Nils Christian Flinder Roscher-Nielsen

Qt + Start-Ups = Awesome !

Published Tuesday March 8th, 2016
33 Comments on Qt + Start-Ups = Awesome !
Posted in Announcements, Biz Circuit & Dev Loop, Licensing

Qt has always been a technology available for everyone. From the very beginning, it was open source. Qt’s innovative licensing model has enabled a vast number of people and companies to use Qt under a license that allows them to satisfy their individual project needs. With our renewed agreement with KDE, we have been enabled to offer even more features to the open source community, while also bringing value to our commercial users. We see a continued and growing interest in our commercial offering and are now in a position to provide an alternate licensing solution for smaller businesses. With the new agreement, we promised to deliver a solution for small businesses, and today, we are proud to announce the details of the new commercial license offering for start-ups!

What is so excellent about this license offering compared to former “Indie” schemes is that you can distribute your applications to all our supported desktop and mobile platforms. In other words, this license covers application development the very same way our standard Qt for Application Development license does. It entitles you to the full usage of Qt for Application Development and the freedom to package and sell your product under terms and conditions of your own choosing under the full commercial Qt license!


Now get this!
We want to kick-start this license offering with a great deal: For the first sixty days after release, if you commit to a yearly subscription, the monthly equivalent will be only $49/month! That gives you full access to develop on and deploy to all our supported desktop and mobile platforms, for only $588.

After the introduction offering ends, we will still offer a significant advantage to those who commit to a year, with an equivalent price of $79 per month, summing up to an annual price of $948. In case you want more flexibility, our standard pricing of this license will come in two flavors, and the most flexible option is to pay as you go, for only $99 per month through monthly billing.

So now is the time to decide what you want to pay: $49, $79 or $99 per month? The choice is yours!

So, what is the catch, you might ask? As an offering for start-ups, this license is reserved for companies that are actually still small. To qualify for this license, your annual revenue cannot exceed $100,000.  We really hope this will increase the adoption of Qt for all the innovators out there aiming to bring the next big thing market, and how great would it be if we could all proudly say “Hey, that’s built with Qt!”

So, how to get this? Hold on, but not for long! The product is available for purchase very soon: we will roll this out with the Qt 5.6 release that is right around the corner!

For more details, and soon, for purchase, see the start-up plan web page!

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Posted in Announcements, Biz Circuit & Dev Loop, Licensing


Tim says:

Question: For the apparently small number of us who took up the old “Indy” multi-mobile OS licensing while it was offered… are we going to find ourselves forced onto this new scheme, or will that continue to run as it does currently?

(I certainly do welcome this new licensing option though, as an option… previously I couldn’t have contemplated the license costs associated with commercial release on desktop platforms… this makes it something I may well consider though)

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Tim,
thanks for showing an interest in our new offering. Long term we hope this much more comprehensive offering can be a great substitute for the Indie Mobile plan.
We will not discontinue the Indie Mobile offering just yet, but as we have previously communicated, it will not be available forever.
Not to worry though, we appreciate all existing customers, and will reach out to each of you holding an Indie Mobile license shortly to discuss the path forwards!

Best regards
Nils Christian

Firat says:

If you ‘ll discontinue the indie mobile license, then I will unsubscribe the Qt ‘s commerical licensing.

I ‘m really tired about changing license and discontinuing decisions. I ‘m making non-profit useful mobile applications. But I ‘ve also don’t wanna release my source code and your changing license models constantly. And you are saying, you ‘ll discontinue the indie mobile in the future? Sorry!..

I ‘m gonna switch to V-Play indie license . At least they have really good integrations for making game and applications. Plus, they have good 3rd party plugins (facebook, analytics etc…)

More importantly, They proved that I can rely on for their decisions for a long time.

Marco Piccolino Marco Piccolino says:

Firat, V-Play’s licenses come on top of Qt licenses, not as an alternative to them

Firat Agdas says:

That ‘s too bad. Thanks for the explaination.

Jorge says:

What about a license plan for students? Yes, I know there is a free version but there are some components just available through paid license, when you will take into account students?

Tero Kojo Tero Kojo says:

We are looking at how we can work together with universities and that includes a possible educational license.

