Elop is after me

Back in 2005, my small company had an active customer base of more than 15,000 developers using our plugins. These were extensions (Xtras) for Macromedia Director, at the time the number one tool for authoring of CD-ROM and online games published via Shockwave. The global Director developers community was composed of 300,000+ professionals, not counting the illegal copies. Sure, Flash (also from Macromedia) was starting to become a powerhouse and was competing strongly with its older brother. But development of both software continued at a healthy pace, and the collaboration between both teams resulted in the opportunity to use Director as a container for Flash media, with a bright outlook for both. Director was still the tool of choice for 3D games, kiosks, CD-ROMS and lots of projects where the ability to extend the environment with C++ code was required, with embedded Flash elements providing the eye candy and an army of designers that were used to the platform.
Then Elop was elected CEO of Macromedia. And some months later, the company was sold to Adobe. A nice and stable transition was assured at the time. Director was not to be killed, like Freehand and some others. And it fact it wasn’t. The Director product team had a good channel of communication with the community at the time, and from them we were told that several options were being considered for the future, we just had to wait a bit for the dust to settle.
Looking back, it would have been better if the product was sold to another company, or it Adobe management had clearly stated from the start that no significant updates were planned. Instead, Director remained alive at Adobe as a cash cow, with a reduced team that was strangled slowly, always waiting for better news “in the near future”. It was planned obsolescence, and it continues until today: there were sporadic releases (to reap the upgrade fees) and this helped keep some content created in Director still alive. Nowadays the developer community consists mostly of old timers who are maintaining their legacy projects, and struggling against an aging code base that is minimally supported. There were more than 40 companies producing Xtras for Director circa 2002, and from these only 1 or 2 (including ours) is still active. This is mostly out of respect to the existing customers and the investment they have made on the “ecosystem”, as keeping this business alive (support and minimal maintenance costs) is something that has not generated a profit for me in the last two years.

So I was not happy to see Elop (after graduating from Adobe and Microsoft, which surely increased his business “skills”) took over the role of Nokia CEO. Oh, oh… spider sense ticked off. Luckily, the other shoe dropped almost as quickly, also in a matter of months, as we all know by now.

There is, however, a significant distinction between both scenarios. Director was never free software. There was no option: some from the community even tried the only possible route, which was to acquire the product, but Adobe did not want to let it go, probably out of fear that it will compete strongly again with Flash. So the “strangling” of the community succeeded. Qt, on the other hand, is free software. And KDE has also secured the FreeQt agreement. So, thanks to the L(GPL) and the efforts of the community, there is a way out.

I read several blogs asking for restrain and calling a fork “premature”. I respect those opinions, but having lived through a previous elopcalypse, I beg to differ. A small part of me hopes I am wrong, but I believe a fork is not only necessary, but inevitable. And I think KDE is the place where this fork should live, with kdelibs and qt forming an unified platform where truly free (in license, cost and development direction) software can be built. Everyone knows the problems KDE developers and the community have with their patches being integrated in Qt.: with a Qt tree living inside KDE we would be free to apply true open source principles to the development, and let it thrive in the way our software has. I understand Qt Software inside Nokia is implementing open governance and all, and I trust the people in charge of this initiative. But again, their power is limited. I respectfully must say that any initiative led by Nokia or their employees will never be truly open in the sense KDE is. And the axe might fall again in a couple of months, and then again. And the good people will be gone. Qt developers would have migrated to another environments. And the opportunity will be lost.

Some will say: but then we will loose the Nokia-sponsored development. This is true. But these are already gone, or will be gone soon, IMHO.

Well, we can check this in 2 years, and I will certainly buy a round of beer to everyone at the 2013 Desktop Summit if I am wrong. In fact, I will be happy to do so, and I would be happy to be wrong as it would mean less work for KDE. But I got tired of the “calm down” posts. Putting it in blunt words, we can no longer trust Nokia or depend on it for the core framework KDE needs. Even if most Nokians are very good guys, brilliant engineers and a joy to work with, the new management has shown its true face. Two months ago they were drafting developers in Dublin for Meego, and some people dedicated their time and resources to support the Qt-everywhere promise. This commitment has been broken, and it will not be the first one. Reading the join press release (Elop and Ballmer, come on) feels like an April’s Fool joke, honestly. Just stare at the photo for a while. We can not expect any FLOSS love from these guys, sorry. Like KDE, Meego is hurt, but it can also recover if Qt moves to a truly open upstream repository. Qt, imho, can no longer be controlled by Nokia: development has to happen in the open and be governed like a true community project, like KDE. I can imagine that such a move would make other Meego players happier as well.

