JAN
28
2008

Nokia Acquiring Trolltech

Today, Nokia and Trolltech announced that Nokia will be purchasing Trolltech. Nokia will continue with Qt's dual license model, which was updated to GPL 3 only last week. In an open letter to KDE, the chief Trolls and Nokia VP asked for ideas and comments on improving their relationship with the open source community. Nokia will be applying to become a patron of KDE e.V. and the FreeQt foundation is being maintained to guarantee the continued freedom of the toolkit KDE depends upon. This change should help ensure both the continued longevity of Qt and KDE as well as give the platform a boost in industry, particularly in the consumer electronics industry.

Comments

"Yes, by OUR standards, the salaries in Romania are poor. By THEIR standards, the salaries Nokia will pay are pretty good. And while that salary wouldn't get them far in Germany or Finland, it will get them VERY far in Romania!"

Will it? Probably not. If they get too rich, they'll stop working or look for better jobs and Nokia will lose the economic advantages; so it's in Nokia's interest to keep those wages low, keep them just-above-starvation, ready to be exploited and tapped at will (better if to put pressure on other countries' salaries).

I'm not saying that globalization is always bad, i'm just trying to tone down your ideology of freetrade a little bit.


By YourAverageJoe at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"Will it? Probably not"

Probably yes. All I need to do is to look at Estonia. Their salaries are a fraction of Finnish salaries, yet they seem to be driving better cars than we are.

"If they get too rich, they'll stop working or look for better jobs and Nokia will lose the economic advantages"

So let me get this straight: you are arguing that if Nokia pays the employees in Romania good salaries, those employees will leave Nokia and look for some other job instead?

O.... K....

Hell, maybe you are right. I too try to find the job with worst salaries. If my employer gives me too much money (those bastards!), I will probably start looking for another job...

"so it's in Nokia's interest to keep those wages low, keep them just-above-starvation"

So, you are basically making the claim that the Nokia-employees in Romania are barely earning enough money to keep them from starving to death?

O.... K....

"i'm just trying to tone down your ideology of freetrade a little bit."

And I'm trying to beat some sense in the heads of those "only jobs for westerners!"-folks....

Seriously: reading some of these comments makes me feel like I have entered the bizarro-world, where keeping people poor is the right thing to do.


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"If they get too rich, they'll stop working or look for better jobs and Nokia will lose the economic advantages"

"So let me get this straight: you are arguing that if Nokia pays the employees in Romania good salaries, those employees will leave Nokia and look for some other job instead?

O.... K.... "

Reply of the week. How can people say that stuff with a straight face?


By AS at Thu, 2008/01/31 - 6:00am

Please do not mind 'Sebhelyesfarku' (aka Scabs-on-his-Dick), I Googled him -- he is just another kakistocratic, coprolalic wanderer of cyberspace, still lives in a tiny room of his mother's dank apartment in Budapest. (see Tarr Béla: Öszi Almanach - The Almanac of Fall)


By Azazello at Mon, 2008/02/04 - 6:00am

I wonder whether there's a company in Germany that's "noble" - pointing at Nokia while hundreds of companies are cashing in and leave is a bit over the top, especially given that Nokia still invests heavily in Germany (BenQ anyone?).


By harryF at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I'm thinking about those 24.000 piss-poor people in Romania who are receiving jobs thanks to Nokia, and who receive a possibility to pull themselves from poverty. Maybe you should think about them as well?

Oh, wait, I forgot: Only workers in rich western countries matter. They are the ones we see in television. People in those distant poor countries do not matter, since they don't stick their faces in front on TV-cameras.

Seriously: People in Romania are people as well. Why do you think that Germans deserve these jobs from Nokia, and not Romanians?


By Janne at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I think that some people here (such as the poster you are replying to) are thinking only of the examples where companies have outsourced to countries with cheap labour and ended up running sweat-shops. Just because a company is outsourcing somewhere where labour is cheaper, doesn't necessarily mean the workers will be treated badly. Until someone can point to actual examples of where Romanian workers are being mistreated by Nokia in this situation, the whole argument is just a little bit misguided.


By Paul Eggleton at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

I think few people got a problem with Nokia building up a factory in Romania. But why does building up a factory in Romania exclude continuing a profitable factory in Bochum? Companies should take social responsibility for their workers. Fact is that Nokia had insane profit margins this year, so they don't need to close factories. They can expand, and it's nice to see that they do it in Romania, but closing down other factories where the workers get higher loans, only to _raise_ their __increase__ in profit is what is subject to criticism (which is justifiable i think).


By blubb__ at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"But why does building up a factory in Romania exclude continuing a profitable factory in Bochum?"

