Nokia/Trolltech: little impact expected on open source

by Andy Oram

I had some conversations today about Nokia's purchase of Trolltech, the makers of Qt and Qtopia. From a conversation with Juha Seppa (Director, Devices R&D at Nokia) and an email exchange with Haavard Nord (CEO and founder of Trolltech), I discovered that the relationships of these companies vis-a-vis free software is not expected to change. I assume that Nokia simply wants to ensure the continued funding and unimpeded development of Qt and the other software that has made Trolltech popular on mobile devices.

First of all, Qt and Qtopia will continue to be released under the GPL. An open letter sent by Trolltech and Nokia management to the KDE community says, "We respect the symbiotic relationship Qt has with the community and we wish to continue and enhance this relationship." Furthermore, "Nokia will apply to become a Patron of KDE."

However, Nokia's long-standing support of GNOME will also continue. They have been deploying Maemo on Internet tablets and will continue to do so. One of the big draws of Trolltech, though, was the strong cross-platform support in its software. Nokia currently uses at least three operating systems (Linux, Symbian, and one of their own), so preserving flexibility is crucial.


3 Comments

Simon Hibbs
2008-01-29 04:54:07
To me this announcement is all about iPhone. Nokia desperately needs a mature, advanced GUI interface that can compete with Apple and their current Symbian and Maemo/Linux platforms just aren't up to the job.
markit
2008-01-29 12:54:33
Don't forget that Nokia has been a stron pusher for Software Patents adoption in Europe, so is strongly against competition in software in general, and is strongly against Free Software in particular. How can you ever trust them? First you acquire Free Software company, then you have software patents legalized = you OWN the code, even if in GPLx, since no developer can resist you if you sue him. I consider this acquisition a really sad news.
Gabriel Macedo
2008-03-29 13:15:59
Markit, could you developer this argument?
I´m really intersting..