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How much cost Qt for Indie developers ?

  • Yes ^1^.

    No, it does not have a nice whiff of conspiracy, it just disparages the people working on Qt giving you the right to use their work beeing created investing a large amount of their resources for free, enabling you making money.

    ^1^ IANAL.

  • Lukas take a chill pill. I think its pretty clear that my remark was meant in jest.
    As for making money, pretty well everything I do is in the public domain and I don't make money out of it.

  • No reason to feel offended.

    You have your theory and you like it; I don't, for the reasons given.

  • But what about the future?
    I work in a small software company. We can't afford ourselves to port our applications to a new framework each year. The question is as follows: is it possible that Digia will close the sources of the next version of Qt and drops the support of older versions while one will have to pay 60 000 euros for the only available commercial version? Something other like that: will the whole Qt technology be dropped from development?

    It will be so nice to hear your opinion including the opinions of professionals that keep their nose close to wind with Qt technology and Digia's licensing.

  • [quote author="zzz9_z" date="1368448854"]... is it possible that Digia will close the sources of the next version of Qt and drops the support of older versions while one will have to pay 60 000 euros for the only available commercial version? ... [/quote]
    Thats sounds like a some scary story...
    I hope its not happend. Anyway if Digia decide close the Qt sources, Qt will continue live in GPL. Of course Digias version will evolves faster but Qt as we know today never die.

  • Moderators

    zzz9_z, qxoz: That case is actually covered by the "free Qt foundation":

    Basically if Digia stops releasing GPL/LGPL Qt versions than the code becomes available under a BSD license for everybody to use as they see fit (incl. commercial use and whatnot).

    I think the availability of Qt to you as a business is way more certain than any other toolkit out there.

  • Tobias Hunger, that sounds good, still developers have a guarantee that they can still use Qt in their already written applications.

    Regarding the previous messages about the price of the framework: you pointed right about passion and hunger.

    Regularly there is no need to make his own version of Qt for an indie (there is sometimes workaround for some cases) and large companies can afford this price themselves (to make the development like conveyer, for example adding an ability to set custom QTabBar for QMdiArea out of the box). I see some small commercial projects (like GameCore) use Qt for their tools, I don't think they have a commercial license for developing a set of windows with buttons.

    I don't know where this license paranoia comes from. I have defeated mine one after you clarified some questions. Maybe Qt Project must have a special "License Paranoia FAQ" covering all of its aspects, seriously!

    I still have some questions about older versions of Qt like 4.7. Are they still supported: bug fixes, updates or one should port to the newer version to see them in Qt? I mean, what is the model of Qt development: 1. 'dropping' the older version and switching to a new one or 2. developing the new Qt version while making bug fixes and small updates to the old one? Sorry for offtopic but I think it is indirectly relates to the topic (buying the newer Qt version).

  • Could you (or someone else) please elaborate on the fact that you can use the LGPL license to develop commercial Qt driven applications?
    Where does the limit go? If you include libraries as runtime libs, if you use static linking? How does it work in practice?

    I've tried to read the LGPL licence but the definitions are vague at best...

    [quote author="Andre" date="1316158186"]When the licences were still sold by Nokia, I believe that they cost something like EUR 1400 per developer for a single platform licence. You could also buy a 2 or 3 platform licence at a few hundred per additional platform. No idea if Digia is using a very different price model, but I doubt it.

    If you need more exact data, you have to ask Digia, of course.

    Note that you may also considder using the LGPL version of the toolkit. That would be a much cheaper option for an "indie", I think. The limitations are not such that it is impossible to develop commercial software that way. [/quote]

  • But still. The current pricing is not friendly to individual developers who actually wishes to get the benefits of a commercial license. For most people it's a huge amount of money, and the prices are in my eyes targeted at corporations and not single developers.

    Is it not possible that by offering a more fine grained price structure, more developers might actually be able to/want to pay for a license?

  • What kind of benefits you talking about?

