Open ballot: does Qt have a future?

TuxRadar

Nokia's recent bombshell announcement that it would team up with Microsoft has generated much brow-furrowing in the free software community. The Finnish mobile giant claims that it still plans to launch some kind of MeeGo-related product this year, and that Qt has an important role to play in it. But can we really believe that? Will Qt be alive and healthy 12 months from now, or is it really destined for the dustbin when the Micronokia deal gets into full swing?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast. Unless you call yourself Anonymous Penguin of course, which is so Web 1.0.

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Your comments

Not convinced

Now with the unholy union of Microsoft and Nokia I can't see Nokia investing as much time into QT, not with MS requiring use of their own tool-set for mobile development.

Nokia has done a lot of good things for QT and I really hope that they continue or pass the torch on to someone else who will give it the love and attention it deserves, but if they hold on to it I fear it may wither and die!

One Basket

Any company that places all its goods into one basket deserves to fail; no doubt to be swallowed up by Microsoft. I'm not so sure if the question should have been, will Nokia survive as a separate entity?

With Nokia's share price falling, how long before Microsoft make a takeover bid? (Well they have to get someone to produce Windows mobile phones.)

Did You Mean Nokia?

I think the more interesting question is whether Nokia will still exist. Software is where they can make a difference a phone is really just a phone.. and they've got an aweful lot of competition, how will they differentiate now they will be running someone else's OS especially when MS have fairly strict branding requirements.

Thankfully QT has the GPL to protect it so at worst it will still be as good as it is now and KDE could essentially fork it for their own should the central repos disappear. I'm not sure how QT will fair when it's not a central part of the MS strategy but can hope they survive and do well. They at least have the advantage of having excellent portability to multiple OSes.

@graham RSS feed never worked for me till I wiped my Amarok dot files. I'm sure there's a thoroughly exciting project for someone to sift through the settings to find the bug but I can't be bothered :s

Yeah

I reckon it does. Qt is more than just the (smart) mobile platforms; there are cross-platform applications that put Qt to good use (e.g. Guitar Pro, just off the top of my head), especially in the Linux platform which is soon to include and plethora of tablets and the like. I can't remember (or be arsed to look) if Qt runs on non-smart phones devices. There are still a lot of handsets Nokia churn out that aren't in the smart phone band.

I think it has a larger chance of surviving than Microsoft scaling Windows 7 and the .Net framework to fit.

long live...

Qt's quality is unquestionable but Nokia lost of interest in Megoo and the association with Microsof steals from Qt all those new comers who where hoping to learn Qt for their mobile development in Nokia ecosystem (that is still very sgnificant) and push them to .Net. I think Qt will stay were it was before Nokia bought it and that, is not good. To stale is to drop to death.

The end of QT as we know

l think it's a matter of time the death of QT. We, users and developers, are the only hope to prevent that dark vision of future. See the case Netbeans x Ruby for exemplo.

It will be forked before the

It will be forked before the end of the year. The only real question left is what it will be called.

Qute, Que-Tea, Who Cares?

Never bothered to learn how to say it, thankfully (that would now have been a waste of three seconds of my life). KDE sunk any interest I had in QT with their "Software Compilation." As Kirk said of the Klingons, "Let them die." xfce forever!

QT is more than Meego and more widespread than Nokia

QT is a great cross-platform development toolkit, and thanks to heavy investment by Nokia it has stretched from desktop to mobile. It is LGPL and its (quite amazing) technology is good for a myriad of use-cases not just for Nokia's mobile strategy.

New technologies like QML are hot stuff - it brings native cross-platform (desktop and mobile) development to within the skill set of a much broader range of developers (web developers).

Everyone is talking about Nokia's change of focus with regards to Meego, but don't forget that Intel are still betting their mobile future on it. Intel are desperate to get a place in the mobile market. They have clout, cash and resources which are being heavily invested in both software and silicon - Meego and QT are central to the software side of things and this hasn't changed just because of Nokia.

...don't believe Intel can make something of it? well let's just wait and see.

Of course that's not all, there is KDE, Ubuntu's new support for QT apps, and popular desktop programs like VirtualBox, Maya, Google Earth, Skype, Scribus, Rosegarden, VLC player, etc.

Nokia may be talking-up the Microsoft deal at the moment, but they can't afford to put all their eggs in one basket. Nokia's continued investment in both QT and Meego will be essential for their survival (but even if they don't Meego and QT will survive - and flourish).

Qt's future?

I can't see MS wanting to have QT apps on their phones. Whether Nokia will see Qt as a money-spinning venture that they can continue to benefit from outside of the mobile market is un-known. Was it profitable as Trolltech? would Nokia allow it to spin off or offer a management buyout? No idea.

