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Qt in company - licensing



  • Hello,

    I would like to ask you to clarify the Qt licensing rules because they do not understand the information available in the FAQ for the case of the company where I work.

    I work in a corporation from the automotive industry, which has many factories around the world. The Polish branch (divided into 3 factories) is a strictly production unit (mechanical parts and electronics), we do not create software that our clients deal with.

    Our team of programmers / electronics who write in C / C ++ is only 3 people all over the country (the remaining ~ 12 is in Germany but their software is not used in our factories), we prepare software for our proprietary production machines ( machines and software do not leave the factory) performing the end of line test of the products. Internal software for products equipped with microcontrollers is created by other foreign teams and we do not have access to its sources.

    99% percent of our sources are based on the standard library + boost. The remaining 1% is GUI. At the moment we are paying large amounts of money for IDE absolutely tragic in everyday use, the name of which I would not like to give here but nevertheless it is much cheaper than Qt.

    I have prepared (compiled by myself) a quite solid toolchain based on MinGW, which integrates well with Qt creator. I was able to compile basic Qt libraries myself and it seems that everything works as it should with the mentioned creator.

    Here comes my question - do we need to have a commercial license for each developer for applications such as those described above?

    I will add that I have filled out the contact form on the Qt website several times, but there has been no response for a month ...

    regards,
    Umberto

    [Polish: https://forum.qt.io/topic/111010/qt-w-firmie-licencja ~kshegunov]


  • Moderators

    Hi @Umberto2020, I'm sorry to hear that you've had to wait so long. I'm pinging @AndyS as he might be able to get the relevant folks to respond to your query.

    I don't represent the Qt Company so I can't provide firm licensing info. However, it's not clear to me from your description above:

    1. Which parts of your work do you want to use Qt in? (Percentage doesn't matter) Is it only for the GUI of your in-house machines?
    2. How many people will be using Qt? Is it the team of 3 programmers?
    3. What is the "solid toolchain based on MinGW, which integrates well with Qt creator"? Is it a copy of the Qt libraries?
    4. Who will be using the toolchain that you prepared? Is it the same people as #2?
    5. What is the relevance of the microcontroller software to your use of Qt?


  • Hello,

    Thank you for quick response @JKSH.

    Aswering your questions:

    1. Yes, I only need Qt GUI for now. Maybe in the future I will also need other Qt Essentials features.
    2. Team of 3 programmers only.
    3. No, it is not a copy of Qt libraries. It is my MinGW x64 distro with boost librares and gdb support. Built from sources by myself. By using my tool I was able to compile Qt Essentials libraries from source. I did it to check if it is possible at all because Qt libraries are compiled in gcc 7.3.0 by default and I need them compiled by gcc 9.2.0. These libraries are not yet part of my toolchain
    4. Yes, same people as #2
    5. My software is used to test electronic units on our machines.

  • Moderators

    Thanks @JKSH for the ping!

    @Umberto2020

    I apologise for the fact you have not been contacted yet, if you can PM me the email address you contacted us with then I will track this down and get someone to answer you. The short version is that only those who are working on developing the Qt part would need a license in this case, so I hope that helps you in the meantime.



  • @Umberto2020 said in Qt in company - licensing:

    Our team of programmers / electronics who write in C / C ++ is only 3 people all over the country (the remaining ~ 12 is in Germany but their software is not used in our factories), we prepare software for our proprietary production machines ( machines and software do not leave the factory) performing the end of line test of the products.

    It sounds to me like all Qt-based software that your team is developing is only used internally and is never distributed to customers or other 3rd parties. If this is the case, you don't have to buy commercial license at all. However, if you think you can change your mind in future, you should consider buying commercial license.



  • @Konstantin-Tokarev

    Just to back what you said: https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.en.html#InternalDistribution

    Is making and using multiple copies within one organization or company “distribution”? (#InternalDistribution)

    No, in that case the organization is just making the copies for itself. As a consequence, a company or other organization can develop a modified version and install that version through its own facilities, without giving the staff permission to release that modified version to outsiders.

    However, when the organization transfers copies to other organizations or individuals, that is distribution. In particular, providing copies to contractors for use off-site is distribution.



  • @AndyS
    @JKSH
    @Konstantin-Tokarev
    @bterrier

    Thanks for the answers. I read into the details of the GPL and LGPL licenses and it looks like (for my Qt library use) i don't need to purchase a license.


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