Key open source project makes critical change; locks out community developers

open source software
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The Qt company, which oversees the development of a key open source framework, has restricted the development of its latest Long Term Support (LTS) release to paying licensees.

The move follows the announcement it made last year in a bid to foster their commercial operations.

In January 2020, the Finland-based company, which develops the Qt framework that’s widely used by open source projects, most noticeably the KDE project, informed the community about its decision to restrict LTS releases of the framework to its commercial customers only.

Commercial LTS releases

The company put that plan into action yesterday with the Qt 5.15 LTS release. 

“All the existing 5.15 branches remain publicly visible, but they are closed for new commits,” wrote Tuukka Turunen, chairman of the Qt project and the Senior Vice President, R&D at the company.

Going forward only commercial license holders will be able to access the private repository for the Qt 5.15 LTS release, which will come out sometime in February.

Despite the company’s year long notice, Turunen’s message to the mailing list caught several developers by surprise. That’s because thanks to the nature of open source development, work was already underway for point releases in the 5.15 series. 

Fork it

Expectedly, Turunen’s notice about locking the development midstream has ruffled quite a few feathers and upset long-term contributors, such as Intel’s Thiago Macieira. 

Macieira responded to Turunen’s post saying that going forward he’ll “not be participating in the development,” adding that he’ll simply close bug reports that cannot be reproduced in Qt 6.0. Qt 6.0 is the next non-LTS release that is currently in very early stages of development. 

In true open source fashion, there’s already a proposal to fork the current release and create a 5.15-free branch. 

Although no one seems to have any issues with the Qt company wanting to make money off its efforts, the manner in which it has gone about it though has upset its community.

Via: DevClass

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.