I had some conversations today about Nokia’s purchase of Trolltech, the makers of Qt and Qtopia. From a conversation with Juha Seppa (Director, Devices R&D at Nokia) and an email exchange with Haavard Nord (CEO and founder of Trolltech), I discovered that the relationships of these companies vis-a-vis free software is not expected to change. I assume that Nokia simply wants to ensure the continued funding and unimpeded development of Qt and the other software that has made Trolltech popular on mobile devices.
First of all, Qt and Qtopia will continue to be released under the GPL. An open letter sent by Trolltech and Nokia management to the KDE community says, “We respect the symbiotic relationship Qt has with the community and we wish to continue and enhance this relationship.” Furthermore, “Nokia will apply to become a Patron of KDE.”
However, Nokia’s long-standing support of GNOME will also continue. They have been deploying Maemo on Internet tablets and will continue to do so. One of the big draws of Trolltech, though, was the strong cross-platform support in its software. Nokia currently uses at least three operating systems (Linux, Symbian, and one of their own), so preserving flexibility is crucial.