What's In A Name? That Which We Call Qt, By Any Other Name Would Code As Well...

Renaming a company can be a torturous process. Developing the new brand, getting the word out, and answering questions can be long and grueling, and at least some customers are bound to be upset, and possibly quite vocal about it. Not everyone is willing to brave these waters, though Nokia obviously is, as it announced today the renaming of its corporate Qt division, Qt Software.

Those that have been following the Qt toolkit for some time will know that Qt Software was not the original name of the project's corporate arm. Qt's first corporate parent was Trolltech, founded in 1994 by the original Qt developers, Haavard Nord and Eirik Chambe-Eng. In January of 2008, cellphone-giant Nokia bought Trolltech for $153 million, and when the deal was finished in October, the company was renamed Qt Software.

In January, just months after the renaming, Nokia put to a final end one of the great sagas of the Open Source world by announcing that, from version 4.5 — the current release — Qt would be tri-licensed, adding the LGPL to its own proprietary license and the GPL, added in 2005. Those involved with Linux from the early days will recall that the GNOME desktop environment sprang out of the KDE/Qt licensing controversies of the mid-1990s.

Nokia has now decided that Qt Software isn't quite the right appellation, and as of today, has renamed the division Qt Development Frameworks. Along with the new name comes a new website, qt.nokia.com, with information about both Qt's Open-Source development and the commercial support and licensing options offered by Qt Development Frameworks. Nokia's Director of Global Sales, Marketing, and Services, Daniel Kihlberg, shared the rationale behind the change:

We want to increase the use of Qt by mobile developers and to achieve this we've strengthened our name's link to the Nokia brand. The progress of our new Qt for S60 product and our future involvement in Maemo are examples of how Qt will reach out to mobile developers in addition to desktop and web developers.

We selected Qt Development Frameworks because at the end of the day, our goal is to provide developers with the best framework: Qt.

Rest assured, nothing is changing with the Qt framework itself — just the name of the people backing it. If you're looking to grab your own copy, though, or to send someone else to pick up theirs, be sure to take note of the forwarding address.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.

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