In the mean time Qt 5.7 will include quite many new modules in the open source version, which should interest students.

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Jorge,

We are always trying to improve our offering, so that everyone can use Qt.
Students is a very important group, and I learned about Qt in university myself, through the open source version. We try to make the best offering possible available to student. Between this Start-Up plan and our open source licenses there might be some room for improvement.

Pritpal Bedi says:


Will an Indie license is upgradable to start-up license ? I mean, will a Qt account with Indie license will have an option to upgrade to this license ?

Also can you enlighten if start-up license distro will contain pre-built static binaries for Windows desktop ?

Pritpal Bedi
a student of software analysis & conceps
Creator: Qt Bindings for Harbour :

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Pritpal,

Yes, we will reach out to all of the current Indie Mobile license holders to discuss the various paths forward.

This package will include the same pre built binaries as the regular Qt for Application Development package. They are dynamically linked, but you are free to build your own statically linked libraries.

Kalileo says:

I’m happy to see that Qt cares for the small guys with the small budgets. I really like the ” all our supported desktop and mobile platforms” part of it. This is an offer I will certainly try to use.

gyll says:

This monthly payments licensing model, I don’t get it. So say i spend 5 years developing an app using the open source Qt, then i decide i want publish it a closed source. So what you’re saying is that i can buy a one month subscription, and with those $99 i can publish a complex closed source application that actually took 5 years to develop? Or to put it another way, i can publish a closed source app that’s valued at some $50,000 just in engineering work with an extra cost of $99?

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Gyll,

No, this is not the case at all. Our licensing terms are pretty clear and strict on this, to protect both the open source and the commercial license.
Whatever you develop under the Open Source license, is tied to that, and cannot easily be change like this. If you want to distribute or deploy something with a commercial license, you need to start the development of that code with a commercial license as well.
Also, all team members working on a project should use the same licensing model. Feel free to get in touch with us to discuss the terms and conditions in more detail if you want.

Thanks for a great and important question.

gyll says:

Okay, maybe my question wasn’t stated clearly enough.
I did read the licensing FAQ and i did see there that one is “not allowed” to work for years on a project using the free Qt toolkit, and then, once everything is done to the last nut and bolt, you just buy a one-month license and compile your your project with closed source license. However, my question actually relates to how can you possibly *enforce* this, *both legally and morally*.

Let me give you a very specific example, say i want to write a network chat program: in this case the development process is split between the app’s core logic (app core) and the the OS integration (i.e. file system access, networking, GUI, etc). In both of the above (app core and OS integration) i can sure enough use the Qt classes directly, in which case my entire development process will be tied to the Qt platform; however, an alternative way to do it (and i would argue this is the right way to do it) is to first define *my own classes* in terms of their interfaces, and then write their implementation using *whatever primitives i like, including functions/classes provided by Qt*. At the end of the day, i’ll have spent 5 years working on my project, out of which only one month on writing the *implementation* of my wrapper classes using Qt’s primitives.

gyll says:

To rise:
a) the entire project is developed using the open source Qt platform (Qt creator, dbugger, etc etc etc)
b) during the project development i write wrapper classes over Qt, and i only use *my* classes in my project
c) when everything is done, i see that i have been *effectively tied to using Qt* for just one month during the entire course of my project, and i can honestly, *or dishonestly*, claim that i have been using Qt only at the very last stage of my 5 year project, for system integration only.

Let us consider for now just the case where i am an *honest* developer who starts a project, but knows nothing about whether the project will ever come to fruition or not. I might be spending years with trying out algorithms, or i might be pausing work on my project long periods of time (for whatever reasons), and i might even be using a different IDE than Qt’s. Then, at the end of the development process, i see that it all fits together and my project is a success. So now, *at thye very last stage*, i want to write Qt-based implementations for my classes, and use the commercial license for that. How can you claim, not just in court, but also morally, that The Qt Company must be in any way rewarded for all the years that i have spent doing all the *Qt-independent* part of the project work? Doesn’t this translate to saying that “you can only start a commercial license Qt-based project from scratch”? In which case, what does it mean “from scratch”? Say i already have in my portfolio an audio lib, a networking lib, and a GUI lib, which were all *designed to be portable* on multiple host frameworks by being built on top of wrapper classes; then any such work that i have in my portfolio cannot be used in Qt commercial-based project?

