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Nokia Makes LGPL Version of PyQt 263

Posted by timothy
from the if-not-one-way-then-another dept.
EtaCarinae writes "Nokia didn't succeed in convincing Riverbank to change its licensing terms on PyQt, and so decided to create their own LGPL'ed version of it. From the FAQ at the PySide site: 'Nokia's initial research into Python bindings for Qt involved speaking with Riverbank Computing, the makers of PyQt. We had several discussions with them to see if it was possible to use PyQt to achieve our goals. Unfortunately, a common agreement could not be found , so in the end we decided to proceed with PySide.'"
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Nokia Makes LGPL Version of PyQt

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @04:52AM (#29250099)
    This is especially interesting
    with regard to the mobile platform:

    Both Symbian (the most widely deployed smartphone OS)
    and Maemo (Nokias linux-distribution for high end phones and tablets
    (this is a unix-like OS, unlike android))
    supports python and is working towards using QT as a (the) UI-toolkit,
    so this likely to a major within scripting languages on mobile phones.
  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @05:09AM (#29250141)

    Or isn't the GPL considered open anymore?

    Not if you want to write commercial software on top of it, which is what Nokia wants to enable. Just as they did with releasing Qt under the LGPL.

    It also helps integration if you can get both from the same vendor, and for a project like this, integration is the goal. From now on, you can expect simultaneous and/or bundled releases.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by piquadratCH (749309) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @05:19AM (#29250179)

    Or isn't the GPL considered open anymore?

    Not if you want to write commercial software on top of it, which is what Nokia wants to enable.

    I know the terms of the GPL and LGPL, thank you. I simply think it's unfair to make Riverbank look like the bad guys and Nokia the saviours. Riverbank provided superb Python bindings for a long time and Phil (the guy behind PyQt and Riverbank) offered great support for GPL-users on the mailing list. PySide has a long way to go to offer a comparable experience (just read the blog post on PySide [kdedevelopers.org] of the main PyKDE developer)

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @05:41AM (#29250241)

    I simply think it's unfair to make Riverbank look like the bad guys and Nokia the saviours.

    Nobody wants to make Riverbank look bad. However, Nokia is doing something bigger now: they're gathering all the little pieces you previously needed to find yourself (MinGW, Qt, an IDE, and now PyQT), bundling them up, and releasing them as one package. Open Source GUI programming on Windows has literally never been easier.

    My next phone is going to be a Nokia. They deserve it.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @05:58AM (#29250277)

    Now drop the MOC from QT and everybody might consider your platform.

    Eh? Moc is crucial for tiny little features like signals and slots (and through that, the event system, and basically everything you want to do with an event-based application). It's the main selling point for Qt. Dropping it would require a complete rewrite, with perhaps QString being the only class that doesn't use it.

    Besides, "their platform" already knows about it, and it's completely transparent unless you write your Makefiles by hand.

  • by ZorbaTHut (126196) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @06:00AM (#29250289) Homepage

    Applications gravitate towards being perfectly open-source. He's right. They do. If there's a closed-source app, eventually someone's going to sit down and clone it to be open-source. They'll do it because they need a version that they can access the source code for, and they'll do it because they're not willing to pay the license fees, and they'll do it because, hey, we went to all this work, why not let other people use it?

    He's right.

    But the license that code gravitates towards isn't the GPL.

    The GPL is restrictive. The GPL is - in some senses - closed, rather than open. The GPL cannot be used for all purposes.

    The license code gravitates towards is the BSD license. The MIT license. The libpng/zlib license. The license that says, in brief, "Hey. Here's some code. Don't sue us. Have fun."

    Because every software package - every software package - is pushed by that same force, that force that says "I need software with specific allowances, and if I cannot find it, I will make it." And the GPL does not allow everything.

    The GPL is a fantastic, amazing license. I've licensed code under it, and I'm glad it exists.

    But it's a midpoint - not an endpoint.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @06:26AM (#29250365)

    I've never worked on Qt, but doesn't the boost signals2 library now offer a superior signals and slots implementation in standard C++? Or does Qt depend on some features not available in the boost signals2 library?

    Of course rewriting Qt to use another would be a monumental undertaking and it's probably not worth it merely to improve compatibility with other libraries and toolchains. Nokia seems to agree that can get much more developer mindshare by offering Python bindings.

