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.

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by Skeith (not verified)

The open source-ness of qt has been ensured by both Trolltech and Nokia. I'm just worried about Nokia not getting the open source thing like Apple did. If all the current practices for qt development are kept then this is a great thing that will benefit everybody.

by RJ (not verified)

This is a problem in the lunux community. Everyone runs around looking for the bad, rather than just sitting back and watching what unfolds. For allyou know this could be the best thing to happen, so stop the panic and worry and let it unfold.

by Richard Lionhard (not verified)

Slashdot readers agree with me wholeheardetly.

Nokia, thanks for destroying something that promised to be so great. Qt, will become useful only for mobile phone (smartphone) related stuff, and that will be it sadly.

150 million? Trolltech could have sold their soul for much more money. MySQL got 1 Billion dollars. *Dr. Evil pose*

Hopefully the trolltech guys have some time looking for other jobs, as I doubt they have the job security they had in the past.

Well hopefully Nokia will embrace KDE and the Linux desktop community as well. Maybe they will even make a new Linux based set-top box similar to Apple TV.

I'm trying to stay positive but it's hard. Where is the reassuring news from Nokia? Nokia needs to post something positive, concrete, and believeable VERY SOON. That reasuring open letter, while a nice gesture, means nothing.

We will be watching the level of commitment, the number of weekly commits, and any other measure of progress very closely.

Well at least this part of the Linux world stayed in Europe and didn't sell to a U.S. company. Here in Europe the legal system at least protects the open source world somewhat. Maybe Nokia will rethink software patents too now.

WTF? Why all this negativity?

Apparently Nokia needs a new good cross platform UI, and they decided to buy one rather than develop one by themselves. Good for Nokia. Good for the Nokia developers getting a better platform than Avkon, and good for the Qt developers getting a big company backing them up.

Also, Nokia is a huge development house with (tens of?) thousands of software developers working with a variety of platforms, including PC's. Nokia has loads of internal custom dev tools for PC, this is a great opportunity for Nokia to build it's internal tools to be X-platform with Qt.

And BTW, I believe Nokia has used Qt in some of it's commercial PC sw for some years already. So I see no reason why would they stop developing Qt for desktops.

Please, stop being so f***ing lame people!

"Please, stop being so f***ing lame people!"

I fear you are wasting your time; over the last year or so, The Dot has become a haven of Chicken Littles and Drama Queens who squeal and sob hysterically over any news that might possibly (with a whole lot of effort and an unhealthy dollop of pointless and unrealistic cynicism) be contorted into having some kind of negative side associated with it[1]. It's an embarrassment.

[1] See e.g.

ah the memories. One of my posts there is exactly what you are talking about. It did take me a little longer to follow through on my drama queen antics about switching to Gnome, but I actually finally did it this week, the last straw being the Nokia thing.

I'm still hanging around the dot occasionally because I used and loved KDE for many years. Maybe some time in Gnome will bring me to my senses, just in time for a KDE 4.1 release that will be ready to earn my confidence again. Maybe by then Nokia's position and direction regarding TT will be clarified. If that happens I'll be sure to be back, and I'll strongly repudiate my earlier objections to KDE's direction.

If I was a total drama queen then, I apologize. I was responding to things that seemed to be leading to me not enjoying KDE anymore. At least I'll be giving an honest attempt to put my money where my mouth is by following through for a while at least with the overwrought musings about leaving.

I think the lesson for me has been not to get involved with software: just treating it as something I use. There's no way I'll be filing bugs for Gnome and hanging around whatever they have instead of the dot. If I end up back with KDE I'll have to do the same and just roll with the changes. It'll save me some heartburn, but is rather disappointing to lose my pipedream of a DE that is just right for me and over whose direction I exercise a modicum of control. The whole KDE4 and Nokia sequence killed a dream, but left me (I hope) more grounded.

I agree. We should watch the level of commitment and the pace of development.
If it slows down at all (# of commits, publicity, # of new features) we're in trouble and have to decide on a course of action.

Maybe we're lucky and it will speed up. If Nokia engineers and programmers will contribute to the project now, that number should go up significantly.

Now that we have Sun on board, all we need is google!!!

I also agree that it's good that at least Nokia is an European company. Much better than if it were an American (lobbyist *err*) company.

"I also agree that it's good that at least Nokia is an European company."

That's European Commission thinking, that is: "must promote our regional champions at the cost of other businesses" (although it doesn't come out like that, obviously). If anything it's worse when a European company is, amongst other things, lobbying for software patentability because the different EU representatives won't be tempted to just brush them off as predatory foreign interests looking to transfer their home advantage to other markets.

That's true, never thought about it this way.

