[Interest] Digia to acquire Qt from Nokia

Konrad Rosenbaum konrad at silmor.de
Wed Aug 15 11:01:41 CEST 2012


On Tuesday 14 August 2012 17:47:37 Atlant Schmidt wrote:
> Chuck:
> > Adding LGPL as a license option had an enormous impact on
> > the commercial business but it also grew the number of users
> > by an order of magnitude over the same time period.
>   But all of those new LGPL users were *NOT* paying to
>   use Qt (except for those that bought support contracts).

Correct, but that does not matter!

>   An enormous-but-non-paying user base still supports
>   my argument that going FOSS decreases the commercial
>   value of a software property.

Wrong: it decreases the direct sales value, but hugely increases the use value 
and with that the indirect sales value.

Whether this is a problem or a desired outcome depends on your business model: 
do you sell software and then forget about it (like Microsoft, Adobe, etc.) or 
do you offer paid support (the other nine tenth of the industry)?

See "The Magic Cauldron"[1], specifically section 9 [2].

You'll find Nokias business model in regards to Qt under "Widget Frosting" 
(make Nokia phones more attractive for developers) and Trolltechs and Digias 
under "Give Away the Recipe, Open a Restaurant" (grow a user base, then 
extract money by being better at supporting it than anybody else could hope to 

Even if a lot of commercial licensees went LGPL, many of them still need 
support of some kind. So it's not a complete loss - it is just a shift in 
business models.

LGPL'ing Qt also opened a major backdoor for it: you can safely introduce it 
in any project where there are no major reasons against it. Eventually this 
will generate some support income that would otherwise have been spent on 
another framework vendor.

[1] http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/magic-cauldron/
[2] http://www.catb.org/esr/writings/homesteading/magic-cauldron/ar01s09.html

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