Licensing of new modules in Qt 5.5

With the release of Qt 5.4, we added LGPLv3 as a licensing option to Qt. Some of the new modules released in Qt 5.4 (Qt WebEngine, Qt Canvas3D and Qt WebView) where made available under GPLv2+, LGPLv3 and commercial licensing terms. The reason was that we believe that this license combination is a better match than LGPLv2.1 for our objective of supporting Free Software while at the same time making sure we have the necessary funding to develop Qt further in the years to come. For more details, please check out the blog post from last summer.

Qt 5.5 is now coming closer, and we expect to have the Alpha release for it ready in February. While the focus of Qt 5.5 has been mainly on improving stability and fixing bugs, there will also be a couple of new modules added with the release. As with Qt 5.4, some of this new functionality is available under a LGPLv3/GPLv2+ and commercial licenses.

After discussing and agreeing with the main contributors of the modules in question, the KDE Free Qt Foundation and some of our main stakeholders, we consider this the best way to move forward. The new modules will be available under LGPLv3/GPLv2+ and commercial licensing terms. This allows us to make these modules available to the Free Software community, as well as being able to support and further develop them in the long term. The two new modules that will get added to Qt 5.5 under the new licensing terms are Qt 3D and Qt Location.

Qt 3D existed as part of the Qt Mobility APIs that Nokia did on top of Qt 4.8. Over the last two years, developers from our partner KDAB have put a lot of effort into refactoring the code base and making the API more flexible and suitable for the future. The API is now a powerful tool to integrate 3D content into Qt, featuring both C++ and QML APIs. Check out the series of blog posts from KDAB for more details about the APIs. KDAB endorses and supports to license this module under GPLv2+ and LGPLv3 for the open source version of Qt.

Qt Location is also a module that was part of the Qt Mobility APIs for Qt 4.8. As with Qt 3D it underwent lots of changes moving from Qt 4.8 to Qt 5, and is now also ready to become part of Qt 5. The API works in conjunction with the existing Qt Positioning module providing APIs for mapping, place search and navigation. It also comes with both C++ and QML interfaces.

The Qt Quick Enterprise Controls have so far been only available to commercial licensees. They offer a lot of really useful functionality on top of the regular Controls. With Qt 5.5, The Qt Company is going to contribute these to the open source Qt Quick Controls under LGPLv3/GPLv2+. This will affect the licensing of the Qt Quick Controls, and they will also now be available under LGPLv3, GPLv2+ and commercial terms. In addition to making the existing Enterprise Controls available to the Free Software community, we will also add a couple of new features. Amongst them is a fully functional TreeView, probably one the largest missing feature in Qt Quick Controls for the desktop platforms.

As we move along with releases, we expect to continue to license functionality under LGPLv3/GPLv2+ and commercial terms. It allows The Qt Company to grow its investments into new functionality in Qt and make it available to the Free Software community.

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