  • qxoz: Direct support, peace of mind, the ability to ["legally"] statically compile if needed. Complete freedom. Stuff like that.

  • Well, I think most independent developers are satisfied with the current state of affairs. Even if reduce the price of the commercial version, do you think strongly increase the number wanting to buy?
    Static build and direct support are not critical for indie developers, peace of mind - most people even don't know how is it :) .
    Maybe good reason for buying would be a tools like Charts, but i dont know.

  • I think that most people are happy with the terms too. It's up to the individual to judge whether one actually gains from the stated benefits.

    Personally, I'm finding myself in situations where I wish I had more veto power, so to speak, in order to push development for certain features. My development platform is Mac OS, and there's still missing critical features in 5.1 that prevents my current product getting in a finished state. With a commercial license in hand, I would feel that I had the right to raise my voice higher. As it is now, the answer I'm getting is more or less "we happily accept patches".

    Different strokes for different people. Yes, I believe a reduced price would increase sales significantly.

  • I still feel confused.
    Can someone explain how I would go about developing an application that I could sell commercially, built with Qt Components, like:

    Use the Qt Creator IDE with the Widgets and bells, Create a GUI (possibly with QML) and the C++ code behind (using Qt libraries), compile it to executable code and possibly creating an installer, then sell it as a commercial app, using the LGPL licensed version of the Qt tool-set?

    Ces't possible?

  • cseder: As long as you don't modify Qt and don't statically compile, you're good to go.

  • Ok! Thanks. Finally a clear cut answer.
    I can live with those limitations.

    Then I don't have to hunt for and learn another GUI framework after all... ;-)

  • Your freedom even goes a bit further than that, but let's not cloud the issue :)

  • [quote author="Andre" date="1374218615"]Your freedom even goes a bit further than that, but let's not cloud the issue :)[/quote]

    I don't think that would cloud it up in any way, on the contrary I think it would be a nice addition for motivating "indie" developers to use Qt, so, please, make a short list over the additional advantages.

    If you don't feel like posting it to the forum, please pm me with it, as I'm working on a blog entry covering this exact topic.

  • Moderators

    With LGPL:

    • you can distribute your application under any license, including commercial ones
    • you don't have to provide source code of your application to your users

    You have to:

    • provide any large patches to Qt that you are using (for example when you have fixed something in QPoint). Small changes are exempt from this by Qt License extension to LGPL. Also, if you push changes to Qt Project, and they are integrated into Qt, you don't need to provide anything
    • provide license file for Qt
    • allow libraries to be swapped (no static linking)
    • inform your users that Qt is being used (About box, readme, etc.)

    So you can modify Qt itself, but you need to give your users the means to run your application with Qt they build on their own (if they wish to do it).

    With GPL:

    • all your code needs to be GPL'ed, too
    • you need to provide source code to your clients upon request (you don't have to make them publicly available and you don't have to ship them by default. Any recipient can propagate those files, though)

  • While I really like using Qt SDK much more than Visual Studio when I was using it (before C#); Qt Creator is light-years ahead of anything for wxWidgets; I like the idea of running natively to avoid the slow startup and garbage collection vs .NET applications; and I love that it is multi-platform, including phones - it seems overpriced for me. Sure, LGPL is still a good deal, BUT, I am coming across more problems with it than at first seemed apparent when I started:

    1. If you want to, e.g. make VST/RTAS plugins, Qt LGPL is simply a non-starter; unless you are making freeware ones, even if you could solve the technical issues. Users are used to having single DLL's they can re-arrange and copy about; but with Qt5, we are up to 12 DLLs needed to make my application run on a target Windows machine, coming in at 12.5 MB+ (counting one in the "platforms" folder needed to make it run on XP). The same project in Qt4 needed 3 DLL's coming in at a svelte 11.6 MB.