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Gyll,

The comments on a blog is unfortunately not the best place to provide legal counsel to anonymous participants.
We value an open conversation, and therefor have open forums for such issues, and are easy to reach.

We also hope that as a commercial and open source community we can make simple guidelines that are possible to follow. Both morally and legally.
If you are as interested in discussing with us as it seems, to understand all the details pertaining to your case, feel free to get in touch with us directly.

sincerely, Nils Christian

gyll says:

Hey Nils,

>>”If you are as interested in discussing with us as it seems”…

Well, actually i’m not, the LGPLed Qt works just fine for me. The reason for me starting this discussion was to try to point out, both to you and to the general public, how fundamentally flawed these non-perpetual licensing schemes are. In my view, the very fact that you can’t have a legal text that will clearly state what you can and what you cannot do with such a subscription-based license, and, instead, you need to invite users to contact The Qt Comp one-on-one, speaks for itself.

J0hn says:

So how do you determine if an application was developed with the open source or the commercial license? You employ a psychic or what?

Also, the more important part of the OP question IMO – is a commercial license needed only during the development of the application or during its distribution as well?

@J0hn: Qt for Application Development license allows to continue distribution after the subscription period ends. In case you want to make modifications to the application (bugfixes, new features), a valid subscription is needed. So the intention is that as long as you are actively developing or maintaining your application, the subscription is paid.

Johan says:


Good to see alternatives for start-ups with limited funds!

Question: Are you considering a similar scheme for Qt for Device Creation, for us start-ups working with embedded, IoT, and similar?

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Johan,

thanks for this great idea! We are always trying to improve our offering, and all ideas are welcome and will be evaluated.
We have thought about this a bit already, but have no immediate plans to release something like this at the moment.

skiter says:

Is there any chance to have ‘single developer’ licence cheaper that ‘start-up’ mode?

For example, I’m developing app for my own needs, and as part of IOS app i must bundle all ‘dlls’ into, so is much better for me to have static link than dynamic link.

Problem is, that licence is to expensive for one person, to create application that is: free! But cost of that free app is get bigger of Qt licence.

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Skiter,

No, we don’t have another offering cheaper than this, except our Open Source offering which is completely open and free of charge from The Qt Company.
I understand that it is difficult to pay anything, if you don’t make money, but that is why we have an open source based offering.

Good luck, and thanks for using Qt.

xuxiang says:

1. Does it mean that it will be $588 per year if I renew every year? (Suppose my annual revenue not exceed $100,000.)
2. Will there be an option to commit, say 2-5 years, for a discount price?

Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen Nils Christian Roscher-Nielsen says:

Hi Xuxiang,

It means that it will be $588 for the first year, and then $988 each of the following years, equivalent to $79/month.
No, we have no plans to introduce a commitment to more than one year at this point. As far as we understand, very few Start-Ups or small companies have such a long time horizon for their development strategy.

xuxiang says:

Thanks for your clear explanation!

Mikalai Arapau says:


Is Qt for Device Creation license also included?


With this new licencing model are we now legally permitted to statically link?

@SCOTT: Yes. It is a full commercial license, so you can link statically, prevent reverse engineering, no need to publish source code of Qt, etc.

Vinsolo says:

Great to see this new offering!…
and to see that you guys are committed to fostering innovation in the Qt community by giving solo developers/smaller companies a very reasonable and very competitive price option.
Its great to have access to the commercial level Application Development for Desktop and Mobile platforms. Very excellent pricing as compared to Unity/Xamarin/etc. Sign Me Up!

One question:
As a solo developer, getting hung up on an issue and not being able to find resolution via qt blogs/googling/etc can be quite frustrating, and more importantly a big impact on the development timeline. Have you/will you….consider offering a separate support pack, where smaller developer(s) could pay for support as needed, I know i would if it was available. The $300+ a month package is quite an expensive deal to be locked into, especially if support is not needed very often. Maybe some other package addressing indie support might be possible?

Andriy Gerasika says:

will Qt Quick Compiler be available for Qt/Startup license?

@Andriy: Yes. Content is exactly the same as in regular Qt for Application Development.

dcs says:


Commenting closed.

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