[Interest] Digia to acquire Qt from Nokia

Konrad Rosenbaum konrad at silmor.de
Wed Aug 15 16:12:27 CEST 2012

On Wednesday 15 August 2012 14:06:08 you wrote:
> Konrad:
> > Wrong: it decreases the direct sales value, but
> > hugely increases the use value and with that the
> > indirect sales value.
>   And the "indirect sales value" matters not a
>   whit to the owner of the software (or the
>   shareholders of the owner) unless the owner
>   is actively reaping a significant fraction
>   of that "indirect sales value" (which Nokia
>   wasn't).

I disagree, although to be sure you would have to ask ex-Nokia execs for their 
reasons. Support is not the only indirect sales value you can have, it is only 
the most intuitive.

Nokia is not, was not, and will probably never be in the business of selling 
software (unless you call rubber boots "soft wear"). Nokia is (some argue: 
was) in the business of selling mobile phones. Anything that helps Nokia 
increase their phone market share is good for Nokia.

Anything that provides a unified development environment for all Nokia phones 
is a strong incentive for developers to develop apps for those phones (a 
unified environment gives you a bigger user base, hence more profit). The 
number of apps (indirectly: number of developers) for Nokia phones makes those 
phones more attractive to customers. Phone customers tend to buy the phone 
with the most attractive features (availability of apps is one feature, 
battery life and cost are others). And customers chosing Nokia phones means 
profit for Nokia (unless they bundle an X-Box with each one).

In short: by giving away Qt for free Nokia increased its market share and 
profit. (At least until Lumia became more important than market share...)

>   I'm sorry; the FOSS folks have argued for years
>   that they have a workable financial model but
>   I see no evidence that this is true for anything
>   other than individuals and relatively small-scale
>   commercial operations.

Hmm. To name just one that immediately jumps to my mind: I wouldn't call IBM a 
"relatively small operation"... ;-)

...or Oracle (with MySQL, Java and OpenSolaris)

> > 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
>   Unfortunately, as has already been mentioned by several
>   other folks, the fact that a given piece of software is
>   licensed under the terms of the (L)GPL is a huge factor
>   arguing against its use in several industries. The more-
>   open licenses (BSD, MIT, etc.) are free from the large
>   burdens that (L)GPL imposes for disclosure, upgrade-
>   ability, extensive ongoing code analysis, and the like.

You are missing my point: there are only a few areas where you can't use 
(L)GPL. Then there are a lot of paranoid bosses who simply refuse to use 
(L)GPL'ed software although they could, or who make idiotic demands on locking 
down the software. You can use the commercial license of Qt in those cases. 

LGPL helps in a lot of cases where the paranoia level is as low as the 
shoestring R&D budget (this usually correlates, since lawyers are expensive): 
you can start using Qt under LGPL although the application is non-GPL. There 
is a huge class of applications for which the LGPL requirements are not a 
problem (uncritical desktop or phone apps) and another huge class in which you 
give the user the LGPL rights, but tell them that you only support it if they 
keep your version of Qt (production that does not threaten lives if the 
software fails).

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