    2. This bloat of DLL's is including things like D3DCompiler, EGL, GLES, and the huge icu*.dll files; most or all of which I'm not even using, but they are required just to run. I assume that statically linked versions are a lot smaller for a total install; since linkers will ordinarily exclude unused functions, etc. This isn't a stopper for me, but developers do like to avoid excess bloat wherever possible. For those who cannot abide the extra bloat, this will be a problem.

    3. If developing for phones, a 36.2 MB program is pretty large; vs. the 12.5 MB my app used to be in Qt4. So, if I want to sell a phone app, must I pay 2995 Eu.; and will my app then be small enough? It's nice that it can cross compile for them, and simulate them, but is it the case that LGPL version is just a non-starter here too?

    For cases #1 & maybe #3, LGPL is a non-starter, and it would be good if they would warn prospective programmers. For case #2, the deliverable install size just bloated considerably, although it is not a stopper. I am not ready to be done with it. Unlike wxWidgets, I can get it to do what I want, in most cases, without undue grief; and they have an excellent IDE (I was really amazed at the ease that it integrated with Git; although I've not needed advanced Git features yet). While LGPL sounds really great, further reflection shows problems with it that are not readily apparent for prospective developers.

    The licensing for Qt is way more expensive than most or all of the competing products. I'd like to see that come down; although M$ doesn't have the LGPL users like Qt. It is quite a boon for FOSS software, of course; but this too cuts into their user base. Will this be a benefit or liability for them in the long run? Time will tell. If you want to develop for both Windows and e.g. Linux, or Windows and say, Andriod phones, when they are supported, am I to understand that one must pay for each, and that isn't included in the 2995 Eu? The cost is staggering to use it in those cases where LGPL doesn't work. I'd suggest that they might have e.g. an enterprise edition and a standard edition, so as to provide something for small developers so they could statically link, and not have to pay what are the highest or among the highest prices in the business.

    Note: edited to reflect the removal of unneeded DLL's.

  • I see people here has discussed pretty much how things really stay and I agree that an indie developer license would be a very nice offer - I would totally buy this license. Still, we're stuck with the licenses that Digia is providing right now and we can't do anything about it.
    I am an indie developer too.. well, not really as much of a developer as I just got out of high school with C++ knowledge and I'm experimenting with Qt. But in my mind I have a lot of projects I'd like to make real, some are very small while others are huge projects; and I'd like to get some money out of them so I could afford better hardware to develop on, and something to live.
    As stated before by others, the only thing that would allow me to make money for free out of Qt-made applications is to use LGPL. But while reading the LGPL license I could not understand all the license statements. It may be because my mother tongue is not English... I don't know...

    So, if that's not too much of asking, could someone please explain the LGPL license in a section-by-section manner, so I can understand all the terms and conditions provided along the license?

    Also, another big issue as I could understand is the deploying size of shared libraries. So, while I still don't get all the terms the LGPL license provides, let's suppose I just decide to use it. Then, when compiling the Qt shared libraries, would I be allowed by LGPL to (and how do I) exclude modules from being compiled in the shared libraries to reduce the final size? e.g. in an application I'm trying to get done right now I don't need to use any other modules than QtGUI, QtCore, QtWidgets and maybe QtNetwork - can I compile just those and exclude all the others?
    And last question, still related to shared libraries; a lot of code on the web (not necessarily Qt) is known to have issues when dynamically linked (probably because of not-that-well-done-code). Does Qt have any of these issues?

    Thanks in advance for anyone willing to answer the amount of questions I made :)

  • @T3STY
    There are argument about statically linking with LGPL licence. Since Digia it self advising not to statically link Qt libraries for LGPL users you might better to stay away from it.

    Technically I don't see a point to having issues with dynamic linking unless there are multiple libraries installed in same system. With proper deployment strategy you can avoid it.

    Just see the "Sierdzio"s answer replied on "July 19, 2013". There are answers for all your questions.