62 thoughts on “Elop is after me”

  1. Fully Agree With You :

    – I think, and according to the Qt communicate, I will happens exactly the same things : Qt will slowly death and not be resseled to avoid to have a concurrent
    – We need react soon and not wait … what will said Nokia, will be lie … we can’t trust Nokia anymore…
    – For the moment Nokia needs Developer Community .. it’s now that we must do a big pression … after it’s too late …
    – There will be a big lay off in Finnish Nokia company
    – The european communitity has paid for symbian : http://blog.symbian.org/2010/11/01/euromillions-for-the-symbian-ecosystem-e22m-committed-to-next-generation-technologies-for-symbian/
    In fact, it has paid to help Nokia in his transition to WP7 … it’s unacceptable …
    – We need to organise us, and KDE is the way, I suppose….

  2. Open Governance has already proved to be a joke. Lots of talk on a mailing list while at the same time the “Contribution Model” was getting worse and worse on Gitorious.

    Planning now how to develop Qt in the KDE community is necessary. If Nokia was sincere about open governance, they can join the effort. It is dangerous waiting for them to completely fail before taking action.

  3. As much as I hate to accept it, I tend to agree that a fork might be inevitable. It doesn’t seem likely they’ll manage and maintain Qt properly in the long term, and they probably won’t sell such great, powerful technology to (potential) competitors.

    Not sure if the fork should be tied closely to KDE though. Maybe some independent foundation would be better for attracting non-kde contributors.

    Hopefully relevant stakeholders like KDE, KDAB, BasysKom, Intel etc., can get together and start talking and making plans very shortly.

  4. Restraining ourself does not prevent us to be carefull. There is plenty of time before a fork of Qt becomes needed. Right now, Nokia funding is continue to happen for sometime, they still have other desktop customers funding the development, so there is no reason to rush.

    1. I agree that we need to be careful: it is not like I am advocating to start this weekend. But at the same time there is the risk of loosing the window of opportunity. Nokia’s own are apparently not afraid: http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/nokia-workers-walk-out-in-protest-20110211/

      We all have dear friends of Nokia and I see that a fork can be considered an “attack” on their work and careers. This is not the case at all: if Nokia is serious about open governance and Qt as future “research” they should welcome a community-led version, and throw their best engineers at it.

      But I think management there needs to know that the community will not tolerate the “cook them up for a while” approach. They need to know that someone will be ready to fork if they do not provide good answers and real commitment to an open Qt very soon. How soon? Let’s say: in one-two months? :)

  5. I agree, I think we should tell the world, KDE, NO NOKIA!. This must happen now if we want the support of distributions and businesses. KDE is not damaged, which is our reputation is damaged. We need to differentiate. How will I give contributions of code to Qt if this agreement now, I have wasted so much money on Qt / Symbian?. If KDE and Trolltech not say things clearly, our image will be damaged irreparably.

    I feel that Mr. Elop is preparing the ground for purchase and acquisition of hostile takeover by Microsoft, Nokia. For this reason interest in the stock market crash that Nokia. Messrs. Kai Oistamo, Tero Ojanpera Niklas Savander or you are preparing the ground. The other positions are men of trust, as Miss Mary T. McDowell, I do not understand their role in this game. Here the only people in the policy that they had had courage were Oli-Pekka and especially Anssi Vanjoki.
    Microsoft is accumulated enough capital to launch this hostile takeover bid two years ago and I take a bet on beer to be produced in the coming Christmas.

    PS: I can hardly write in English, sorry if I could not express myself properly.