Hopefully (dreaming) Nokia will change their thinking. I used to like the company A LOT!! about 10+ years ago.

My second cell phone was a Nokia. (first was "hagenuk <-- what ever happened to them?) I probably had at least 5-6 Nokia cell phones in my lifetime. We have a Nokia TV, and a Nokia satellite tuner. They make outstanding products.

If Nokia would make something nearly as good as my Blackberry Pearl, I'd probably still have Nokia products. Maybe with KDE/Qt that will again be the case. Especially if I can sync it with my Linux and Windows desktops with no issues whatsoever.

Nokia just needs to get back to it's roots and adopt google's ~"Don't be evil!"~ philosophy. If Nokia will do more for open source and against American concepts like "software patents" *grr* we will give them a second chance and welcome them with open arms.

by AC (not verified)

Does this mean the next major version of KDE won't have a "Qt 5 dance"?

by lpotter (not verified)

NO, it means that the Qt 5 Dance will be a ringtone.

by Max (not verified)

Guess what it will sound like?

by anonymous coward (not verified)

Take: Price of TT getting bought (150M), divide by Nokia's Net Income 2007 (7205M according to wikipedia), and you get that result (math done using kcalc ;-) ).

What does that result mean?
1. a whole company with a roadmap for a GUI
2. bunch of programmers who could be used somewhere else within Nokia
3. A massive damage to the rivals like Motorola when Nokia should close Qtopia or even Qt (close as in everything from raising license costs to stoping any (public) development)
4. Proof that the EU needs software patents because that poor company who did Open Source could not live from it due to no patents possible.

Now imagine you would only have to pay 2.1 from your income to reach all these points with 1 buy. I call it a cheap shot (pun intended?).

Sorry to sound that pessimistic, but right now, I feel very worried about the future of No Software Patents, Open Source and KDE.

by fun (not verified)

Good for QT and Trolltech and bad for KDE.

Nokia has zero interest in KDE.

by Axl (not verified)

I'm not so sure about that. Think plasmoids running on the PC desktop as well as other handheld devices. The same desktop everywhere...

Might fit right into Nokias strategy.

by Jeremy (not verified)

Lets think of it from a different perspective; you have 40% of the phone market share. Nokia, as with all other phone/mobile electronics companies, always discuss ways to improve; not always in features but in money also.

Nokia, has quite the compition this year, with Google's Android, and Windows Mobile coming this following year. They are probably looking for a newer, much better platform for there mobile phones, one with a much better roadmap. They have been using Qt for quite awhile, in a few of there phones and in there desktop mobile suite of applications.

Few things Nokia could want from Trolltech and Qt/Qtopia:
Cross Platform Framework - For there Desktop application suites.
Newer, much better platform for mobile phones; with better roadmap.
Better communication with the open source community.
Integration with KDE, think of Nokia plasmoids on your desktop.

Few bad things Nokia could want from Trolltech and Qt/Qtopia:
Inert the development of Qtopia with Motorola.
Close future versions of Qt/Qtopia and shove there legal patients up everyones ass.

by Dane (not verified)

> Integration with KDE, think of Nokia plasmoids on your desktop.

And this might actually become a real Microsoft-killer. Nokia has a global 35% market share on handsets.

by Dane (not verified)

> Integration with KDE, think of Nokia plasmoids on your desktop.

And this might actually become a real Windows-killer. Nokia has a global 35% market share on handsets.

by AnXa (not verified)

This must have really hurt. :|
I hope this won't end badly. But those usually tend to end badly.

I hope Nokia will start utilizing Qt on their cell phones but if possile don't try to pull of anything dirty since Microsoft has something to do with this bought no matter how I look at it. No matter the reasons they are behind this in some way.

Look, Nokia supports software patents, Nokia doesn't want OGG to HTML5, they are Gnome company on their FOSS side of things, They support and USE DRM in their products, Why is their Music Store WMA/WMV store instead of some other format?, ...

Lots of reasons why this means war and why it is really bad news for many kde users out there. Plus that personally I cannot stand now the GTK and Gnome people starting their own commentatory about things with "It's just like we said 10 years ago what would happen" or "hahha, we knew this was going to happen and now kde is going to fall down."

Longlive kde...

by Anon (not verified)

"ut if possile don't try to pull of anything dirty since Microsoft has something to do with this bought no matter how I look at it. No matter the reasons they are behind this in some way."


by RJ (not verified)

microsoft have nothing to do with it, get your facts straight before you start running around like a chook with its head chopped off

by elsewhere (not verified)

>>Look, Nokia supports software patents,

So do IBM, HP, Sun and many other large OSS sponsors/supporters.

