they succeeded, but they had to shut down binary builds because people (who weren't thinking of the implications of what they were doing) kept posting questions about the open-source Qt to the official Trolltech support team. and with the release of Qt 4, the team started creating (again unofficial) patches to the Qt opensource edition to make it build with compilers other than MinGW, which was the only system supported by Trolltech officially.

recently, the project has been closed. there are no new files because as the team says: "This project was closed because the goal to provide Qt/GPL on windows (inclusive msvc support) was achieved". more information can be found here. i guess that's because in the latest version of opensource Qt - even though Trolltech claims that Visual Studio support and integration is only provided with the commercial versions of Qt - you can build Qt and Qt-based applications using commandline tools with other compilers, including Visual Studio. but be careful, any commercial application you create must be completely licensed uner the GPL. as the Trolls themselves say, your product must be licensed exclusively under the GPL.

what i'm wondering is: why the change of heart? and Trolltech seems to have been bought by Nokia. so what happens to developers after this? your guess is as good as mine.

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