  6. Hey Maury,

    I also believe one can’t ever trust a company, and I’m also on your side on the “calm down” posts (boring) – I like to see action, explosions, sex and violence. So I would not really see the trouble starting a non-official port of Qt and just calling it something else – to be switched to in case of emergencies.

    But that’s just this software desperado’s most humble opinion.

    BTW your kid looks really big now, tell him his uncle gamaral says “hi”.

    1. I relayed your “hi”, thanks… Guess it is the latin american blood in us that sees things under a more “passionate” light. Or growing up watching soap operas, who knows!

  7. Leopards do not change their spots. I certainly do not think the GPL side of Qt will benefit from his, um leadership. I fully expect Etop to do one of the following;

    1. He will use the proprietary licensed side of Qt as a ligature to slowly strangle the GPL side.

    2. He will do something similar to how Sun (over the years) handled Java.

    3. He will do an Oracle and start using legal bats to discourage the GPL side of Qt; but it will be couched so as to not be readily apparent.

    4. Do the same as he did with your past project; use “promises” and “be patient” as a low grade toxin to slowly poison Qt.

    In the end I see nothing of benefit Nokia will gain from this. I cannot think of a company that has partnered with Microsoft (especially one that came from their ranks) and fully attained the pie-in-the-sky aspirations of profit. Just ask Novel how well that went.

    This action which Nokia fails to comprehend is a typical maneuver; it is a containment action designed to kill off aspects of a partnered company they perceive as a threat. In this case it is all things FOSS that Nokia had done well at supporting.

    When you partner with a company that makes no attempt at hiding their efforts to game standards bodies you can be sure there will be no good coming from this or Nokia’s “new” leader.

  8. Good post! I tend to agree but still see no hurry to go for a fork immediately.
    Meego has already an independent home at the Linux Foundation. Maybe Qt belongs there as well. And maybe its time to think about the KDE Linux distribution. It could (should) be based on Meego. That would also send a clear sign to Nokia and Microsoft.
    Overall I can’t understand Nokias move. But I wish them more luck than all the other failed MS partnerships experiencend.

  9. Definitely.

    C.f., Java and Sun vs. Java and Oracle.

    The source tree needs to be cloned off and a LibreQT project to be spun up in the face of the likely occurance: the freeze of QT development by Nokia in favor of WP7.

    1. Well, if it comes to this at least the .org domain is secured, as of 10 minutes ago :)

      I must admit I was not considering the fact mentioned by other posters that they think this decision can be reversed and Elop ousted. I thought it was a done deal, but apparently there is some hope. It would be a tremendous thing if the Nokians could somehow get rid of him and restore the balance “from inside”.

  10. I don’t know if it should be forked, if nokia sells it to a better company it won’t be neccesary, but if it does, then there’s no choice.
    The problem is that we won’t have a company there putting efforts anymore, because no real money would be done from qt anymore, as licenses can’t be sold. We could only sell support for it, and I’m not sure if it would be enough.
    The best scenario would be nokia selling it to a more open and better company.

    1. I just think about Intel. Other chip maker could get money with it, cause it can provide a agnostic tool to develop app to their processor. Hope it happen. Shame on you nokia!

      PS.: I like microsoft as i like nokia and google, facebook and apple. I just don’t like the partnership killing a visionary tool.

  11. Well, I think whats really important for KDE right now, is to get a press release out next week and actively spread it as far as possible. It should clearly state that this does not in any way damage or even restrain the KDE and Qt on Linux ecosystem. I suggest to include comments by Aaron Seigo, Thiago Macieira, Jos Poortvliet, Jonathan Riddell and perhaps other important / profilic people that I forgot now. The reason is that what I fear most is FUD. KDE should, how to say this properly in English, forestall (?) this, before the uninformed blogosphere and journalists do any permanent harm. Psychology plays an important role here.

  12. Qt/Open governance is a joke. If you look at the mailing list, it started one year back. Will something be worked out? Sure. But when? Who knows. Practically all people just yank off in the mailing list talking about the most trivial things. Enough talk already. The goal of any project should be to ‘ship it’ but the people who are leading the Open governance thing are plain old developers who don’t understand the importance of shipping and care more about random irrelevant things.

