Since the web has a tendency to overstate things: no, Nokia is not selling Qt. Today, Nokia announced that Digia will acquire the Qt Commercial software licensing and professional services business from Nokia. So I repeat: Nokia is not selling Qt.
So, what does this all mean? Well, as most of you are probably aware of, Qt works with a dual-licensing model. There’s the open LGPL license, or a commercial one. The commercial variant is required for some niches of the market – medical, aerospace, and defence, for instance – and also entitles the buyer to professional support from Nokia.
It is this aspect of Qt that Nokia is selling. This means that Digia, which employs hundreds of Qt experts and has been serving the Qt community for quite a while now, will from here on out handle all commercial Qt licensing and support systems.
“These professional services are not core business activities for Nokia, so since the introduction of the LGPL license for Qt in 2009 we have been actively working to grow the number of companies providing Qt services,” explains Nokia’s Sebastian Nystrom, head of MeeGo, Qt, and Webkit, “In 2010 we began the search for a company we could work with to serve the commercial licensees in the Qt community.”
It’s Digia’s goal to invest significantly in Qt as a commercial development framework. They aim to target both the desktop and embedded space, and commercial customers will receive support for more hardware than Nokia currently provides, which is always good news.
The deal will be completed by the end of this month, and Nokia’s Qt support team will remain in operation for at least the coming 12 months to ease the transition.