July 10, 2011

Stavros Filippidis Stavros Filippidis
Lab Rat
390 posts

[Proposal to Nokia/Qt] Create a “Qt Runtime”

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Do you agree with this proposal?
Yes 17
No 19
Total Votes: 36
You must be a logged-in member to vote

To begin with, I am not a lawyer, and everything written below are some personal thoughts, provided “AS IS”, without any warranty! :-)

It would be very useful, in my opinion, if Nokia/Qt could (from a technical and legal point of view) provide a kind of a “Qt Runtime” for the most common desktop systems. For example, for LGPLed Qt 4.7.3, considering 32bit MS-Windows deployment, it should/could include Qt’s dll-files (QtCore4.dll, QtGui4.dll, QtSql, etc) and other needed files (mingwm10.dll, libgcc_s_dw2-1.dll) for separate download (without having to download the complete SDK), so that the distribution of an executable file created with Qt SDK (an application) could be accompanied with the links from Nokia’s servers for all the needed dll-files without the distributor would have to provide source code of the dll-files as well.

24 replies

July 10, 2011

Zlatomir Zlatomir
Hobby Entomologist
366 posts

I voted “no” – because i’m pretty sure that it’s close to impossible for Trolls to support a Qt runtime.

Think about this: Qt can be built on different platforms and on each platform the programmer is free to use many different compilers and the binary compatibility is broken even between two versions of VC++ – given that what compiler should they use to build the runtime dlls?
Anyway for you as the programmer is easy to create a setup file that contains the correct dlls.

July 10, 2011

Eddy Eddy
Area 51 Engineer
1612 posts

I agree wit Zlatomir. It’s not that hard to provide the dll’s

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July 10, 2011

leon.anavi leon.anavi
Gene Splicer
1217 posts

In my opinion it is up to the developer to create an installer for each supported platform and to ensure that all dependencies will be present so sorry but I voted with No.

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July 10, 2011

Chuck Gao Chuck Gao
Lab Rat
343 posts

“No”, i voted. But thank you for your proposal :-)

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Chuck

July 10, 2011

Stavros Filippidis Stavros Filippidis
Lab Rat
390 posts

Thank you all for your votes! :-)

Please read my initial post more carefully!

Two important points there:

“… for the most common desktop systems …”

and

“… without the distributor would have to provide source code of the dll-files as well …”

So there are some technical but also some legal reasons for my proposal (considering you are developing using LGPLed Qt).

Disclaimers from my initial post apply! ;-)

July 10, 2011

Ivan Čukić Ivan Čukić
Lab Rat
122 posts

I voted yes although I agree with those who voted no for one single reason – autoupdate of Qt.

If it is up to the developer to provide and install Qt, it can lead to
(1) keeping an old version with security issues in, for example, QtWebKit
(2) one application can, on install, overwrite newer version of Qt with an older one that is packaged with it thus breaking the previously installed apps that rely on the new version of Qt

This is, generally, not applicable to free/libre systems since Qt updates with the distro, but for proprietary ones, it could be beneficial.

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Ivan Čukić | ivan.cukic(at)kde.org | KDE e.V.
Qt Ambassador (from the old Nokia days)

July 10, 2011

Ioannis Vranos Ioannis Vranos
Lab Rat
16 posts

I voted yes, I think Qt Frameworks with the free dependencies (with MINGW compiler DLLs for Windows) and the rest systems should be available, in the style that .NET Framework is available for installation for all .NET applications in Windows.

July 10, 2011

Andre Andre
Robot Herder
6420 posts
Ioannis Vranos wrote:
I voted yes, I think Qt Frameworks with the free dependencies (with MINGW compiler DLLs for Windows) and the rest systems should be available, in the style that .NET Framework is available for installation for all .NET applications in Windows.

I really hate that way of working. It leads to applications that require me to first hunt down some runtime package (.net version BlahBah), and only then will the application I am after install. Windows simply does not support a decent repository system like has been the standard on *nix for ages. That makes it neigh on impossible to support an infrastructure where libraries are updated centrally. So, I think the only feasable route is making the app developers responsible (as it is now) on Windows. For that, we don’t need a Qt Runtime. On the other hand, on *nix, the distro’s take the responsibility to provide repo’s make supply updates. Also no Qt Runtime needed. On OSX, I think (but I may be off) that you’re supposed to keep everything needed to run your app in a single bundle anyway: so again, no Qt Runtime needed.

July 10, 2011

Stavros Filippidis Stavros Filippidis
Lab Rat
390 posts

Don’t forget that binaries of Qt for Windows are already available for download from Qt’s website. The only difference in the proposal is a request to have, for these binaries, the ability to download specific dlls as well!

Also, all answers focus on technical matters, while the proposal could help with some legal issues as well, for closed sourced applications developed with LGPLed Qt.

