Qt Commercial License Terms, Independent Developers

  • I am a software developer - lately I've begun writing an independent mobile App (possibly more in the future). I am interested in using Qt to do cross platform development on iOS and Android. When I release my App, I wish to keep it closed source. What are the licensing requirements for releasing a closed-source app linked to Qt?

    I see that I can buy a 1 month license for $350. As a cost to release my App, this is acceptable - but I can't afford a perpetual $350 fee every month and, if that turns out to be the case, I will choose something other than Qt for development. Can I pay for 1 month of the license and release my app during that month and be covered for my app in perpetuity? What if I do a second release of the same app (after the month I paid is up), am I still covered since my app was released with a valid license? Do I need to purchase a monthly license every time I do release? Do I need to purchase a license every time I want to merely work with the source code linked to Qt?

    I read all the information on the Qt website here:


    and here:


    But these still leave me confused. I've emailed Qt, but they aren't responding. I also saw this post:


    Which is somewhat useful, but 4 years old and doesn't answer all my questions.

    I am also interested in knowing what a permanent / perpetual Qt license costs for all apps I may develop. I can't find any info on this except Qt saying to contact them. I have, but have yet to receive a reply.

    Any help anyone can give would be much appreciated!

  • administrators

    The license should be valid when you develop the app and release it. Making a new release implies that you have worked on the app, and thus should have a license.
    I'm not a lawyer, so I don't honestly know how to answer the question of "What if I just release and leave it there?"

    Also as you noticed we don't have a good solution right now for small/indie developers like yourself right now. We know this is a problem and are looking at options to get a better solution on the market.

  • @tekojo
    So what about the following case:

    You develop your application core logic - all the stuff abstracted from Qt that doesn't use Qt, then in the final development stage, you simply hook it to a Qt front-end.

    So while you may have developed the application itself over the course of many months, you haven't used Qt in that time, you only use Qt in the final stage of the application development, for a month, which I'd say is sufficient time to develop and hook up quite a lot of UI code.

    When is the Qt license required? While you are working on an application that eventually uses Qt, or while you are using Qt?

    Is a Qt license needed during the phase where you don't use Qt just because you will eventually use Qt? What if you develop your core logic into a separate library and then use that for a Qt project?

  • Once upon a time there was a Indie license that would have covered your case, don't know what happened to it though.
    I'm mostly a FOSS dev but if there was a 99$/yrs option that would help around the dev and perks, something less business centred and more community oriented, I would take it without a second thought.
    Something to show my support of the Open-source side of Qt.
    On the top of my head, 2 things I would love:

    • Yearly Qt T-shirt with a cool unique design (for those who can't go to Qt summits)
    • Tools for Raspberry-pi like boards (cross-compiling is a pain)

    So nothing that would impact businesses anyway but an entry level to help my everyday life as a dev and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one that wished there was a more affordable option.

  • administrators

    @iter tough one. But a potentially realistic scenario. Though you would probably benefit from doing the logic in Qt from the beginning, I could see someone doing libraries in plain C++ and then hooking them up at a later stage.

    Our sales people would say all the time :)
    Also bouncing on and off a license will probably alert our sales to ask questions on what you are doing.

    But I would approach it more as a conscience matter. Do you intend to use Qt from the beginning and are you contributing back to Qt in some way?
    Qt lives on contributions, both code and license revenue to pay our developers. In the big scheme of things, both need to be there. The revenue from one small business license isn't critical, but the general idea of supporting Qt is.

    Not a very clear answer, but I would more like to convey the idea. From a strict legal perspective both options (have a license all the time / have it just at the end) are ok. But it is more about supporting Qt.

  • administrators

    @Kernelcoffee there is the small business license, that is intended for small business. It isn't 99 a year, but 49$/month isn't too much for small companies http://blog.qt.io/blog/2016/03/08/qt-start-ups-awesome/

    We are testing t-shirt sales (yes, I know we should shout about it more) at https://shop.spreadshirt.net/TheQtCompany
    I'll talk to our marketing / design about the regular custom shirt idea.

    And now that you mention the RPi, yes, they are very popular and we are trying to figure out what to do there. Do you have suggestions on what would be the best way to help? Is it more about documentation, settings in Qt Creator or the toolchain? Raspbian has pretty up to date packages in it's repositories.

  • @tekojo said:

    @Kernelcoffee there is the small business license, that is intended for small business. It isn't 99 a year, but 49$/month isn't too much for small companies

    Sorry, but IT IS NOT 49$, that price is a limited time offer, which you can only take for a short period of time, and even if you take it, it only lasts a year and then it is 99$ a month, which is what I assume KC intended to write. And where is the guarantee this licensing scheme will last? Where is the guarantee it won't go the way of the old indie license once it fails to meet the unrealistic expectations of management?

    On the previous subject, I'd say it makes a lot of sense to keep your core logic as standard C++, free of any 3rd party libraries. This means you can improve on your core logic without the need of a Qt license, since you won't be using Qt. And with the dynamism of QML, you can easily implement new GUI forms by means of code generation, so you don't ever have to use Qt beyond the core development phase.

    If your application core architecture is designed to be flexible and scalable from the get go, you really only need Qt for integrating and building your core logic. Then you can fix bugs and implement new features without even having Qt installed on your development box.

  • @tekojo

    • it's still for small business (which I'm not),
    • Personnaly a small Qt logo on the front (top left) + a big back design on a black t-shirt (2016 edition).
    • For the RPi : Mainly it's the toolchain, ideally, having it as a target like Android (being able to d/l it from Maintenance Tool) would be awesome (and would save a lot of time, instead of having to handbuild it for cross-compile).
      Basically making things simple and easy.

  • @tekojo Is there now some kind of license for indies?

  • administrators

    Hi @Guiga
    Yes, I we still have the start-up plan available https://www1.qt.io/start-up-plan/

  • AFAIK, if you publish a Qt App on Play Store (or other stores) you need to keep a valid license forever. Because the license terms says you can't "distribuite" a Qt App without a license.

    This is a big problem for indipendent developers with small badgets....

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