  13. The idea isn’t “calm down, do nothing, because everything is just fine!”, the idea is “calm down, because if we don’t we’ll make stupid decisions based out of fear and desperation rather than based on fact and our real best interests”.

    For instance, someone might call for a fork of Qt, which would be an amazingly stupid idea right now. Why? Two very simple reasons: a) it will cause more chaos and result in more variables in the environment to try and sort out making everyone else’s ability to decide where to go that might harder; b) if Qt gets moved somewhere else by Nokia or Nokia continues to invest as the same or greater levels, we should probably support that rather than try and make our own little Qt.

    When one realizes the severity of forking, and that your suggesting is a reflex reaction based on no actual strategy, it just makes me cry. Instead of whipping up people’s emotions and encouraging irrational and irresponsible behaviour, help gather a complete picture of what’s happening and draft a real near- and mid-term plan for KDE that is based on fact and good ideas.

    Not the first bit of fear that you poop out.

    Consider this as a game of strategy: if on the first shocking move by someone in the game you just stand up and start screaming obscenities and start a headlong rush into $RANDOM_DIRECTION as a “so there!” reaction, you’re not going to win much. Your co-players are also going to think of you, and rightfully so, as a poor player, one that likely won’t get invited to the game again.

    1. My reply is not based on fear, quite on contrary. It is based on a firm belief, based on facts, that Nokia’s management can no longer be trusted to do the right thing in regards to FLOSS development, as they have broken their promises for the developers by adopting the Windows toolkit in their phones. I did not call for an immediate fork as well (if you read it carefully), just that I think it is inevitable. Nokia’s management will try to gain time, and projects and companies that depend right not on Qt need of course to keep an eye on them. But the trust that once existed is no longer there. If this is a game, as you portrayed, then Nokia’s management just reversed all of the rules and did so behind the back of the other players.

      I don’t think silence as a strategy or negotiation behind closed doors in cases like this is the best approach. The discussion should be open so that the whole KDE community can give their honest input on the issues. This should not be restricted to e.V. members or representatives of companies. As I mentioned clearly in this post, this is not the first time I have run into Mr Elops in my career as a developer, and people deserve to know what happened before.

      Also, I don’t welcome your attempt to portray my attempt to express a personal opinion as “irresponsible”, “irrational” or “pooped out”, although you have the right to have a completely different opinion, of course. This is not the first time this has happened between us on private discussions, and I think it is sad coming from a respected member of the community like you. My post contained absolutely no personal attacks and it was not disrespectful to anyone. I appreciate that you refrain from doing that again in the future as an attempt to disqualify what I write, thanks.

      1. Also, I don’t welcome your attempt to portray my attempt to express a personal opinion as “irresponsible”, “irrational” or “pooped out”, although you have the right to have a completely different opinion, of course.

        It’s all just a little bit of history repeating. Mr Seigo stands to benefit hugely when Windows Phone finally gets copy-and-paste functionality.

        Is now the time to say “I told you so” about Nokia, Mr Seigo? I guess it is.

      2. I wholeheartly agree to what you wrote.
        Trust is imo one of the most important currencies there is and Nokia just insured there is a large loss of it.

        And then also causing a huge loss for all who invested time and money to learn/adopt Qt in the premise of writing applications with it, supposed to run on the crème de la creme of Nokia in the years to come.

        Yeah we don’t know what will happen, but we know what happened already.

    2. I’ve always found very good your words and thoughts. You ask us calm. Okay. Wait for next week to see what happens. I’ll wait to see what decision to take the staff of Qt. I understand that they too must be concerned and seeking solutions. I calm down, but I assure you that the rejection has grown against “certain company”is enormous.

    3. I can only second Aaron. Reading this kind of FUD as of now feels like an unreflected, premature reaction screamed out during a contemplative moment of silence.

      Have you guys ever spent a single thought on the social side? Like all the bonds that have been created between the employees of Nokia (among them the Trolls), KDE, and whatnot people, held together by the Qt framework? And you are asking for a fork? That, really, makes me want to scream.