  • If I was to set up a petition to get Digia's attention in order to fragment their license prices [as in "I am an indie developer with absolutely no budget, but I would the like to support the product and to GET support and a voice"] - could I expect to get support from all you indie devs out there, and would Digia listen?

    And, where would be the best place(s) to market this petition apart from here?

  • I have absolutely 0 budget but I would love to develop and sell small applications, and once having the money, buy a higher priced license. I actually think this type of license should be available as a default for any commercial frameworks out there where small/alone developers can be properly introduced to the framework and the business (please, let's not argue about whether it's fair or not for all or specific frameworks... just take my word for the concept). So YES, I will totally support you on this!

    Best place? No idea. I mean, the forums is the best place since it's the closest thing to Digia we have. I don't know Digia's history and I can't tell if in past they've followed any petitions on outside websites or whatever. I'll put my trust in it though, and hopefully they'll give us an answer to why yes or why not.
    Let me point out though that we should always start from a direct (or closest) contact with them; a petition is to be used when we can't directly contact the people we address to (in this case, Digia) to express our needs. Suddenly starting a petition outside could be understood as "we have no faith in you, so hear us while we scream", which I would personally take it as (somehow) offensive. That's not what I (we) mean with this petition, so let's make things the right way.

    Would Digia listen? I don't know... I've seen quite a few Qt devels around, I guess they will read this, eventually, and maybe they can put a good word for us. This thread though makes me wonder if the whole is going anywhere... I mean, it's fairly clear what this thread is all about, what we are asking; Digia has for sure read it by now (or somehow, it may have come to their attention), but there have been no "official" words from Digia... only a few experienced devels have answered us. This doesn't mean they're totally ignoring us, but maybe they're waiting for a more explicit request before making a move.

    So, we can give this a try on the forums and see what happens.

  • Qt is great always has been imo, I have nothing bad to say about them at all. I typically only develop open source any way but I do agree that the price rang is a little bit to expensive... On the other hand if it weren't we might not have it all so...
    [quote author="Volker" date="1324248061"]If it's too expensive for your - nobody forces you to buy a license. Go with the LGPL version and be happy. There's nothing to flame about this. If you run a business making money out of the software you build on top of Qt, it's likely that the license fees are negligible compared to the other costs. And there's more you get for the money than only the license, e.g. dedicated support, bug fixes, etc.

    Let's be happy that there are that much options and everyone can choose what fits ones needs.[/quote]

  • One part of yesterdays announcement needs to be added here.

    We listened to your needs and are bringing a indie mobile package with pricing that makes sense for this category of developers.

    Take a look at the blog post here:

    And you can find the indie mobile package directly here:

  • I am an independent desktop developer and i think i'm fine with LGPL (dynamic linking and no mods to qt).
    While developing a commercial application one element i would like to add is automatic updates for my customers, this implies updating executable, data files and dlls, but as far as i understand because of LGPL the customer should be able to use qt dlls they like, so the automatic update system actually fight against LGPL?

  • Hi,
    I am wondering about license model as well.
    I want to use QT for development of small desktop applications, but I do not want to open up my application source code.

    When I go to qt download page at I need to answer a few questions.
    In case of commercial development I am asked for:
    "Do you want to legally protect your product from reverse engineering?"

    What is meant by this exactely? It means that I have to provide my application source code?
    Or is my source code anyhow part of product deployment?

    In case of answering with "Yes", the download page suggests me to download commercial version.

    But, indeed, for my type of applications the prices for QT commercial version is beyond any profitableness for me!

    Who knows exactely?

    Thanks a lot


  • @rrauch The "Do you want to legally protect your product from reverse engineering?" wording is a bit odd. No you don't have to release your sources for code linked against the LGPL Qt... but you do have to enable users to relink with their choice of Qt if they want to, and that means certain options which might be considered to make an application more secure/opaque (principally: use of static linking instead of the dynamic linking generally used to meet LGPL obligations) are closed to you. Quite a bit more on this in the Qt blog post at . It's an interesting spin on things which I doubt will convince many who'd otherwise use LGPL; can't really begrudge Qt Company wanting to cook up and promote any reasons they can come up with for why folks who could use free LGPL should go for a commercial license instead.