>>Nokia doesn't want OGG to HTML5

They didn't want any specific media format tied to the format

>>they are Gnome company on their FOSS side of things

They utilize GTK and have been very vocal about it's shortcomings and lack of roadmap.

>>Gnome people starting their own commentatory about things with "It's just like we said 10 years ago what would happen" or "hahha, we knew this was going to happen and now kde is going to fall down."

Is this your first day on the internet? ;)

They say that about every point release or project announcement that appears on the dot. Life goes on.

by The Badger (not verified)

"Look, Nokia supports software patents,"

"So do IBM, HP, Sun and many other large OSS sponsors/supporters."

This is the "everyone else is doing it" excuse. However, the most genuine supporters of Free Software have been companies like Trolltech, MySQL and others who were quite happy to go on the record and say that software patents are wrong.

At least one can say that some of these big companies are moderately serious about not suing people into the ground over patents by, for example, participating in patent non-aggression pacts such as OIN ( - I mean, even Philips is a member, and in the whole software patent lobbying affair, they didn't come out much cleaner than Nokia. Meanwhile, Sun's stance on patents has probably shifted somewhat after getting sued by Kodak over some techniques used in the standard Java libraries: a $92 million lesson for Jonathan Schwartz.

"Nokia doesn't want OGG to HTML5"

"They didn't want any specific media format tied to the format"

Reading the position paper from Nokia, it says firstly that "the active endorsement of proprietary technology such as Ogg, ..., by W3C, is, in our opinion, not helpful" (probably trying to set records for comma usage along the way). I think the response by the Ogg developers says more than I ever could about how this "proprietary" labelling of genuinely open technologies is, at the very least, dishonest:

But what do you expect from a company whose business is based on an industry driven by patent licensing cartels? I'm sure they can peruse their portfolio and find a few things that vaguely apply to (and thus encumber) their favoured solutions.

by goodluck (not verified)

hope kde does what is best and takes the necessary action that will benifit the free software community in the best possible way.

this will be really hard for awesome kde/qt developers.

my best wishes are with kde.

often the truth is hardest to swallow, the earlier you do it the better it will be. hopefully kde wont repeat the same mistakes again.

it will be also better for nokia to spill out what is their future roadmap to kde. which i think they wont. it will be worst to make huge promises to qt/kde and then piss upon them after few months. this is highly anticipated from nokia so it shouldn't be a surprise when it happens.

i am moving away to gtk/python, although not very good compared to kde/qt but i dont wont to deal with licensing issues and evil takeover. i can do my work in peace and enjoy it. this entire fiasco was a learning lesson for me.

kde team has put a lot of hardwork since many years and kudos to them. it will be really sad to see them run over by some mega multi billion corporation with their own money making agendas and quaterly results.

by Iuri Fiedoruk (not verified)

The kde 4.0 case (release with bugs but release so people will forget us) also left a bad taste in my mouth.
The bad part is that I don't see gtk/gnome as good alternatives.

Maybe it's time for someone just create a lighweight fork of both qt and kde and start a new and small DE?

by serenity (not verified)

at the first sign of trouble from Nokia, fork it for KDE and never look back!

by disapointed (not verified)

I feel so betrayed!!!!

I thought that between freedom and commercial, we don't have to choose. I still think that. But I forgot you can buy most of mens with money. Trolltech's chiefs were ones of them.

I didn't see that.... foolish I was!

ps: To Nokia, freedom is not just buying a free company or giving money to kde, it's a true commitment which means putting freedom first of ALL. Do this commitment and you will be welcome, even if you don't become a patron of kde. We do not need your money but you do need our trust. Can we trust you???

by Anonymous (not verified)

You are absolutely right about the commitment issue. This issue is essential for "Qt everywhere" vision to become reality with Nokia owning Trolltech. I assume Nokia is really planning to use Qt/Qtopia as a toolkit in their crossplatform strategy.
At the same time I doubt that suits in Nokia management even realize how much they can benefit (or lose) from this Trolltech buyout.
If Nokia embraces freedom and gains our trust, they would have huge army of devolopers/contributors with samurai mentality working for them 24/7 for free.
On the other hand if Nokia screws this up, they will end up having aging toolkit and watch how e.g. Android sails by with former Qt/Qtopia contributors onboard.
Those two scenarios above are of course just simplifications and exaggerations, but you get the picture. Personally I see tremendous opportunities here and I'm cautiously optimistic as story unfolds...

