[Development] Changes to Qt offering

Benjamin TERRIER b.terrier at gmail.com
Tue Jan 28 18:23:35 CET 2020

On Tue, 28 Jan 2020 at 17:37, Volker Hilsheimer <volker.hilsheimer at qt.io>

> The Qt Company is a public company; we are not yet profitable, but things
> are getting there. Given how significant the Qt Company contribution to Qt
> is, making it a sustainable business should be in the interest of anyone
> that wants to see Qt continue to be a successful and evolving technology.
> Making backporting of fixes to old branches a commercial-only service is
> an attempt to encourage more companies that are basing their business on
> Qt-based software to contribute with funding. Ideally without antagonizing
> the community, but that’s obviously a difficult balance to strike.
> Would making Qt cheaper make it more likely that the Qt Company becomes a
> sustainable business? Would giving a few licenses out for free to
> contributors help with that? I doubt it would make much of a difference.
> Should we turn the Qt Company into a business for which Qt becomes a
> secondary priority, and where we develop Qt only as a means to an end
> (which would be the kitware business model)? I really don’t think that
> would serve Qt very well.
> Maybe you all have great ideas that we missed though. What kind of change
> do you think would give companies a really good reason to buy a license,
> without at the same time hurting the community?

>From my experience and what I glimpsed from online communities:

- Offer a paid support service without having to buy a commercial license
- Remove the prohibitive cost of moving from open source to commercial.
- To my best knowledge the Qt Company is asking a retroactive fee for all
the time the open source version was used.
- Change your pricing. Offer small subset of features at lower price.

Each time I was in a company using Qt and we asked ourselves if we want to
move from open source to commercial it was because of a single feature was
Each time we compared the cost of buying Qt licenses (not even talking
about the retroactive fees) vs using something else, we used something else.
Typical example: a project need to draw charts. Can we use Qt Charts ? No
because it is GPL only. Do we buy a Qt license or use Qwt ? We use Qwt.

I understand that the price of Qt licenses, if expensive, is matching what
the full Qt commercial offering is providing. But my experience is that
are interested in a single feature and the expense cannot be justified for
a single feature.

I am not sure that taking from the community features like the offline
installers, which are just nice to have, but does not justify buying Qt
will bring you more costumers.
Even worse, you risk that the community will roll out their own offline
installers and in the end the community will be unhappy of TQC and TQC will
have 0 new costumers coming for the offline installers.

- - Bring stability. Stop changing your offerings and policies.
You has a Qt for mobile app offer and removed it some months.
You know have a Qt for startups offer, how many people won't buy it because
they think it will go the same way.
You offered LTS, and 3 LTS later it's gone for open source users.

You are making people worried for the future of Qt and more and more I see
people looking for alternatives for this reason.
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