  • Just an FYI. I contacted Qt about this. I'm willing to spend money on Qt, but as one developer whose projects probably won't make any money, $4200 ($350 a month) is insane.

    I pretty much spelled it out like this, and whether or not my e-mail had any sway, I can't say:

    1. I want to spend money on Qt. I won't spend $350 a month.
    2. I have no problem complying with the LGPL, but would pay to statically link.
    3. If cheaper licensing terms were available for non business/enterprise users, I would buy Qt. I don't even really need support. I'd buy it just for the convenience of static linking.

    In summary, I want to give you (Qt) my money, but you (Qt) don't seem to want to take it.

    Well, I've got good news. I talked with a rep (Rather, he left me a voicemail since I was at the job that actually makes me money :-)). In his Voice Mail, he said The Qt Company was looking at releasing an indie license in 2016 for $25 a month. There are surely going to be restrictions on this, but I can't imagine they're any different than the standard for these types of things. e.g. No more than X number of users, no more than $X revenue per year, or a company of size N.

    I'm really glad that they're considering this. It's pretty common practice: Microsoft does it (VS Community), Unity 3D does it, JetBrains does it (Discounted single user/free student licenses)... It's almost an industry standard at this point, because students and home users aren't (Really, they just can't) going to shell out thousands of dollars a year for a product. Hopefully they're considering student licenses, too. Those are low risk and get young people using Qt who would be more likely to spend cash for business licenses when the get into the workforce.

  • @rrauch

    LGPL explicitly permits reverse engineering of your software, if I recall.

    Here's the deal: there's nothing stopping somebody from reverse engineering your software anyway. It's just that the LGPL specifically addresses this. RE of software is murky at best. It's not something I would be that concerned with, since it's not something you can prohibit a user from doing.

  • Hi,

    Yes, small / indie licenses are pretty common and we do know that there is a need for them. As far as I know they are still hammering out the details of the license (exactly those "$X revenue, Company size Y" sort of things), but we should have something in the near future.

    Reverse engineering is a long and complex topic. Clean room reverse engineering is legal, but most organisations do not have the required resources to engage in it (it is hard and complicated to prove that you worked in a clean environment). So in practical everyday use the term to my understanding has come to mean non-clean reverse engineering approaches, which for commercial code can be denied in the license. (I'm definitely not a lawyer, so if you really want to know, find a good software lawyer and ask)

    Also as a side note to the older posts, the commercial Qt licenses have traditionally been targeted at larger organisations, who in some cases (whatever their reasons be) do want the limitations and protection of a commercial license.

  • @tekojo

    So I see this conversation started quite some time back but your latest comment at the time of writing this is less than 3 weeks ago. Does this mean that "Indie licencing" or similar is being revisited with a fresh offering as the blog post I came across seemed to suggest that it had been tried and then abandoned?


  • @just_in
    It is being considered and worked on, just not in the form it was before.
    The old 'indie-mobile' license didn't work out as expected, so there needs to be a different angle for the indie developers.

  • So Qt pricing has "improved" from a "one time 6000 euro" to "4200 euro annually". Wow, just wow...

    As for the LGPL license, and the ability of well paid lawyers to interpret things, it seems that while "small fishes" will probably be relatively safe using Qt under LGPL, any well selling app's author will be maliciously prosecuted by a pack of lawyers. Because reality check - if you can't afford 4200 euro annually for Qt, you definitely won't be able to afford good defense in court.

    As others have already noted in this thread, the model where developers have full freedom and their minds at ease, and Digia just gets like 10% of the author's app sales. That seems fair enough.

