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Nokia Adds Free Licenses For Qt Platform

By moving to a Lesser General Public License for Qt, Nokia is hoping to lower the barrier of entry and spur the adoption rate with the open source community.
In a move to boost its developer ecosystem, Nokia said Wednesday it would offer its Qt user interface and application framework under the Lesser General Public License.

Qt is a cross-platform framework based on C++ that can be used to build applications and frameworks for computers, set-top boxes, and mobile phones. It enables developers to write programs for multiple platforms with minimal adjustments for a specific platform. It's offered by Nokia-owned Qt Software, and cross-platform applications that use Qt include Google Earth, Last.fm, Opera, and Skype.

The toolkit previously had been available under the General Public License, as well as a commercial license. Nokia said the move to LGPL was meant to lower the barrier of entry, as well as boost adoption rate.

"Nokia is making significant contributions to open source communities through ongoing work with Qt, its contribution of Symbian OS and S60 to the Symbian Foundation, and open development of the Maemo platform," said Kai Oistamo, Nokia's executive VP of devices, in a statement. "By moving to LGPL, opening Qt's source code repositories, and encouraging more contributions, Qt users will have more of a stake in the development of Qt, which will in turn encourage wider adoption."

On the Qt blog, the company said it would take multiple steps to make Qt more friendly with the open source software community. It will be opening up the Qt source code repository, employing more developers, reducing the overhead needed to make a submission, and launching a new Web infrastructure to support contributions.

The company said the LGPL license will be available with the release of Qt 4.5, which is scheduled for March. The 4.5 version also will include better support for WebKit and performance improvements. Previous versions of Qt would not be affected by this move.