Because then Nokia would have excess supply. And because while Bochum might be profitable, it's still not efficient. Figures released by Nokia state that Bochum represented over 20% of their expenses while only representing 6% of their production. Numbers like that are not healthy.

"Companies should take social responsibility for their workers."

And Nokia has done that: They offered employees of unprofitable television-factory good jobs for years as cell-phone builders. If you look at Bochum and Nokias employees there, you would notice that they are several millions of euros in profit, thanks to Nokia.

"Fact is that Nokia had insane profit margins this year, so they don't need to close factories."

So you believe that if company makes even one cent in profit, they should not close any factories?

Sure, Nokia has no dire NEED to close Bochum. But fact remains that they could do the EXACT same work somewhere else while paying fraction of what they are paying right now.

To compare to your situation: You are probably doing OK in your life, right? Since you are doing OK, then surely you could pay five times as much for your monthly haircut? I mean, it would not bankrupt you, and it would surely benefit the barber, right? Would you? I bet that you would not. You only pay what you need to pay. But even if you were willing to pay extra, then as you spread that mentality to other areas as well, you would suddenly notice that you are not doing so well anymore, since you are wasting money needlessly.

"They can expand, and it's nice to see that they do it in Romania, but closing down other factories where the workers get higher loans, only to _raise_ their __increase__ in profit is what is subject to criticism (which is justifiable i think)."

It's not justifiable. Like it or not, we are not entitled to jobs. Not from Nokia or from anyone else for that matter. When company sets up a factory, they are not required to operate that factory until the end of time.

And like it or not, a purpose of a corporation is to earn profit, period. Corporations are not welfare-organisations. If you want "social responsibility", corporations are the wrong place to turn to. It's the job of the government to look after it's citizens, and even then some people could say that it's the responsibility of each individual to look after themselves. But in any case, calling for care and comfort from the corporations is the absolutely wrong thing to do. If the government want to, they could give the unemployed some kind of "safety-jobs", but demanding that corporations do it instead, is totally wrong.


By Janne at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"Because then Nokia would have excess supply."

How can you know that? And even if so, Nokia could build a factory with a smaller volume in Romania at first, and optionally extend it later on.

"So you believe that if company makes even one cent in profit, they should not close any factories?"

No, I don't, and neither did I say so. I believe that a company which has _such_ a massive profit margin should not close one factory just to build up another one at a different location.

"To compare to your situation: You are probably doing OK in your life, right? Since you are doing OK, then surely you could pay five times as much for your monthly haircut?"

This comparison has a major flaw, because your talking about service supply here, and voluntarily changing from something cheaper to something more expensive. Even in that scenario, the question is wrong. The right question would be: Would you change your barber if anyone else makes you an offer for a cheaper haircut, knowing well that he will have to close down his barbershop? And the answer would be 'No, I wouldn't!". And in this case I'm not even an employer, I'm only accepting a service. As an employer you have more responsibilities to take.


By blubb__ at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

Hello,

really no surprise here, except for the buyer. I may say, I love that the Trolltech management prepared this buyout so well and everybody at Trolltech can be very proud about them. The GPLv3 release, the Webkit moves, etc. it all pays out.

I think it's very good for us that it's Nokia and not e.g. Novell. That's a company that will indeed care most for the embedded market and leave the desktop simply alone. And those who say that they may stop to develop X11, do not understand that Qt enormously benefits from the free testing and publicity they get through KDE.

Nokia will not hide Qt, it will continue share it with its concurrents. That's simply not a useful thing to do, as they would then miss out on the impact of community contributions, which save a lot. Mind you, that's a hardware company, who would simply like to have better software to sell its hardware and little more. They won't mind if I can run 3 office suites on the phone, if it makes me buy their phone.

Well, who knows, probably it means more free phones for developers. Like the one Aaron got, but for every KDE developer. :-)

Yours,
Kay


By Debian User at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Gotta love the blind optimism, hehe.


By moo at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Yes, all the knee-jerk, sky-is-falling pessimism is much cooler.


By dolio at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

What is unclear for me is what "new features" means. What if Nokia will start to release a version per year with some totally unrelated and useless new features just to prohobit opening it under BSD ? So Qt will slowly get outdated and will die ? I hope I'm wrong !


By Anonymous at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

People, please note that it's Nokia we are talking about here, not Microsoft!


By A KDE advocate at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

The Bochum case proves that Nokia is not a Mark Shuttleworth company. They try to get money where they can, they happily took the subsidy offered for founding the factory at bochum and now they're moving to next sponsored place. I don't damn them because of that, in a highly competizive market you cannot afford to be an angel. It just prooves that Nokia cannot be expected to do a step like this without "planning something" to get some worth out of it.


By dirks at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

>The Bochum case proves that Nokia is not a Mark Shuttleworth company.