  • Re:multiplatform? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by summner (735993) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @06:42AM (#29250423)
    umm it's open source. You want it to be better ? Contribute ! :]
    Nokia is probably focusing right now on the Linux implementation because they want to use it in Linux.
    So you know, implementations doesn't just happen by them selves, they need man-hours. So Man-Up and give it to them. But don't whine.
  • by mustafap (452510) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @06:54AM (#29250451) Homepage

    >The only "freedom" it removes is the freedom to harm the freedoms of other users of the software, much like the law restricts your freedom to stab me in the face.

    Except that restricting my freedom to "stab you in the face" isn't going to upset many people. But restricting the abilities of companies to develop products that the vast majority of us would like them to make, is.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cowbutt (21077) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @06:55AM (#29250453) Journal

    PyQT also has a commercial license. You're just being a freeloading leech right now.

    The availability of commercial licenses for PyQt show that Riverbank has no philosophical objection to people writing and distributing GPL-incompatible code that uses it, but they'd like some money for that use (which is fair enough; they're the authors after all).

    Now, Nokia seems to be standardising on Maemo/Qt for their future phones, and part of that is that they'd like to build a viable application marketplace for their phones, a la the iPhone. Keeping it free (gratis) to develop for their platform will encourage developers, which suits their goals. Presumably after asking nicely, they also offered Riverbank some cash or equivalent, at least equal to the costs they eventually incurred in developing PySide. Presumably Riverbank didn't think that was enough, and decline (which is still their perogative).

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:0, Insightful)

    by sulfide (1382739) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @07:20AM (#29250521)
    We shouldn't have to pay for a gui toolkit/framework/whatever in 2009 especially if we want to write proprietary code in it. I give Nokia much credit, I had to use GTK for these purposes before, now I can use something a bit more sane.
  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jurily (900488) <jurily@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @07:20AM (#29250523)

    You're just being a freeloading leech right now.

    Dude, they're bindings from one third-party platform to another. How is it leeching to suggest that a license fully compatible with both of these is a good thing?

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @07:39AM (#29250585)

    But it's essential that we retain almost-1:1 C++ mapping

    Why? I see no point, Python and C++ are two vastly different languages. It's essential that all the capabilities of Qt are exposed, but not necessarily in the exact same form. (ie. fields vs setters/getters, signal/slot objects vs signal/slot strings).

    making your skills & docs directly transferrable

    Python bindings should be designed to accommodate Python programmers, not C++ programmers.

    Anyway, the new signal/slot binding seems nice and indeed what I have been thinking of.

  • by salted-fry (1625847) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @07:51AM (#29250631)
    He's not confusing anything. This story is about Nokia rewriting a GPL library and using the LGPL for the rewrite. His comment about software becoming progressively free-er is entirely relevant.
  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FooBarWidget (556006) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @08:03AM (#29250657)

    "especially if we want to write proprietary code in it"? So you want to make money off someone else's product without ever having to pay him a penny, and you think that's ok? Wow. Just... wow.

    It's 2009 and we shouldn't have to pay for whatever proprietary software it is that you're writing.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FooBarWidget (556006) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @08:11AM (#29250691)

    It's leeching because apparently you want to make money off someone else's work without ever having to pay him. After reading your post it's painfully obvious that you only care about it being gratis, not about it being open source.

  • by nstlgc (945418) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @08:43AM (#29250827)
    "Shatter his masturbatory fantasies" ? "freedom to stab you in the face" ? "utterly absurd" ? "outright lying" ? "understatement of the millennium [sic]" ? You and your silly hyperbole are poster child for the entire GPL generation.
  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @08:56AM (#29250887)

    Nokia excels at making cheap uncomplicated phones for making phone calls, with good battery life and so forth. From the 3310 onwards, they ruled that segment as far as I am concerned.

    Can't speak to their wizbang do it all offerings though.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultrabot (200914) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @09:10AM (#29250951)

    Python bindings should be designed to accommodate Python programmers, not C++ programmers.

    I don't think we really want a big divide between Python and C++ programmers. The programming model of C++ Qt programming is not fundamentally broken, so it's not something that needs to be fixed more than what was already done. I'd like to see future breed of Qt programmers proficient wth both C++ and Python, not one over the other (Python isn't "dumb man's c++", it's "busy man's C++"). Both have their place.

