[Interest] Qt Creator licensing for companies with Qt, Commercial developers

Francis Herne mail at flherne.uk
Tue Mar 31 20:16:06 CEST 2020

On Tuesday, 31 March 2020 18:02:15 BST Tuukka Turunen wrote:
> Hi,
> I apologise, if I have been unclear with words 'company' and project'. If
> you read the license agreement and faq behind the links I have posted
> multiple times, it should be rather clear what is meant. 
> Yours,
> 	Tuukka

Dear Tukka,

Frankly, I think you're arguing in bad faith here. It's patently obvious from 
every response in this thread that the Qt Company's position is *not* clear to 
anyone outside the company.

The FAQ doesn't address the project/company distinction at all, and linking 
20,000 words of legalese in "answer" to a boolean question is just a refusal 
to give a straight answer.

Having looked through said document, the relevant sections seem to be:

> 1. ... “Prohibited Combination” shall mean any means to (i) use, combine, 
incorporate, link or integrate Licensed Software with any software created 
with or incorporating Open Source Qt, (ii) use Licensed Software for creation 
of any software created with or incorporating Open Source Qt, or (iii) 
incorporate or integrate Applications into a hardware device or product other 
than a Device. ...

Can't use licensed Qt Creator to develop open-source Qt apps; ok.

> 3.4 [viii]: Licensee shall not and shall cause that its Affiliates or 
Contractors shall not use Licensed Software in any Prohibited Combination, 
unless Licensee has received an advance written permission from The Qt Company 
to do so.

Can't use licensed and GPL Qt in the same project; ok.

> Absent such written permission, any and all distribution by the Licensee 
during the Term of a hardware device or product a) which incorporate or 
integrate any part of Licensed Software or Open Source Qt; or b) where the 
main user interface or substantial functionality is provided by software built 
with Licensed Software or Open Source Qt or otherwise depends on the Licensed 
Software or Open Source Qt, shall be considered to be Device distribution 
under this Agreement and shall be dependent on Licensee’s compliance thereof 
(including but not limited to obligation to pay applicable License Fees for 
such distribution).

It's unclear here whether this should be read as "hardware (device or 
product)" or "(hardware device) or product". Could you please clarify the 

Taking the latter, more pessimistic reading there's no project/company 
distinction; any entity licensing Qt can't distribute the GPL version in any 
'product' which I believe would include open-source projects. Hard luck Thiago 
et al!

> Notwithstanding what is provided above in this sub-section (viii), Licensee 
is entitled to use and combine Qt 3D Studio and/or Qt Design Studio with Open 
Source Qt (“Permitted Combination”) for its internal evaluation purposes, 
provided that Licensee shall in no way transfer, publish, disclose, display or 
otherwise make available any software or work resulting from such Permitted 

This exception doesn't cover Qt Creator, and would be in the opposite 
direction to the original question anyway.

So the answer is "no".

In general, the only "clear" policy is that The Qt Company deliberately 
obfuscates the conditions under which the GPL version can be used, to put 
people off exercising the rights that do exist.

This goes along with the general downplaying of, and FUD about, the GPL option 
on the website, and the bizarre retrospective licensing.

It's disrespectful to the outside contributors who've built so much of Qt and 
its ecosystem in exchange for those rights, and doesn't bode well for the 
future of Qt in the free software community.

-Francis H

More information about the Interest mailing list