This is where I think the wisdom of the GPL (and many of the other free licences) safeguards the value of the software for the community. Let's not forget that Gnome was started because Qt at that time was not free and vulnerable to exactly what has happened to Trolltech! I think Stallman does make a lot of sense - his view is so far into the future that it is not always easy to appreciate it!

Thank goodness Qt was GPL'ed. I am a KDE user and KDE is safe, even if at worse case they have to fork to keep the freedom. There were talked to combine KDE and Qt libraries just recently so I can't see a threat to KDE here.

Symbian on the the other hand...

Haiku Answer

It Will Die Die Die
A slow painful death, next year
It will Die Die Die

Qt is more than Nokia, will never die

There is an established set of companies and projects using QT for cross-platform development, names like Autodesk, Google, Adobe, Skype, the European Space Agency, VLC, Samsung, Philips, Panasonic, Oracle... they will not switch tomorrow, probably ever. Buying Qt out of Nokia would cost them less than they'd spend trying to switch; Big Rewrites are incredibly risky and painful and offer very little guarantee of final success... just look at Maemo/MeeGo, which was originally meant as a Big Rewrite to replace Symbian.

So no, Qt will not die, I bet it won't even be forked. In the worst scenario, Nokia will simply spin it off and we'll be back to the good old Trolltech days.

The big loss is really a matter of projections; we were all waiting for Qt to become at least as mainstream as Objective-C, and instead it will probably remain the niche it's always been: a slightly obscure C++ toolkit which is great for cross-platform (mostly Linux) desktop development.

I imagine qt will be forked

I imagine qt will be forked into some stupidly named project that no one can pronounce. Then again, qt isn't easy to know how to pronounce either, considering it looks like 'QT' when it's 'cute'. Maybe they can fork it into 'cute', actually spelt correctly (maybe QT is how you spell it in Finnish...), maybe it'll be called 'ugly' or 'bvirfj' but I digress.

This move will damage QT's development speed, it will damage KDE's development speed, it will damage people's perception of QT as a future platform but QT isn't going away, maybe everyone will start using 'bvirfj', maybe Finland's economy will crash, this isn't a GOOD thing, but it might not be particularly damaging.

I think we have to look to what happened to OpenOffice and Open Solaris because although it's not the same situation as Oracle/Sun, it's effects should be similar, Nokia's prioritys have changed, Elop is CEO, many are leaving Nokia or being fired because of this new direction, projects will suffer, QT and Maego included (Maego less so due to Intel's involvement, hey, maybe intel will devote more time to QT, but I can't personally see that happening.)

Hullo!

Windows 8 will be based on QT. And so will Graham's hair.

In a perfect world ...

Never mind Nokia and QT, it's MS who have missed the boat, again! I can't believe how many times they have done it, it's not-invented-here syndrome gone mad. They could have directly acquired all of Novell (rather than just a few of its patents via CPTN) then publicly repented for their crimes against computing before putting all their software patents into the public domain, consigning windows to the dustbin of OS history and aggressively promoting openSUSE as THE OS for PC manufacturers to preinstall on their wares - free of charge and with the latest KDE4 set as the default desktop. I mean, no-one does KDE like openSUSE do. Then the world could finally enjoy all that Linux-based GNU FLOSS goodness and QT's future would be assured. And if the punters didn't like it, they could start again with kayZOOedubuntoo (the majestic mojito release) or PCFedBianArchOS, everyone is happy. What mugs they are...

QT and KDE will become indistinguishable... if!

Nokia is in a bad position. They're looking to become the only handset manufacturer with a single smart-OS (except for Apple, which controls both handset and OS). They're putting all their eggs in one basket, which means that they'll be lucky to get much space on the shelf in phone stores.

If Nokia wants to maintain a position in the smartphone market, rather than just the featurephone sphere, they'll need to diversify their OS offerings. Essentially, if Nokia wants to survive, they *have* to keep QT going.

However! Should Nokia let QT go, then I don't see much of an immediate future for it outside of KDE. Yes, there are various apps on various platforms that use QT, but my guess is that the KDE team will take over QT, and that in the long-term, it'll become part of KDE. That is, QT and KDE will become indistinguishable to most people.

Sadly I think...

Sadly I think QT is going to die a slow death. I really don't see Nokia doing anything with it in the future. Now that Meego is on the back burner for them, as well as Maemo gone. R.I.P. QT. 1992 to 201x

KueTee

It will be forked by the KDE people under the name 'KueTee'

Ok who has not done there homework here

KDE and Nokia both have equal rights to Qt future.

The question should be fork or not to fork.

Meego still has full backing of Intel and a few major car makers as well. So its not in that much trouble.

What a funny question

How could QT die when we all use it every time we configure our linux kernels (with make xconfig).