Disclaimers from my initial post apply! :-)

July 10, 2011

Volker Volker
Ant Farmer
5428 posts

External dependencies are cumbersome for the user to handle with. I fully agree with André here. There’s nothing to add for the Linux and Mac part. On Windows one will most probably need an installer anyways, so include the DLLs there. And if the Qt libs were auto updated from some external source it may break an existing application. So no from my side. It’s a maintenance nightmare in my opinion it does more harm than help…

July 11, 2011

ucomesdag ucomesdag
Lab Rat
243 posts

I have to say I totally agree with Andre on this one.

Andre wrote:

Ioannis Vranos wrote:
I voted yes, I think Qt Frameworks with the free dependencies (with MINGW compiler DLLs for Windows) and the rest systems should be available, in the style that .NET Framework is available for installation for all .NET applications in Windows.

I really hate that way of working. It leads to applications that require me to first hunt down some runtime package (.net version BlahBah), and only then will the application I am after install. Windows simply does not support a decent repository system like has been the standard on *nix for ages. That makes it neigh on impossible to support an infrastructure where libraries are updated centrally. So, I think the only feasable route is making the app developers responsible (as it is now) on Windows. For that, we don’t need a Qt Runtime. On the other hand, on *nix, the distro’s take the responsibility to provide repo’s make supply updates. Also no Qt Runtime needed. On OSX, I think (but I may be off) that you’re supposed to keep everything needed to run your app in a single bundle anyway: so again, no Qt Runtime needed.

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Write “Qt”, not “QT” (QuickTime).

July 11, 2011

Andre Andre
Robot Herder
6420 posts

Stavros Filippidis wrote:
Don’t forget that binaries of Qt for Windows are already available for download from Qt’s website. The only difference in the proposal is a request to have, for these binaries, the ability to download specific dlls as well!

What “specific dlls” are you talking about then? And who is supposed to do that downloading, in your plan? In my view:
  • The developer doesn’t need them, as he has the full SDK or some custom build Qt already, and
  • The end user should not be bothered with them, as he is only interested in running the application, not in resolving any external dependencies that application may have.

So who would benefit?

Also, all answers focus on technical matters, while the proposal could help with some legal issues as well, for closed sourced applications developed with LGPLed Qt.

What legal issues, exactly? LGPL explictly allows you to distribute binary versions of the libraries in question, and as long as you did not modify the sources, you are not required to assume responsibility for their distribution in source form. If you are not specific, claiming that there are legal issues surrounding LGPL is just spreading FUD, IMHO.

July 11, 2011

Stavros Filippidis Stavros Filippidis
Lab Rat
390 posts

Andre wrote:

Also, all answers focus on technical matters, while the proposal could help with some legal issues as well, for closed sourced applications developed with LGPLed Qt.
What legal issues, exactly? LGPL explictly allows you to distribute binary versions of the libraries in question, and as long as you did not modify the sources, you are not required to assume responsibility for their distribution in source form. If you are not specific, claiming that there are legal issues surrounding LGPL is just spreading FUD, IMHO.

Do you really Andre think that “LGPL explictly allows you to distribute binary versions of the libraries in question, and as long as you did not modify the sources, you are not required to assume responsibility for their distribution in source form.”?

Well, I am not a lawyer either, but what was the point on which you think I wasn’t specific? I have placed some specific questions on the issue “does someone who distributes LGPLed dlls with their application has to distribute their unchanged source as well?” at http://developer.qt.nokia.com/wiki/LicensingQuestions (it has been edited by others as well) and after many months no answer was given. I am making very responsible questions and proposals. I have not “claimed … legal issues surrounding(sic) LGPL” as you mentioned. IMHO, things that are “spreading FUD” are the ones I read in your answer. :-)

.

One might also be interested in viewing http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-java.html (last accessed by me: Monday, July 11, 2011), and pay special attention at the paragraph

“When you distribute the library with your application (or on its own), you need to include source code for the library. But if your application instead requires users to obtain the library on their own, you don’t need to provide source code for the library.”

Since I am not a lawyer I do not know if this is an analogous situation with the one we are discussing, so read and decide for yourself.

Maybe I am wrong! So yes, IMHO, my proposal will “free” developers from the obligation of the distribution of the dlls (as well as the source code of the dlls), so I think a legal issue is associated with this proposal.

July 11, 2011

Volker Volker
Ant Farmer
5428 posts

You’re obliged to provide the source on request, not with every binary you deliver. So, this should hardly be a problem. And as you use an unmodified version of Qt you can always point to the original archives of Trolltech/Nokia/…

July 11, 2011

Stavros Filippidis Stavros Filippidis
Lab Rat
390 posts
Volker wrote:
… as you use an unmodified version of Qt you can always point to the original archives of Trolltech/Nokia/…

I am not sure if this matter could be solved as simply as you describe. I mean, I wish it could, but … I just don’t know. That is why I believe it would be very useful to have an official answer from Nokia/Qt on http://developer.qt.nokia.com/wiki/LicensingQuestions

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