[Interest] Indie Mobil Program terminated?

Attila Csipa qt at csipa.in.rs
Sat Jul 11 11:04:12 CEST 2015

Disclaimer: I don't work or speak for the Qt company. I work(ed) for 
companies using the commercial license.

The problem, as I understood it, was that this majority of Qt developers 
you mention never materialized or went for the indie license. The sales 
suggestion we got indicated that people either used the (L)GPL license 
(legally or not), or went for the "big" commercial one. In retrospect, I 
feel an indie license was something that everybody treated as "I'll buy 
one if my app succeeds" but never did.

Of course, one could argue that it's no extra cost, so it should be 
kept, for PR purposes if nothing else to dampen the price shock of the 
commercial version for prospective developers who now use free tools. 
But there are implications other than the cost of logistics. Doing 
mobile is technically tough, especially the way Qt is doing it, with the 
amount of back-ends (and new OS releases) you need to keep synchronized. 
Having a Qt license helps with your feature/bug requests. What this 
means that this leads to a bit of conflict of interest - serving the 
mainstream mobile developer market is very resource intensive, but 
doesn't generate revenue. Focusing on big customers OTOH allows to have 
good solutions for their use cases and preserves them as paying 
customers. Would then Indie licensees become second-class citizens?

Mobile never was a core area for Qt in the post-Nokia period, and while 
there are good intentions, I'm sure there is a line after which the 
return on investment is really low from a commercial license business 
perspective. Simply put, the core philosophies of Qt are not exactly 
mobile-friendly, and every effort there is an uphill battle (for which 
they are apparently not getting paid enough).

As far as the commercial success of Qt goes, the sad truth is that if 
all these ("potential" customer) developers flocked to competing 
solutions, someone could say (as blunt as it might sound) that they are 
free to not-pay for those solutions as well. I say this specifically as 
these are *commercial* projects we're talking about. These are, by far, 
not FOSS apps that want an exception due to the store license terms, but 
regular apps that (in some form) want to generate income. For Xamarin, 
due to the technical aspects, it's easier to maintain an Indie version 
and there is no conflict of interest with a desktop developer crowd. 
Unity is not really for the same purpose, and Cordova is a very 
different game as well. All the other solutions are a step down for 
someone using Qt in a non-trivial way.

All in all, given the current license numbers hinted, I really feel the 
the existence or lack of a cheap/indie license will not play a major 
role in the success of Qt on mobile.

Best regards,

On 7/10/2015 10:03 PM, John C. Turnbull wrote:
> Well you can continue to discredit all my ideas but the point is that if Qt
> drops the Indie license and makes single developers, small or moderate sized
> businesses pay $350 per month to use Qt, you can pretty much say goodbye to
> the majority of Qt developers and cry tears of blood as they flock to
> competing products.
> Somehow, all Qt developers need to get access to the particular features and
> platforms they need (which may be one or two or every feature, device and
> platform) at a price that they can sustainably afford or they simply won't
> use it.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: interest-bounces+ozemale=ozemail.com.au at qt-project.org
> [mailto:interest-bounces+ozemale=ozemail.com.au at qt-project.org] On Behalf Of
> Thiago Macieira
> Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2015 6:43 AM
> To: interest at qt-project.org
> Subject: Re: [Interest] Indie Mobil Program terminated?
> On Saturday 11 July 2015 05:58:19 John C. Turnbull wrote:
>> That's why you don't charge anywhere near $350/month/developer.
>> That's the whole problem I am trying to solve.  Most indie, small and
>> moderate businesses simply can't afford that.
> But you're not only not solving it, you're making the problem worse by
> including the commercial licence that big companies would use in the mix.
> The price of $350/month/developer is not accidental. There's a huge cost in
> supporting the Qt development and support engineers working for an entire
> year in high cost countries like Germany and Norway.
>> But if you charge them something much, much less for a commercial
>> license and then Qt recoups its costs from a small slice of royalties,
>> everyone is happy!
> Trust me, it's been tried. Big companies like royalties even less than large
> price tags. An upfront cost is something you can budget for. A cost that you
> won't know until you actually ship devices because it depends on a number
> you don't know (the shipment volume) is hard to model.
>> The in-house license would be more expensive per month but would
>> mostly be used by larger corporations.
> Except the larger ones that actually sell software or devices.
> --
> Thiago Macieira - thiago.macieira (AT) intel.com
>    Software Architect - Intel Open Source Technology Center
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