The fact that Canonical is registered in the a tax-haven like the Isle of Man would imply that "Mark Shuttleworth companies" are as concerned with the ultimate bottom line as any other for-profit concern, not that the point is really relevant in the first place.


By elsewhere at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Good news is that you are completely wrong!
And even better news is that there is no bad news (since we already established that you being wrong is good)

Nokia engineers don't release Qt, Trolltech engineers do. Trolltech engineering teams stays completely unchanged. As long as they're there you can be absolutely certain that nothing in no way will change and Qt will continue rocking (more than ever).

And what if all the dedicated Trolltech engineers like Lars, Simon, Paul, Andreas, Brad, Warwick, Matthias or Espen to name just a few quit you ask? Well in that case you will have more important things to worry about e.g. flying pigs, frogs raining from the sky, death of the firstborn and the like.


By Zack Rusin at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

> Nokia engineers don't release Qt, Trolltech engineers do. Trolltech engineering teams stays completely unchanged.

But can Nokia tell that engineers what to do or not do ? Set other not qt-related task or just stop paying them to work on Qt ?


By Anonymous at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

This week. I've been through this type of thing before. Two years from now Nokia's CEO quits, and the new CEO doesn't share the qt vision, so the trolltech offices are closed. QT becomes BSD, but to Nokia it is just a write off.

I'm not say it will happen that way. The future is really hard to understand. However wouldn't be the first time if it did.


By Hank Miller at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

i bet you are. the same devs are going to develop qt even on the future, just under Nokia's umbrella.


By kedadi at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Perhaps they reduce commercial license prices ? ;)


By Hen at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Commercial licences are actually cheap. You are so much productive with Qt that you will forget about the price. And renewals are about one third, IIRC, which is dead cheap.


By Pau Garcia i Quiles at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

HAHA. The lamest sales pitch I've ever heard.


By money-hater at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Yeah and your standard sales pitch is to pay expensive developer salaries for devs to spend longer creating projects with inferior toolkits. That's at least as lame as his.


By AS at Thu, 2008/01/31 - 6:00am

Haha! Qt is one of the most expensive toolkits out there, which hinders its spread badly. I hope the BSD license will come into effect soon to get rid of the commercial license.


By Budzes at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

if you wanna make money off something that uses qt, you have to give a bit back to trolltech... that seems pretty fair to me. those guys need to feed their families too.


By Chani at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

But Nokia doesn't need to make money that way. To tell the truth, based on the modest price they got QT for, it was never a very lucrative business model in the first place. It was all Trolltech had, but Nokia makes their money selling phones, not software.

So, if they're serious about QT, and they want to encourage 3rd party developers, they can afford to lower the price significantly. Better yet, LGPL it and start a revolution.


By littlenoodles at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Expensive but worth it. Without Qt I wouldn't have a business because I can't develop software part time and still be competitive with any other toolkit. So for me, it is pure win. Qt license prices are fine the way they are (of course, I wouldn't say no to a decrease, but Trolltech has to remain profitable so they can continue to develop Qt)


By Leo S at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I hope Qt doesn't become BSD - imho the GPL is far superior in terms of promoting freedom. If you want to allow leeching off of FOSS developers, you gotta love the Lesser GPL or the BSD licenses, but I prefer to have companies developing proprietary software contributing money to GPL software development. I hope you realize all the commercial applications being written with Qt pay for the salaries of people like Aaron and meetings like Akademy, right?


By Jos Poortvliet at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

You mean "NOT DEVELOPPING" products using Qt because it's GPL. Right?!
Cuz, apart some few exceptions, no company will risk it.
If you don't get it talk to the Linksys router folks.


By merged at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

Precisely the point. They prefer paying for the commercial license, thus "pay(ing) for the salaries of people like Aaron and meetings like Akademy".


By AS at Thu, 2008/01/31 - 6:00am

do you really think TT developers would put up with that?
the fact that they're confident about this news, and not running off to resign, makes me a lot more optimistic about it. :)


By Chani at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"those guys need to feed their families too"


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Yes, but that dosen't mean they'd be happy about bad news, they could feed their families before this after all.


By ben at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

"Chambe-Eng added that Nokia's decision to maintain Trolltech's existing dual-licensing model and continue feeding into the open-source community had been "very key" to Trolltech's agreement to the acquisition. According to Chambe-Eng, Trolltech has a "very special status in both the Linux and Unix community at large [and now benefits from being] part of an organisation with much more muscle than [Trolltech] had so far"."
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39292448,00.htm?r=1
no worries! :D


By Koko at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

Congrats to Nokians and the trolls! I think time is the only answer to the plethora of questions springing into the Free Software community about the acquisition. I'm just concerned that it might create some hard feelings between the GTk+/GNOME people and us, the Qt/KDE community. I hope everybody will try to be open-minded rather than engaging in spiral toolkit flame wars.

