[PyKDE] PyQwt win32 binary?

Phil Thompson phil at river-bank.demon.co.uk
Tue Jan 30 17:38:34 GMT 2001

Scott Prive wrote:
> Phil Thompson wrote:
> > > > And does this mean the PyQt binary for windows won't be free in the
> > > > future?  Oh well, Tk it is then.
> > >
> > > I believe so, but I'd leave commenting on that to Phil and The Kompany. PyQt
> > > is the only I'll code for windows.  I find PyQt much more "intuitive" as a
> > > newcomer to GUI Toolkits than Tk.  I needed a book for my first Tk program,
> > > but only an article for writing my first using PyQt, so I'm hooked.
> >
> > Yes, I will no longer be producing a binary release of PyQt for Windows.
> Respectfully, I would ask "why"? I'm not sure  how many people use PyQT, but I
> suspect it is important to at least a few. The spirit of the answer is important.

I'll try to answer this fully - don't read anything into it that isn't
there. These are my personal opinions, I'm not speaking for either
theKompany or Trolltech.

There is no single reason for deciding not to continue to release a PyQt
binary for Windows. There were a number of influences over the

1. Was it legal? This isn't clear. Trolltech's licensing is, as you say,
confusing. However, when they drew it up I guess they didn't consider
the case where somebody would obtain a commercial Qt license and then
give away the resulting application. Trolltech have never, either
explicitly, implicitly, officially or unofficially, used obscene words
like "lawyer", "court" and "make you homeless". In all my dealings with
Trolltech (including a visit to Oslo) they have been supportive of what
I have been doing. However that situation is unsatisfactory - what if
somebody changed their mind, what it Microsoft bought Trolltech?

2. Was it against the spirit of what Trolltech intended with their
license? Yes it was. Trolltech's view of the world is that they want a
cut if you are selling an application that uses Qt, but don't if you are
giving it (and the source) away. My guess is that there is an assumption
that anybody developing Windows software is going to sell it rather than
give it away - hence no GPLed Windows version of Qt - or maybe Windows
people don't have the same respect for software licenses that UNIX
people do. By using a (possible) loophole in the Qt license I was
creating something that went against the spirit (if not the letter) of
that license.

With the one exception of dropping the free Windows binaries I believe
the arrangement we now have with PyQt remaining free, BlackAdder
providing the ability to develop cross-platform commercial applications
at a much lower cost of entry than with C++, and with the full support
of Trolltech (who are promoting BlackAdder themselves) benefits

I would have felt differently if I'd been providing Windows binaries for
a long time, or that I knew there was a large established user base. The
losers are those people who came to PyQt only because the Windows
binaries were made available and they no longer have a free upgrade path
(not that they were guaranteed one anyway). To those, I apologise (but
the Personal Edition of BlackAdder isn't that expensive, honest).

> If you mean, "no time, someone else can do it", or "it's competition with Black
> Adder" (not really, but the runtime is a valid arguement) then that just means
> someone else can step up and provide Windows-based packaging, provided they have
> the standard Qt development license (right?). Or, hopefully someone would.

As PyQt has a very liberal license, then anybody else is free to create
their own binaries and deal with any issues as they choose.

> If however, this is due to erm, the confusing nature of Troll Tech's licensing,
> or if for example TT adopted the attitude "people won't license our Qt
> development tools if you provide one for free", then that IS distrurbing...
> especially after all the PR Troll Tech generated by making Qt "free". Personally,
> a freely distributable runtime means I am *more* likely to buy something.

Be fair - if somebody said (not that they have) "people won't license
our Qt development tools if you provide one for free" then I would
sympathise with them completely. It is in nobody's interest to put
Trolltech out of business (least of all mine). What Trolltech have done
is to help us considerably lower the entry cost of Qt development. They
are taking a risk and I applaud them for doing so. They will lose some
revenue because some businesses are going to choose to develop in Python
rather than C++ purely because the software purchase costs are less (a
really stupid reason if you ask me). But (hopefully) they will gain much
more than they lose because Qt development is now within the reach of
millions of home and business users.

I don't understand your last comment - if you buy either Qt/C++ or the
Business Edition of BlackAdder, then the runtime (including Qt) is
freely distributable.

> I'm no expert on licenses -- but I think Troll Tech's bass-ackwards licensing,
> especially towards crossplatform distribution (esp. Windows) has done MUCH to
> keep Tk alive, and relegating their great toolkit to various free Linux/UNIX apps
> and internal-use applications. For example, my company makes IRIX and
> NT software, and was looking for common toolkit options. They wanted to consider
> Qt, but the arguement against it was it's "too low profile" -- the job market is
> full of MFC programmers. We went with MS MFC and some UNIX portability libraries,
> much to my disgust.

The "too low profile" argument is perfectly valid if the cost of
finding, training and retaining staff is an important component of the
software development costs. Despite what techies like to think, choosing
a piece of technology isn't as simple as choosing what works the best.

Trolltech aren't relegating their toolkit in the way you suggest. As far
as I can tell they are selling commercial licenses by the shedload - you
just don't get to find out about all the commercial applications that
are written using Qt.

> This last paragraph is not so much a question, but a rant.   I think a lot of
> people want to write Linux software, but at the same time offer it for Windows
> (even though Windows users don't deserve it. heh :)

Give your application away on Linux and charge Windows user's for it
(not much) as they expect to pay for software anyway. That gives a
positive message about Linux (the land were software is free), but
allows you to make a bit of cash and recover the cost of your BlackAdder

Idea for a web site: a clearing house for $10 Windows applications,
provides a repository to store the applications, accepts credit card
payments, provides a one-time URL for the user to download the
application once payment has been verified.


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