    Any friendly additions for python programmers can be done over the existing "raw" binding.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @09:47AM (#29251115)

    Writing good wrappers isn't trivial. If what they did was trivial, someone would come along, redo it, and put them out of business. Turns out that, for a long time, their work was worth paying for. It took a company as big as Nokia, with a vested interest, to decide it was better for them to do it themselves.

    It's not like you NEED PyQT to use QT.

  • Re:Size and speed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chrb (1083577) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:19AM (#29251313)

    I can't see why I would use PySide

    Because you won't have a choice if you want to develop for Nokia phones. Nokia will ship PySide as part of the base install and it will be used by their Maemo GUI. Nokia isn't interested in competing with PyQt for that £350 of developer cash - they're interested in shipping millions of QT based Maemo phones with an app store that supports Python applications.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eponymous Coward (6097) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:31AM (#29251379)

    How do you know they wanted it for free? Perhaps this has been discussed somewhere, but I don't think the details of the discussion have been made public.

    It seems to me that this is exactly what happened years ago before Qt was GPL'd. People were unhappy with the terms of the Qt license and so they made GTK. In the end, I think we are all better off and I have no reason to suspect differently this time. Competition is good.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:33AM (#29251387)
    POV, also MOC makes you dependent on Trolltechs toolchain, namely QMake and Qt-Creator, not everybody love those tools, especially when compared to Microsoft's or even KDevelop offerings. Has the QtCreator got any class view already ? The build speed is terrible, even using QtCreator (I tested some early one) the build process took ages using normal 1.5GHz notebook, not everybody has oveclocked 4GHz-Alienware-rig to work on, MOC only slows down already slow build process. Who needs another preprocessor? especially when C++ has one of the most powerful and advanced preprocessors already.
  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:58PM (#29252419) Journal

    Insightful post! QT wouldn't be where it is without the income it made licensing software, but at the same time, it couldn't dominate because of the license fees. I think Nokia has the kind of deep pockets to really put QT development on track. I think development will accelerate. Of course, I made my bet, and chose QT 4.5 for my company's next product, so now I have a vested interest in QT winning. Further, I'm learning QT, which I feel is about as hard as learning a foreign language (that is, to learn all of QT). By choosing this skill for myself rather than GTK+ or wxWindows, I force myself into a position with a strong vested interest in QT's domination.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:4, Insightful)

    by berj (754323) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:01PM (#29252451)

    I looked at Qt for internal software development at my company. In the end we chose WxWidgets. It was a pain in the ass for years.. but we did it because I wasn't interested in feeding Trolltech's cockamamie pricing scheme. One license per (named) developer per platform? Can only change developers once every 6 months? Ridiculous. We employ co-op programmers who come and go every 4 months. Simply not workable.

    I asked more than once for them to sell the product as a package.. a site license or something pro-rated based on the number of developers (1-5, 5-10, whatever).. I also asked them to simply offer a paid yearly support contract which I would gladly buy since our biggest complaint with Wx was the lack of support. No across the board from Trolltech.

    So.. we found an alternative.. a free one, as it happens.. but money wasn't the issue.

    For the kind of small-scale internal commercial development we do Trolltech's business model was not workable.

  • by speedtux (1307149) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:18PM (#29252621)

    He is "confusing" it in the sense of using Nokia's GPL-to-LGPL change in order to argue that the "end point" is a BSD/MIT/Apache license. In fact, I would argue that the natural "end point" for licenses is the LGPL, not the BSD license. There are good reasons to rewrite a GPL'ed library in LGPL or Apache form (I have done that myself). But people don't usually rewrite LGPL libraries under BSD/MIT/Apache form, and if they do, there is no reason to believe that the BSD/MIT/Apache version is going to be more successful than the LGPL form. Actually, BSD/MIT/Apache has potential problems from the point of view of long-term sustainability.

    The error in his and your reasoning is to view licenses along a 1D continuum and to conclude that because it moves a little in one direction, it will move further. But the 1D view and the assumption of continued motion along it are fiction; there is no evidence for it.

  • Re:Kudos to Nokia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @03:55PM (#29253943) Homepage

    A bit like Microsoft, yes. But MS would've been more like "Sell/give us your technology for next-to-nothing, or we'll buy someone else's inferior competing software, market the fuck out of it, and ruin you."

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