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3/6/2009
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Nokia Releases Open Source Mobile Development Framework

Licensing terms for Nokia's Qt 4.5 apps framework for mobile platforms could make Symbian more competitive with Google's Android.

Nokia has introduced a new version of its development framework that lets open source developers create an application once and deploy it across multiple platforms without having to rewrite it.

Version 4.5 of the company's Qt framework will be sold under the Lesser General Public License (LGPL). This allows cash-strapped developers to sidestep a licensing fee, thereby opening the door for more open source applications to be written for the platform.

Nokia officials continue to stand by their belief that the benefits of building its business around an open source approach outweigh the potential revenue stream it might be able to generate by selling commercial licenses.

The Nokia VP who oversees Qt, Sebastian Nystrm, said the decision surrounding the licensing change was fueled by the company's goal of improving the overall quality of the framework.

He said the company intends to use Qt 4.5 internally for a number of different functions in hopes of positioning it as an updated solution for creating applications for its own Symbian platform.

Company officials said that source code repositories for Qt will be available over the Web and that Nokia pledges to fully cooperate in supporting the open source community under the terms dictated by the LGPL license.

According to at least one analyst, the outstanding difference between Nokia's open source framework and those of competitors, including Google with its Android product, is that it is a cross platform. This means that applications using Qt can work on not just Linux but Windows Mobile devices.

"Open source software can benefit social development organizations, as they can now create noncommercial applications more cheaply," said BMI-TechKnowledge research analyst Ryan Smit in a prepared statement.

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