Why GTK+ will prevail, and what needs to be done

Jes Hall jes.hall at kdemail.net
Fri Jan 28 02:03:51 GMT 2005

On Fri, 28 Jan 2005 2:45 pm, Taylor Byrnes wrote:
> First let me say, the following is not supposed to be trolling or
> random KDE bashing, I use KDE everyday and have no complaints about
> it. The following is my view on what will be a problem for it (or at
> least for QT) in the near future. I realise Qt and KDE are not
> inseparable, but lets not create extra work for the developers.
> Linux is growing, it is gaining market share everyday, as it grows
> more and more corporations are paying attention to it. As Linux grows
> and more people begin to use it there will be increasing demand for
> proprietary windows applications to be provided on Linux; and with the
> growing market demands the companies that make those products will be
> forced to port them to Linux.
> When a company is planning or porting an application to Linux one of
> the first things they are going to come across is the choice of a
> widget library (probably Qt or GTK+). The problem that I see here is
> the licensing of the two libraries. Qt is available for free under the
> QPL and GPL, with commercial licenses available for a price; GTK+ is
> available only under the GNU LGPL.
> Both the QPL and GPL have viral clauses in them; any applications that
> uses them must be released under an open source license, a clause the
> LGPL does not have. When the proprietary software company looks, the
> choice for them is obvious: GTK+. Why? For them to use Qt they are
> going to have to either:
> -> Open source their applications; not likely, companies are here for
> profit. I know IBM occasionally does this, but most companies wont do
> this.
> -> Pay for Qt; why bother when GTK+ is free?

I know of quite a few large companies who use QT commercially, all whom have 
paid for licenses. They're quite happy to use non-free software if it does 
what they want it to do. There is also the fact that releasing an application 
as open source doesn't mean you can't sell it. 

Apart from KDE, another point in Qt's favour is it's a far more mature cross 
platform library. Qt mac is really quite good and runs natively,  GTK is 
pretty weak outside of X11. 

Realistically though, if you wanted an unbiased discussion about the wonders 
of GTK this was not the list to choose :)


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