Qt 3 and 4 licensed under GPLv3

I know this information is in Trolltech's frontpage right now, but I'm told some people prefer to stay informed by reading blogs, so I oblige. Apparently newspapers, telecasts, press releases are a thing of the past... when was the last time you tuned to the news on the radio anyways? (Hmm... do you even have a radio?)

The headline is "Trolltech’s Qt to be licensed under the GPL v3," which was announced by our CEO, Haavard Nord, during the KDE 4.0 Release Event, in Mountain View. Even Richard Stallman, president of the FSF and pointman in the efforts to update the license, has commented. Aside from the fortunate timing reason, we chose this time to make the announcement because it shows our commitment to Free Software. And what better time than the celebration of the release of probably the largest open source project there is?

This has been a long process, actually. Ever since the Free Software Foundation announced the final version of the General Public License version 3 text in late June last year, we have been receiving queries from several different parts of the community about if and when we would release Qt under that license. So for the past week, after Trolltech's management approved the move, I have been working on updating the Qt 3 and 4 packages.

So now the packages are out. You can download the Qt 3.3.8b packages from our servers right now, as well as an update to the Qt 4.3.4 and 4.4.0 snapshots containing the license. Qt 3.3.8b is a simple relicensing of the 3.3.8 release: it contains no new features or bug fixes. It also does not change our support policy towards Qt 3. This release includes only the free Qt 3 packages -- that is, Qt/X11, Qt/Mac and Qt/Embedded -- because they are the only ones affected.

As for the Qt 4 series, we are not making any special release at this moment. Our snapshots are updated, so all the early adopters can start using the new license if they want to. The upcoming Qt 4.4.0 beta 1 and Qt 4.3.4 releases will be the first ones to actually be under the GPLv3 license.

For clients and users who are somehow constrained to the GPLv2, nothing changes. Qt is now a triple-licensed toolkit: commercial, GPL version 2 and GPL version 3 (technically, the X11 version is even quadruple-licensed). In the Open Source version, you get to choose which one you want to apply to your code. And if neither option is suitable for your needs, there's always the commercial alternative.

One other thing I would like to point out is the fact that we are "future-proofing" it. The new license headers say specifically that you may:

(at your option) use any later version of the GNU General Public License if such license has been publicly approved by Trolltech ASA (or its successors, if any) and the KDE Free Qt Foundation.

(For those of you who don't know what it is, the KDE Free Qt Foundation is what we call a "poison pill" for Trolltech: should we ever stop releasing open source versions of Qt, the foundation is given the right to unilaterally release the last version of Qt under the BSD license.)

And a note to our commercial clients: we have not forgotten about you. Besides the Qt source code release that the open source community gets, you also get a few extra features, like more database drivers. And, most certainly, you get priority attention from our team of support engineers, who work to help you solve your problems.

PS: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. I may have understood some facts incorrectly, so do not take my blogs as advice of any kind. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this, right?

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