[kde-community] How Qt will stay Free; License update

Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer ojschmidt at kde.org
Wed Jan 13 22:07:19 UTC 2016

Dear KDE fellows,

today we were able to announce a revised agreement between the KDE Free Qt Foundation 
and The Qt Company:

I am one of the two KDE people on the KDE Free Qt Foundation:

Since not everyone will be familiar with the foundation, I am adding a bit of background here.

The KDE Free Qt Foundation is a legal entity, set up by KDE e.V. and Trolltech, the company 
originally developing Qt. It aims to safeguard the
availability of Qt as Free Software and already fulfilled an important role.
Trolltech was bought by Nokia, who sold Qt later to Digia. Digia then
transferred Qt to a sister-company “The Qt Company”. The contracts stayed
valid during all these transitions.

The new agreement announced today means *major improvements* for us(more platforms; 
more Free Qt modules; inclusion of Qt Project; many small details).

The agreement also comes with a change to the *licensing rules* of Qt.
We have carefully checked them to ensure that all existing Free Software developers can 
continue with their Qt usage, and that the changes for authors of proprietary software are also 

I would like to highlight three details:

1. Qt now uses GPLv2+/LGPLv3, but no longer LGPLv2.1. It is legally possible to use both in the 
same application, so our Frameworks can still be used.
2. Compatibility with GPLv2 will be kept for all functionality currently in Qt, and for the core part 
of Qt (Essentials) and for the Applications inside Qt.

3. We now allow that completely new Qt add-ons can be licensed under GPLv3 only. The 
alternative would have been to keep those separately from Qt, since they have a dependency 
to the Apache license (which is compatible with GPLv3, but not with GPLv2). We decided to have 
more functionality available as Free Software for those who can use it.

The new agreement follows nearly two years of negotiations, with intensive scrutiny by KDE 
e.V. members and a helpful review by our lawyer, Till Jaeger.

I am very happy that we have finally concluded this.

Best regards, Olaf

[1] https://dot.kde.org/2016/01/13/qt-guaranteed-stay-free-and-open-%E2%80%93-legal-update
[2] https://www.kde.org/community/whatiskde/kdefreeqtfoundation.php
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