      1. I respect your opinion, just not agree with the need to keep silent. How about the thousands of people that submitted applications to the OVI store, or invested in creating them? And the people that invested heavily in learning Qt/QML and have prototypes that were just waiting the first Nokia/MeeGo phone, which was assured no more than 2-3 months ago at Dublin? Are these not community issues?

        The *possibility* of a community fork is one of the things that might make Nokia’s management still do the right thing (keep investment and the QtSW division people jobs). And while this possibility is something you know about, there are definitively Qt developers that are panicking right now because they do not know that, no matter what Nokia decides to do, there is a reassured escape route, thanks to the GPL and FreeQt foundation.

        So the message, for me, should be: “We are behind Qt, it will thrive no matter what happens. It will continue either internally at Nokia or via a community-supported version”. This is not FUD, is reassurance and commitment to your toolkit. If anything, it avoids panic. Intel, with its thousands of managers and internal policies, was quick to react, in a very direct press release, KDE imo should do the same in order to calm their users so they know that there are options and we are not automatically depending on MS.

  14. Fork it now under the “Qt Foundation”!

    Don’t let it go the way of Oracle/Sun products of idling for years while the importance of the product and developers bleed away. It’s been strangled long enough under Nokia. It won’t get better under Microsoft’s rootkit.

    The LibreOffice guys knew better… you know better.

  15. Hi.

    Hey people. If you haven’t looked the local news (I read them through Google translate :) .).

    You’ll learn a few things. Reporters are bombarding Elop. And to make even worse, Finnish parliment has elections in April! (And also, a recent investment from EU into Symbian). I am sure Elop is going to be fired! If not in monday, then in near future. Also note, if you haven’t heard. Nokia shares are down for 14-15%!!!

    So, I think the call for calming is sound. We will hear more news in monday. I’m sure the shareholders will make a really interesting crisis meeting :) . And perhaps (or I think it’s going to be for sure) a some kind of a strike by the workers.

    So, stay calm. Wait at least a week. And also, I believe it’s important that a very thought through decision is made.

    But I’m optimistic about this. Elop is going to be fired (if not even sued).

    1. Thanks for the information. Yes, the idea was not to fork over the weekend, of course :) I am sure this decision, if made, will not occur before the middle of the year. But we need to discuss these options openly. As your comment shows, discussing things brings up new information from more sources, and band people together.
      I would be very happy if the Nokia guys revolted against management and somehow could reverse this unfortunately decision, opening up Qt development even more in the process, taking the initiative to move the repository to the Linux Foundation, KDE or freedesktop.org. But this will only come with peer pressure.

      1. I think not only the workers are pissed. Also the shareholders are blinded out of madness :).

        The only concern is, that I see, how will this effect Nokia in future (since I believe and hoping this contracts are going to be binned). Also trust(s) were shaken.

        Also note that Annual General Meeting is in May (if there isn’t to be any crisis meeting before it :) ).

        So, this year is going to be very interesting :) .

        As for Qt. I think either way, it’s safe. It’s code is under LGPL. And I think it has quite a lot companies that support it. And who knows, if everything goes south, there might be another company willing to take over Qt (as a buisness partner).

      2. I’m still trying to figure out how it is that a Microsoft executive can jump to Nokia, and then 5 months later “suddenly” announce “Oh, we’re dumping all our in-house work and going whole-hog for Microsoft Windows 7 Phone 7 Series 7 Phone, and, look, we even already have a prototype to show!” without anybody apparently wondering if this wasn’t Microsoft’s plan from the start – they couldn’t outright buy Nokia without suffering antitrust scrutiny, but sending one of their own to take over management of Nokia and hand Nokia over to be nothing more than an organ for distribution of Microsoft platforms.

        Yet I don’t think I’ve seen anybody seriously wonder aloud if this wasn’t all some sort of plot from the beginning.

        I hope the speculation that Elop will get The Boot of Shame out into the street (where he can go and get his job at Microsoft back) is correct and this “obviously planned from the start” (it can’t be a recent decision if they’ve already got a prototype phone developed, can it?) plot comes out more into the open.

        I still blame Nokia for letting Meego starve while they put all their effort into life-support for Symbian, though. (And I STILL want a Meego-based phone.)

