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Qt offering changes 2020

Much is happening around Qt these days: We have just opened the Qt Marketplace, released a new MCU offering as well as Qt 5.14, and the Design Studio is developing rapidly.

To support the continuous growth that’s required to keep Qt as a development platform relevant, we need to make changes to our offering:

  • Installation of Qt binaries will require a Qt Account 
  • Long-term-supported (LTS) releases and the offline installer will become available to commercial licensees only
  • New Qt offering for start-ups and small businesses for $499/year

These changes will not have any effect on existing commercial licensing or services agreements.

General Qt Account requirement

Since the Qt Account was introduced, the amount of registered Qt accounts has been growing steadily up to almost one million, today.

From February onward, everyone, including open-source Qt users, will require valid Qt accounts to download Qt binary packages. We changed this because we think that a Qt account lets you make the best use of our services and contribute to Qt as an open-source user.

We want open-source users to help improve Qt in one form or another, be that through bug reports, forums, code reviews, or similar. These are currently only accessible from a Qt account, which is why having one will become mandatory.

A Qt account also gives users access to the Qt Marketplace, which offers opportunities to acquire from and distribute plugins throughout the entire Qt ecosystem from one centralized platform.

It also allows us to initiate a dialogue with commercial companies who mostly work with open-source versions of Qt.

Note that source packages will still be available without a Qt account.

LTS and offline installer to become commercial-only

Starting with Qt 5.15, long term support (LTS) will only be available to commercial customers. This means open-source users will receive patch-level releases of 5.15 until the next minor release will become available. This means that we will handle Qt 5.15 in the same way as e.g. 5.13 or 5.14 for open source users.

If there are issues that would prevent the use of the latest release, there will be patches available even if we do not create new full patch releases for that version anymore.

We are making this change to encourage open-source users to quickly adopt new versions. This helps maximize the feedback we can get form the community and to emphasize the commercial support available to those with longer product life cycles that rely on a specific Qt version.

The LTS releases are supported and worked on over a longer period of time, with the goal being stability. This makes the LTS releases the ideal choice for companies who build their livelihood on a specific release and rely on it to run for a long time and as expected. Further benefits are premium support, exclusive development tools, and helpful components and build tools that reduce time-to-market.

Main releases outside the LTS-versions that include new features, tech previews, etc. will, of course, be available for all users.

We are changing our process in R&D to push all bug fixes to the main development branch first, and then backport selected bug fixes back into stable release branches. This process ensures that the latest version of Qt will always contain all bug fixes. This process change was discussed during the last Qt Contributor Summit – we communicate the exact process details when Qt 5.15 will be released. Otherwise, development processes and the governance model will not change.

The offline installer will also become commercial-only. We found that this feature adds utility on a company-wide level, which allows us to make commercial licenses more attractive to enterprises without significantly inconveniencing open-source users.

New start-up/small business Qt offering

Commercial licenses are mostly targeted at companies that will make use of all the exclusive services mentioned above. Passionate Qt users who don’t have the financial backing of a company will still get the latest updates and features to our offering as open-source outside LTS releases for free. Start-ups and small businesses are caught somewhere in between.

We want to support the start-ups and indie developers that are at the heart of innovation, just like Qt almost 25 years ago.  Besides partnering with many start-ups and innovators, helping them get to market faster and lowering their costs, we are also bringing back the start-up/small business edition of Qt. It contains all the benefits of a commercial license but at a low price ($499/year). This price includes the use of the full Qt for Device Creation product, but not any distribution licenses – these need to be agreed separately. It also includes only installation support, whereas a regular commercial license comes with full support.

This offering will be available from our marketplace in Q1/2020 and restricted to companies with an annual revenue or funding below $100.000 and fewer than five employees.

Summary

The Qt Company is committed to the open-source model of providing Qt technology now and in the future and we are investing now more than ever. We believe that these changes are necessary for our business model and the Qt ecosystem as a whole. The role of the community is very important for us, and we want to make sure that we are able to continue investing into it. We are aware that, at first glance, some of these changes may look like a hit to open-source users. Our intention is to make the paid version of Qt more attractive to businesses, and at the same time not take away major functionality from users of the free version. The revenue from the commercial licenses goes into improving Qt for everyone, including open-source users. So, while you may or may not lose a small convenience short-term, we want everyone to gain a lot in the long run!

If you would like an overview of what features are included in which license, please have a look at our interactive product map and find out which solution is right for you.

If you have any questions, please place them in the comment section and refer to our FAQ document on this change.


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