[Development] Leaving The Qt Company

Lars Knoll lars.knoll at qt.io
Wed May 18 10:27:03 CEST 2022

Hi all,
Let’s take the big news first. I’ve resigned from my position at The Qt Company. More on that and what it means for the Qt Project further below.

But as I’ve spent almost exactly 25 years in the Qt ecosystem, 22 of those working for the various companies owning Qt, I hope it’s ok if this gets a bit longer and I spend some paragraphs looking back into history.
As said, it’s been almost exactly 25 years, since I first heard about Qt. At that time, I read an article in the German C’t computer magazine about a new Desktop project for Linux called KDE. The underlying technology being used was Qt. As a person that used Linux extensively during his studies, I immediately got interested and it didn’t take long until I started my first steps learning Qt.
As some of you might know I got involved rather deeply about a year or two later, when I started the KHTML project to create a new HTML engine for KDE in 1998/1999. That project was later forked by Apple to form the basis for their WebKit project, the Safari browser and Google’s Chrome browser. It's cool to think that the browser engine(s) that most people use today started off as a Qt based project all those years ago.
I remember getting to know some of the people working for Trolltech back then at KDE conferences. In the winter of 2000, they invited me over to Oslo to have a look at Qt. The company was at that time still tiny with 11 or 12 employees. I got a great tour of Oslo including the ski jumping tournament at Holmenkollen and signed up for the job.
I was originally expecting to spend 2-3 years at Trolltech and then at some point move back to Germany. As you all can see, that’s not how it went though. I ended up staying in Norway and have been working with and for Qt ever since.
Starting with Qt 1.0, Trolltech released the source code to Qt (at that time only for Linux/Unix), and the Open Source nature of Qt played a big part in its success. I’m very happy that we could continue on that path, by over time making all platforms Qt supports available as Open Source as well as moving over to more standard and freer licensing (first GPL, later LGPL).
At the end of the Trolltech years, we started looking into how to make it easier for the community to contribute to Qt, and first had a model where our users could submit patches to us. That never really worked very well, and I’m really happy that we moved over to our current governance model in 2011. Since then Qt has truly been an Open Source project.
When Qt got sold by Nokia in 2012, many people considered it a dead technology. But I and many of you believed in the technology, and together we’ve managed to turn this into a great success.
As you all know, Qt is a dual licensed technology. That Qt has the backing of a commercial business behind it, is what made the required investments possible to keep the technology competitive.
I’m extremely proud of what we achieved with Qt over the last 10 years. It happened because everybody on this list put in a lot of work into making Qt one of the best development frameworks on this planet.
Qt is something that I care deeply about. I’ve been with it all the way and through all the ups and downs from when Trolltech got its first larger investment to now. But seeing what you all are doing, I know it’s in very good hands moving forward.

Leaving The Qt Company and in the future spending most of my time outside the Qt ecosystem has been a difficult decision. But in the end, after those 25 years, it does feel very much like the right decision for me. I want to try out something else.
So I will be joining a small Norwegian startup with one of the founders of Trolltech. While still in Software, it’ll be something rather different, not related to C++ or developer tools.

So how do things continue from here?
First of all, I’ll still be working for Qt until my summer vacations at the end of June.
After that, I will have significantly less time for Qt, but I certainly won’t be completely gone. I will continue to read the Qt project mailing lists and maybe come by for events such as the Contributor or World Summit. Also, feel free to send me a mail at any time, I’ll try to help where I can.
I will also keep my position as a maintainer for Qt Multimedia. I believe the module is now in a decent shape, and I should be able to spend some hours per week on it.
But a few hours per week will certainly not be enough to fill the work I’m currently doing for Qt. So, I have decided to resign from my position as the Chief Maintainer of the Qt project. I’ll send more details around this in a separate mail.

I’d like to thank everybody whom I’ve worked with over the years. I’ve made many friends in Qt and through Qt. It’s been a fantastic ride and will always be grateful for the time I could spend on the technology and with the people developing it.
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