        1. Trust me, you’re not the only one who’s pondered over this. I’ve been picking up similar sentiments posted all over the web today, though with dozens of tabs opened and since closed I can’t point you to any of them. I even posted about it myself yesterday over on the Linux Action Show forums.

          My worry is that although the Finnish government / EU trade commission or whoever might want to investigate the affair, it’ll be a long drawn-out and over-bureaucratic process that’ll drag on years and never produce much more in the end than another fine for MS and a slap on the wrist. Ballmer, Elop and the merry monkey gang will all be long gone sipping Martinis on their yachts by then. The best we can hope for is that in a round of backslapping one of them chokes on the cherry.

          1. I would say that rules could change, when general elections are in play…

            And since, (my experience/view from Slovenia) CEO of Patria was locked up for questioning because of a bribery affair in Egypt and in Slovenia, I think the similar fate waits for Elop. I just hope…

    2. The problem is that Elop was imposed by American investors, who clearly knew very well what sort of strategy this guy was good at: the one Mauricio experienced with Macromedia. So at least a very influential part of the Board is quite happy about the news, and won’t consider firing the guy unless anything calamitous happens (like share prices crashing under $5, which probably won’t happen).

      The usual brigade of US-based analysts reacted positively, and US carriers reportedly are on board to push “MicroKia” in order to stop Google and Apple eating into their profits, if only they can deliver a half-decent phone before Christmas. From a purely commercial point of view the partnership could well succeed, or at least buy some time.

      In the eyes of the global elite, screwing Finland is just collateral damage; better, it’ll probably push salaries down in the area, which is always good news for the elite. Ballmer will do a few good gestures for the local politicians (a big discount here, a meeting with BillG there…) and all will be forgotten. Nokia used to proudly boast that they were a global company rather than a Finnish one. I guess in the next few weeks we’ll see if that’s actually true.

      1. I would say.. It’s not gonna happen… Why? WP7 has a huge HW requirements. A 1 GHz CPU (afaik). And it cannot be used as a OS for low end phones. Of course, as always, time will tell :) . So, WP7 in the long run, may be used only as a really “pricy” mobile phones

        Another point I would like to express. Ovi store. They were building it for aprox. 2 years. It finally got running few months before new year. On GSMArena I read, that Ovi store has 3 milion downloads per day and a 800 000 registered developers. That is quite a big ecosystem. This decision is clearly a shot in the leg (if not even into the head)! Meanwhile, I’m not sure if WP7 “ecosystem” is even a third of this size.

        Also note this. Ovi branding is happening RIGHT NOW. And then announcing you’ll be desolving it. Well, in my opinion it’s childish. And as Elop said by himself. Ecosystems matters, well what happens if you don’t have your own ecosystem?

        But of course, we’ll see what will happen :) .

    1. What, a Finnish tabloid is playing on the fears of buggy whip makers, err, I mean Symbian developers? An insightful source of information, indeed.

      @Mauricio: could your company be a little less pissed with Elop if it did not put all eggs in one old basket for too long and switched to a more modern product, which was even offered by the same company?

      All the people lamenting the death of “one Qt for all Nokia devices” do not know what they were wishing for. Putting Qt on Symbian is like putting lipstick on a pig. Good riddance, I’d say. Let’s see to it that Qt does well on platforms which are relevant.

      1. Buldozr: Of course, you are right that it would have been better to spread the eggs. But this was technically not possible: Flash and other competing authoring environments did not provide an extensible API for plugins like Director (Flash still does not have this.) So it was not possible for us to port our products to run with it, unfortunately.

      2. A tabloid that is referring to Finnish Financial Times… Can you produce a better link? I’m not a Finn, you know.

      3. Oh. And another thing.

        OS is not the most important thing. More important is a healthy community producing software. And Qt framework was bringing that community to Symbian OS! And I’m really interested how is the refurbished Symbian UI going to look…

  16. I’m glad you speaking up. Communication is important and I think everyone needs to consider this.

  17. I completely agree with you. Great post. Thanks for voicing this. I hope enough people read it and give it consideration.