No, I don't think so

I think microsoft would be stupid to throw away such a technology. It may be the case that it'll be backbenched for a while, but I definitely don't think we've seen the end of it.
Hey, someone could always fork it!

yeah right....

as much chance as Nokia picking win phone 7 for their mobile OS!
Pah! you dont know what u talking about...

Not on Nokias

This is my prediction, could be wrong, of course: If Nokia will advertise open software support, it will at best be a system where it's up to the user to install and maintain it as a 3rd party option. Much like store bought PCs which come pre-installed with Windows. The user experience suffers due to the main focus of the hardware being around MS software, same as with store bought PCs.

If that happens, it's not good enough. MS will take the credit for Nokia sales.

not much

I predicted the death of QT when Trolltech was sold to Nokia.

Writing is on the wall for QT and GTK seems more beautiful everyday !

Micronokia?

I think you'll find the appropriate name for this alliance is NoWin!

Qt is the future

The thing I just said. ^^

The age old question...

For all the bluster around MS and so many witty $ for S replacements, in short their smartphone offerings are just $hit. So for one of the largest manufacturers of mobile phones to choose a crappy OS over something that might cost more in R & D, is just a bad choice. I'm guessing smartphones are a small percentage of the total mobile market, so no, not the death of nokia. The death of Qt? Not whilst it's under the GPL and it's useful.

And another thing...

I know this has little relation to the topic but I need to get it off my chest. Since I started using computers (my first was a BBC B) I've been excited about major OS upgrades and new software from all the platforms I've invested in, Apple, Linux, even my basic phones but of the decade I was a Microsoft user I felt each upgrade was more like a computing tax to make sure I could open files I was emailed.

I'll keep my iPhone ;)

Qt won't die - it may get forked though

Qt is just too prominent now, and the number of apps (VLC, MusicBrainz picard), even games (anyone heard of Rift?) have a Qt backend.

QT? Hangin' on in there

Personally I think QT will live on - as folks have pointed out there's too many other projects using it, so there's a groundswell of "fans".

Remember that just because Nokia's sold their soul on _one product line_ to go WinBone doesn't mean that they're going to become a division of Microsoft. Nokia make a shedload more products than merely smartphones - and there's precedent, after all no-one's forecasting the demise of Apple after the fiasco that was the iPhone4.

Got to say that I think it really depends what Intel do with Meego - whether they continue with it (which I hope - it's actually quite good) or drop it - and also whether KDE decide to continue with it (got to say that they'd be mad to sign up for major re-engineering)

Unlike Sun's rape and murder by Oracle (the latter being LuciferSoft as far as I'm concerned) NokiaSoft is merely a _partnership_ on one product line. Just as long as Elop doesn't do a Mark Hurd and destroy Nokia's R&D divisions.

Still wish that Nokia had signed up for Android ... :'(

Still wish that Nokia had signed up for Android ... :'(

Android is GNU-Linux. Having worked in Redmond and seen the fear to say the least of Linux based products, Microsoft has now two choices: fight it, or join it.

The fight against Linux is now over, and it is pretty much like Bernard de Clervaux crusade to Constantinople a fiasco, and GNU Linux emerges as the great winner from the low end, to big platforms: quite a feast, when you prefer David over Goliath.

So it may be time for the Redmond big company to ¨join the GNU/Linux force¨. That would be wise, but human nature is not exactly often wise, and the Redmond company may prefer to keep alive a failing OS rather than joining the winner.

What will Qt be in all of this?
Here I like many of the comments expressed here, but my crystal ball firmware is being updated, so I just cannot endeavor in any valid predictions.

Jeffersonian

Android still can have some fair competition.

Microsoft may have tried to kill Qt, as a threat, but this is not so clear.

Not to mention inside mediocrity, What is the real threat to Microsoft hegemony is the openness of Linux and derivatives like Android, Meego, and even Java.

Microsoft have never been able to successfully sell Windows CE for the ARM platform, one reason being in my view the internal dominance of the ¨Windows caste¨ in Redmond.

Like in the old IBM, they stifle (and really hate!) innovation and things they do not understand or dominate.
The NIH (not invented here) is nothing new, and Microsoft is no exception.

What puzzles me is that a company like Nokia, went for it, at the risk of undermining its currents projects, and engineering morale: the decisions makers may not understand software...

Jeffersonian.

Kt ftw

Kt ftw

Long live GTK/GNOME QT/KDE

Long live GTK/GNOME QT/KDE is dead :)

I have been coding with Qt

I have been coding with Qt for about six years now - all I can say that it gets better and better.
They added lots of mobile stuff lately and now they will modularize it - since Qt build quite monstrous since then.

Still the best library to work with.

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