Nokia: Now it's your turn to show a true commitment to Free Software and open standards or else you'll be risking a wave of Novell-like infamy.

Qt: But never turn a blind eye to what might your freedom just because it's being done by your parent company.

KDE: On to more ubiquity and achievements!


By A KDE advocate at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

* to what might hurt your freedom


By A KDE advocate at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

I think is a good for kde and linux. If every thing will go ok kde and qt will became more, and more popular(if Nokia LGPL QT would be perfect), if qt will die we will have only one gui toolkit....


By alonso at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

what if nokia decide that qt will be LGPL ( just to make it more attractive to developers, think android here :-)
i hope they are smart enough to do it !

ps: please don't flame me here, just a user wondering to be happy by the move or not


By djouallah mimoune at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

When Nokia really buys Trolltech, I will Switch to GNOME. KDE may be better, but having to do anything with Nokia is simply not acceptable for me.


By blueget at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Psst - Nokia are a major proponent of GNOME and GTK.


By anon at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

Do they own GTK? No...


By Psst at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"Do they own GTK?"

No. Red Hat does, and they are the primary bunch of people who decide what happens and what code goes into it. Same difference.


By segedunum at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

> "Do they own GTK?"
>
> No. Red Hat does...

Don't think so. Lot's of the source files don't have the redhat (c).


By wtf123 at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"Don't think so. Lot's of the source files don't have the redhat "

Who puts the code in the repository decides ultimately. You're free to fork GTK, as you are Qt, but that isn't an easy thing to do.


By segedunum at Mon, 2008/01/28 - 6:00am

"You're free to fork GTK,
as you are Qt, ..."

A GPLed library with a single copyright holder compared to a LGPLed library with lots of different copyright holders is quite another cup of tea. The second seems a lot more immune to take overs like this, and therefore - i think - more in the spirit of FOSS. Quite paradox.


By Wtf123 at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

You didn't read the comment properly.

"A GPLed library with a single copyright holder compared to a LGPLed library with lots of different copyright holders is quite another cup of tea."

When you think about how this works, there isn't really much difference at all. Those who write the code and are in control of the project decide, and in the case of GTK that is Red Hat ultimately. If a Red Hat maintainer decides not to accept your patches, as has happened, then you're pretty much stuck. You are free to fork it, as you are with Qt, but you have to replicate that infrastructure and manpower whatever.

"The second seems a lot more immune to take overs like this, and therefore - i think - more in the spirit of FOSS."

In what way? If you're not happy then you will still have to fork the project, and that is the barrier.


By segedunum at Tue, 2008/01/29 - 6:00am

>> "A GPLed library with a single copyright holder compared to a LGPLed library
>> with lots of different copyright holders is quite another cup of tea."

> Those who write the code and are in control of the project decide, and in the
> case of GTK that is Red Hat ultimately. If a Red Hat maintainer decides not to
> accept your patches, as has happened, then you're pretty much stuck. You are
> free to fork it, as you are with Qt,..

Of course Redhat has some control, but only as long as everybody is happy with their work. If Redhat was being taken over, moving in a totally wrong direction, it wouldn't matter for GTK+ that much. Others - even companies - would continue the work with no degradation in rights, as the only license in the game is LGPL (Which more or less fulfills everyones needs).

Anything Redhat or anyone else does for GTK+ is instantly and only creating public value. There is no additional private value for the copyright owner. The situation with Qt is quite different. For instance the XFree86 fork wouldn't have worked that well with a license model like Qt.

>> "The second seems a lot more immune to take overs like this, and therefore -
>> i think - more in the spirit of FOSS."
> In what way?

Because i think depending on the fate of a single company is quite problematic for a FOSS project like KDE. People wouldn't worry about this Nokia deal that much if Qt were LGPLed.


By Wtf123 at Wed, 2008/01/30 - 6:00am

I don't really see what the difference here is. Whats there to worry about exactly?

Suppose nokia does decide to render Qt useless for the next version in some way.

1) Close the source

Well except there's the poison pill, the last release of Qt then becomes BSD. I can only hope nokia would be so ignorant of what would happen.

2) Anything else...

Well, the current version is available under gpl2/gpl3, there's absolutely no reason a fork could not be made and call NotNokiaQt or whatever.

So I really don't see the problem. The only potential annoyance here would be the lack of fulltime devs working solely on Qt. A real loss for sure, but still recoverable with a community such as KDE I'd hope. As someone else stated, replacing the manpower is the real problem should Bad Things (tm) happen.


By Random Commenter at Wed, 2008/01/30 - 6:00am

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