  18. Your entire post mentions no alternatives. I understand this could be scary for Qt but what other options is Nokia left with?

    Do you want to change anything or just protect Qt/KDE?

    What’s done is done. Look at what happened with Sun Microsystems and Oracle. What happens with the open source communities really doesn’t matter – Oracle did whatever they wanted to do, and Nokia and Microsoft will do the same.

    If you really want to do something, get to Nokia’s investors. Get Elop out. Get back to work.

    Either Nokia is dead or it will adapt and move on. Protecting source code accomplishes nothing.

    1. You are right, my main concern is with Qt/KDE only :) Others can probably chime in on what Nokia could have done, and maybe they are doing the right thing as far as their phone business goes, I can not tell.

  19. This is good stuff. I was in despair Friday, but forgot that EU is not like us Americans who sadly are conditioned now to take whatever corporations do, since this country doesn’t even challenge such executive criminals, let alone jail them.

    Conflicts abound: that list of MS holders is all US; so are the subsequent lists of funds and individuals. Mr. Elop himself. It doesn’t get any more bald-faced than his 130K shares in MS. (Don’t send him back here. Rendition his ass somewhere. Please. He’ll understand – it’s the American way.)

    I see Nokia – and Qt/MeeGo/Symbian – coming out of this at one of two extremes: if Europe, Finland and the stock holders let him get away with it, all the developers who say Nokia can never be trusted will be right; how can a prisoner promise anything? But if Nokia rejects this corporate hi-jack, then re-asserts Qt and *whatever* OS (s) as tools for openness among the giants who want proprietary empires, then Nokia will win loyalty that can’t be matched. And hopefully, it will have learned why it’s important to make a decision and GO with it!

    So, next up: will courage or cowardice be the response to this corporate criminal enterprise? I’m tuned in to see. My money’s on the Egyptians!!

    1. I think that a word should be passed to the Nokia workers that they HAVE to strike/protest. More of them the better. Since, if this share’s drop doesn’t convince the shareholders to kick Elop… Mass strike of employees will force Finnish government to act (the government have a 2% of shares in Nokia, biggest share of one entity is around 0.8%!).

      Not to mention the question, how much shares do European companies have in Nokia. If all this connects together, I’m sure they will “overman” the US shareholder. And I’m also sure Intel is also cooking up a plan :) (Perhaps a “retaliation” on the US front?).

  20. I vote for a fork right now !

    With canonical, intel, google sponsoring it – we can definitely make it.

    I saw this coming when Qt was sold to Nokia and I even warned KDE about it in mailing list – but no one cared and I was banned !

    1. Bad decision. By forking now, you’ll make things worse.

      Also note, Qt is under LGPL! And, afaik there was a contract signed that protects the Qt future…

      Also note, that this company is European company. Europe has completely different way of handling them.

      For instance. EU and Finnish government give money to Nokia for Symbian development and for keeping employees. Also I bet Finland is giving some tax “lay-offs” to Nokia to support it. With this deal, all those contracts are broken. So all that money has to go back! Now imagine you’re a shareholder. What would you do? I think this is one of the reasons why shares dropped like a stone. And I suspect they will continually drop.

      1. > Bad decision. By forking now, you’ll make things worse.

        How ?

        Think about how worse will be if the community doesn’t fork it. Everyone is pretty aware how far M$ is willing to go. If they can do a hostile take over of Yahoo / Nokia – Qt ain’t too much for them. Think about this.

  21. I think it perhaps makes just as much sense that a potential Qt fork could come from the MeeGo community, that project also depends on Qt right? Even though Nokia has one foot out the door in that project, there are several other interested parties that wont abandon ship for a while I think…

  22. I’m not sure I would blame Elop for what happened to Director after Adobe bought Macromedia; Adobe by that point was already a much more sales-driven than engineering-driven company, and they bought Macromedia to get their hands on specific assets — Director wasn’t one of the ones they cared about. You can blame Elop for shepherding through the sale to Adobe, perhaps, but it’s hard to make the case that if only he wasn’t there Director would have still been around. (I was not a Director user, but at the time I was a web developer stuck on Windows and dearly loved HomeSite, which Adobe also strangled.)