    At any rate, current Qt pricing is preposterous and absolutely not justified. Get in touch with reality. Qt is pretty much the "best" tool in its category (C++ application dev frameworks), but it is far from great objectively speaking. There are a lot of missing features, there are a lot of features which work backward, there is a lot of feature duplication, bloat and inefficiency, and there are a lot of bugs. It runs perpetually behind schedule, and even bugs which people bothered to report remain unaddressed for years, even if they are highly voted by the community.

    Also, it begs the question, if Qt pricing is now on a per-month basis, does this mean I can purchase Qt for a month, make an application with it in a month, then stop using and paying for Qt and keep selling the app I made in that one month? Or you have to pay for Qt even if you don't use it in order to be able to sell the stuff you made with it?

    As for why I think the pricing is not justified - that can easily be illustrated by means of comparison. In this particular case, I chose a popular content creation suite's subscription plan - Adobe Creative Cloud. It is a suite of applications for creating a wide range of content - audio, video, raster, vector, application and web development, and a bunch of other features, plus content and cloud storage - and all this for 60 euro a month - about 1/6 of the price of Qt, capable of doing about 6 times as much as Qt...

  • Hi,
    As part of yesterdays license update information, we did announce a license for small business use. The details are still being finalised, but it definitely will be on a completely different price level than the pro licenses.

    I can relate with the annoyance of us having not had a license for the small business segment, but it is not a simple thing to try and cater to every possible part of the market. So far it has made most sense to have pro licenses for big companies, while at the same time remember our open source roots. Now we should have everything in line to cater to small companies and start-ups too.

  • So how much is it? At least some approximate price?

  • @iter I'm under the impression that the price would be about one magnitude lower than the current pro licenses, but I really am not involved in those talks. Anyway something that is much more in line with small companies / indie developers expectations.

  • @janfaroe said:
    "As long as you don't modify Qt and don't statically compile, you're good to go."

    @sierdzio said:
    "With LGPL: ... You have to ..."

    IANAL, but I do not believe that this information is complete and totally correct.
    Part of the Qt LGPL states (from

    "The user of your application has to be able to re-link your application ..."
    "... the user needs to be able to run the re-linked binary ..."

    You cannot run your linker to link an updated or modified application with just the copy of your "commercial" exe file and any Qt dll lib files, so you must distribute complete obj files of your application source code. It does not say "re-compile the Qt dll", it says "re-link your application". There is no other way to interpret this license statement.

    It goes on to state:
    "It is your obligation to provide the user with all necessary tools to enable this process."
    "... this includes making the full toolchain used to compile the library available to users."

    So you cannot just give the end user your commercial application exe file, the Qt dll(s), and the Qt source code.
    You must include obj file(s) of your application source, all Qt source, plus all of the tools to re-compile and re-link a new modified exe and dll(s).

    It also states that you must include all of this content in your software package or on your own hosting site address, you cannot simply provide the end-user with an Internet link to to the source code and tools.
    "... a link to the source code provided by the Qt Project or Qt Company is not sufficient."

    If this is not true, then all of the wording of the LGPL license is incorrect.
    Bottom line, it isn't as easy and straight-forward as you may think...

  • Moderators

    Hi, and welcome to the Qt Dev Net!

    @DRGreen said:

    You cannot run your linker to link an updated or modified application with just the copy of your "commercial" exe file and any Qt dll lib files, so you must distribute complete obj files of your application source code. It does not say "re-compile the Qt dll", it says "re-link your application". There is no other way to interpret this license statement.

    IANAL too, but I don't think the linker is required if you use dynamically linked libraries. With the latter, linking occurs when you launch the application, just before it starts running.

    For example, let's say I downloaded a program that was built against Qt 5.5.0. I want to re-link it against Qt 5.6.0 for some performance improvements. All I need to do is replace the Qt 5.5.0 DLLs with Qt 5.6.0 DLLs. Then, the next time I launch the application, it will automatically link against the new DLLs. I do not need to modify the original .exe.

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