Qt, Open Source and corona

Till Adam till.adam at kdab.com
Wed Apr 8 13:27:10 BST 2020

Hi Olaf,

thank you for sharing your perspective and for your important work on
the KDE Free Qt Foundation. Some comments inline below. For the
avoidance of doubt, I am speaking here as a representative of KDAB.

On 08/04/2020 12:53, Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer wrote:
> Our goals in negotiations:
> * helping the company increase their revenue without harming the Qt project or 
> the KDE community
> * strengthening the protection of the Qt project and of the KDE community
> * avoiding a parting of ways between The Qt Company and the Qt+KDE communities

All of these, including the first one, are worthy and important goals.

> Concrete areas included in the negotiations are:
> * Fixing the incompatibility between paid Qt license terms and using or 
> contributing to Open Source
> (“Prohibited Combination” in https://www.qt.io/terms-conditions/ )

This is very important for commercial license holders (including KDAB)
who have a grey area of potential breaches of their commercial license
terms through the development or use of Free Software alongside their
commercially licensed use of Qt.

> One setback in the negotiations has been an announcement of The Qt Company in 
> January: https://www.qt.io/blog/qt-offering-changes-2020
> They announced that LTS releases of Qt will only be available for paid license 
> holders. It is still unclear what this implies for contributions to Qt and for 
> the sharing of security fixes between the various parties (including The Qt 
> Company, the many Qt experts contributing, the KDE community, and Linux 
> distributions).

It is very disappointing to us (KDAB) that there has been no further
clarification on this since the announcement.

> But last week, the company suddenly informed both the KDE e.V. board and the 
> KDE Free QT Foundation that the economic outlook caused by the Corona virus 
> puts more pressure on them to increase short-term revenue. As a result, they 
> are thinking about restricting ALL Qt releases to paid license holders for the 
> first 12 months. They are aware that this would mean the end of contributions 
> via Open Governance in practice.

The existance and functioning of the Open Governance model of Qt is
critical to KDAB's business and critical to the continued success of Qt
as a technology and a business. If Qt Company were to delay Free
Software releases by the maximum allowed by the Free Qt Agreement, KDAB
would be prevented from contributing under the Open Governance process
to the Qt Company maintained Qt tree and would thus contribute to,
support and sustain any community-driven Qt repository that follows the
Open Governance process and spirit.

KDAB would also ensure that releases of this repository of Qt, developed
under Open Governance, would be available freely, in source and binary
installer format for the modules and platforms with sufficient interest
to sustain such activities. Additionally, we would work with our
customers and partners as well as the rest of the ecosystem to ensure
that these releases are commercially supported globally for an extended
period of time.

> Obviously, it cannot be in the middle- and long-term health of The Qt Company 
> to separate itself from the very strong Qt + KDE communities.

Obviously not. KDAB has always considered itself, and still considers
itself, a part of both these communities. Their health and sustained
access to Qt under Free Software terms is a corner stone of our business
and our 20 year success. We will protect it as best we can.

> We hope The Qt Company will reconsider. 

We also hope so.

> I invite The Qt Company to stay with us. It will be worthwhile.



Till Adam
Chief Commercial Officer KDAB Group
Managing Director KDAB Germany

KDAB (Deutschland) GmbH, Reuchlinstr. 10/11, 10553 Berlin
Tel: +49 30 521325470

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