    As for Qt, which I know is the actual point: my suspicion is that Nokia will end up divesting itself of those assets. They’ll sell it off, spin Trolltech back off as an independent company, even give it to a foundation. It’s not the same kind of position as Adobe/Macromedia, because the business rationales were very different in those two cases. Adobe wanted Flash, first and foremost, and that meant they couldn’t spin off Director to another company, because they’d effectively be creating a competitor to Flash with an established user and developer base. Nokia wanted Qt to be “the” API for both Symbian and MeeGo, letting them transition their users and developers off Symbian over the next few years; now, Nokia doesn’t have any compelling reason to be in the toolkit business.

    Having said all that, if I were a KDE developer I’d be plotting to make a fork now, too, just in case. :)

    1. Glad to find someone that has gone through the Adobe acquisition as well. I agree with you that there were no guarantees that Director was going to be around, this is not really the crucial point. After all, we can never tell what could have happened… It would be better in some ways if it was killed like GoLive and FreeHand, as the developers will have no way out other than jumping to another product. Instead Adobe dragged their feet with vague promises of a future “substantial” update for the past 5 years or so.

      Your point of Adobe not selling Director or letting it go (or stating clearly that it will be minimally supported from the start) is important. This prevented the community from looking at alternatives, and at the same time discouraged possible competitors from developing an alternative to it (as Director was still around, and supposedly would get a major upgrade any-time-now). By the time people realized this was not going to happen (some are still waiting) the game was over.

  23. The Sugar developers were harshly criticized when we created Sugar Labs at the moment when OLPC’s Negroponte started talking hard about switching to Windows (which never actually happened).

    But time has shown we did the right thing. Good luck!

    1. Yeah , Qt is a good toolkit and I think it will survive but nokia connot survive.

      I hope KDE will make a right choice.

      Finally , FOSS software will win the war. But at this moment , commercial companies especially ones from US has controled most of the market but we will win.

  24. I think we should fork Qt soon and restart FreeQt project since nokia has been controled by M$.
    Elop is just transplated by M$ who want to control nokia without costing any money.

    The other thing is that why doesn’t Linux Foundation and KDE e.v. create a company in Finland and hire some Nokians to continue Qt and produce Meego smart phones?

  25. This is the discussion I have been looking for! Ever since the rumors of a Microsoft deal I have been wondering what would happen to Qt. Mauricio’s experience is indicative of the situation I fear most. I mentioned on the Nokia forums that my greatest fear is that Nokia will keep just enough of a hold on Qt to let it stagnate. With a community as strong and determined as Qt has, I don’t think they will ultimately be successful. But as Mauricio says, the community would be wise not to become complacent and let Nokia dictate Qt’s direction for too long. Even before the announcement, I was experiencing frustration with Qt’s focus on mobile platforms to the detriment of the general toolkit. I was trying to be patient because I felt like some of the new development would (and I hope ultimately will) strengthen the overall product. I really like what the trolls are doing with QML for instance.

    I think it is definitely time to move on from Nokia, thank God it is up to the community and not Nokia to make that decision. Wasting time welcomes developer apathy. For instance, I have been waiting for quite a while for the Qt team to settle their direction on video playback api’s. While they worked on the issue, the future of the platform’s video playback was incoveniently bundled with their mobile strategy. That is how I found this blog to begin with and I thank Mauricio for his contributions to QtGstreamer.

    I think we can only expect a frustratingly slow and insufficient upkeep of Qt under Nokia, so eventually (hopefully sooner than later) it will find a new home. This new home will of course have its own agenda for the upkeep and usage of the framework. Certainly, KDE has a huge interest in Qt. I personally do not use KDE. I wonder if they will have an agenda that works well for Qt development outside of the KDE environment. Will they be interested in QML? Why has there been a problem between trolls and KDE with submitting patches? I guess I am hoping that Qt does not just become a tool *fucused* on building applications for KDE.

    Thanks to Mauricio for providing a concrete and relevant example of the danger that is facing Qt in the coming year.

    Brian Duffy

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