KDE and TT, keep up the good work :-)

by Michael (not verified)

turn this into a mobile only toolkit and forget about the rest. It's definitely the end of commercial development of Qt IMHO. Don't know if this is a bad thing though. Qt is GPL. Look at what happend to X11. Anybody still using that? A fork is about that happen soon.

by Anonymous (not verified)

Complete nonsense. With Google's Android and the Asus EeePC the lines between mobile phones and small PCs are soon to vanish.
It's pretty apparent that Nokia desperately needed a strategy that covers both PCs, UMPCs as well as mobile phones. Qt + Qtopia is the perfect answer to that.

by Laughing at the... (not verified)

It is quite frankly pathetic.

This is business, TT is a company, the acquisition is not necessarily a bad thing.

Nokia acquired TT after they adopted the GPL3.

Nokia have applied to be a KDeV sponsor thus showing goodwill.

QT is in a very healthy state (4.4) for KDE build its near mid-term future if the worst were to happen.

And yet all i see is a bunch of drama queens claiming to have been betrayed by TT and cast into the rapacious maw of Nokia.


congrats TT, lets hope it works to KDE's benefit.


by Anonymous (not verified)

> And yet all i see is a bunch of drama queens claiming to have been betrayed by TT

And those are mostly anonymous cowards who in reality are maybe mislead GTK guys in disguise anyways ...

by Anonymous (not verified)

> And yet all i see is a bunch of drama queens claiming to have been betrayed by TT

And those are mostly anonymous cowards who in reality are maybe mislead GTK guys in disguise anyways ...

by Bochumworker666 (not verified)

Nokia is no better than M$ atm. They closed down the Bochum ALTHO it made LOTS of profits and told people otherwise ( New information leaked to Capital magazine. the factory made 132€ profit.)

Just a bunch of lying corporate dumb fucks if you ask me.

Mark my words: KDE IS DOOMED!

by AS (not verified)

It's pretty apparent you deserved a job with Nokia more than some Untermensch in Romania. Keep fighting the good fight.

by Bochumworker666 (not verified)

Not true and I did not say that.

My points are:

- Nokia will fuck everybody over if they think there is more money to be made somewhere else.. no matter how good of a job you do. Very Walmartesque if you ask me.
- Nokia is not telling the truth. So how can we trust them??

Any objections?

by Bobby (not verified)

It's not really about Nokia, the problem is called CAPITALISM.
Look at Google for example, how much has it given back in comparison to what it took?
Name me one single holy company; Deutsche Bahn? Deutsche Post? Siemens maybe?
It's all about making money and being ahead of the competitors and the most or all companies would stop at nothing to achieve that :(

by The Badger (not verified)

"Siemens maybe?"

How unfair to bring Siemens up just as they were learning about "lubricating the wheels of business" in various sectors where brown envelopes seem to be the norm! ;-)

It's interesting to see that they're mentioned in the small print of the Trolltech acquisition, though. Life in the telecoms cartel goes on, it would seem.

by Bobby (not verified)

Yes, Deutsche Telecom... how could I forget those very nice people whose goal is to squash any and every other company that has the word "Tele" or "com" in it's name?
Like they say, when you point one finger 4 point back at you. Die Deutschen kochen auch nur mit Wasser ;)

by EineKleine (not verified)

Weren't those Capital numbers proven wrong? Some estimated averages that had nothing to do with the said manufacturing facility or its real performance.

However, as we all know, Nokia is evil, unlike, say Motorola and others that have moved away from Germany long before this. Nokia should have left like others years ago. Would have caused less fuss then. And a foreign company is always a cute target, especially in Germany, where people are aware of their own superiority. Have always been.

by dreamscape (not verified)

I'd love to have a good Nokia phone with Qtopia on it :) Last time I used Qtopia was on a Sharp Zaurus PDA and I liked it a lot... it would be wonderful to have Linux and a similar interface on a phone...:)

Here is a good way to improve their relationship with the open source community.
Well, they can start by retracting their objection to HTML5 proposed use of .ogg and theora format for the next web standard.

by no-one (not verified)

Now it's time to start planning KDE5 which is bound to be a QT-free release

by Bobby (not verified)

Maybe Gnome3 will be built on QT.
The future is not ours to see :)

by Anon (not verified)

Er ... why not (In the absolute worst possible case) continue with KDE4 using the last released Qt4 version?

by Max (not verified)

"I offer a toast. The 'undiscovered country.' (Beat) The future."
-Star Trek VI

by seb (not verified)

> KDE5 which is bound to be a QT-free release

a QuickTime-free release? I wouldn't bet on that.

Apple want it to be the next Flash and aggressively pushes it in its 'video' tag, hijacking the W3C as needed, with help from Nokia who would love to see such DRM-ridden proprietary crap become pervasive.
Awww wait, you meant Qt...

by Max (not verified)


Great post. Totally agree with you.