Qt Moving To Commercial-Only LTS
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 11 January 2021

As rumored last year, the Qt Company has announced that now that Qt 6 is released, Qt 5.15 LTS will move to a 'commercial-only' phase.

Qt is a cross-platform application and UI software development framework that lets you create native apps for desktop, embedded or mobile platforms. Qt started life as a widget library written in C+ with bindings to other languages including Python, Rust, Go, Java and JavaScript. Qt's advantages are its wide set of user interface and data visualization modules.

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The announcement of the move to a commercial-only phase said that all the existing 5.15 branches will remain publicly visible, but they are now closed for new commits (and cherry-picks). There are a couple of exceptions, specifically the Qt WebEngine (and the deprecated Qt Script), which have a 3rd party LGPL dependency.

The move was made on 5th January 2021, and from now on the cherry-picks go to another repository that will be available only for the commercial license holders. Commercial license holders will be given access, so that in addition to the official releases they will be able to use these repositories. The first commercial-only Qt 5.15.3 LTS patch release is planned to be released in February.

When the rumors about the move to a commercial-only model surfaced last year, the reason was apparently because of the effect Covid-19 is having on the company finances, meaning they need to increase short-term revenues.

At the time Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer of KDE said:

"They announced that LTS releases of Qt will only be available for paid license holders. It is still unclear what this implies for contributions to Qt and for the sharing of security fixes between the various parties (including The Qt Company, the many Qt experts contributing, the KDE community, and Linux distributions)."

It will be interesting to see whether third party developers will make good their plans to fork Qt now it has gone to a paid model. When the forking plan was discussed, backers included developers of the Qute browser developer and the QGIS project.

The news of the commercial move so soon after the release of Qt 6, when the new version is still bedding in, is seen as provocative, especially for developers who have contributed to fixes for problems with Qt 5.15, and now don't have a public release with the fixes they've worked on. Thiago Macieira of Intel, a long term Qt contributor, has said that he will no longer be participating in fixes or commenting and reviewing on bug reports.

qticon 

More Information

Qt Download Page

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Last Updated ( Monday, 11 January 2021 )