Reports are coming in that Nokia has shut down its Qt offices in Australia and laid off the developers responsible for QML. The staff that was laid off were responsible for developing key aspects of the Qt open-source toolkit including the QML user interface layout. At least one of the laid off developers, Lorn Potter, has told the Qt community that he intends to continue working on the toolkit himself but is seeking new employment.
If you aren’t familiar with Qt, it is a C++ framework allows the development of cross-platform mobile and desktop applications. The original developer of the technology was a company called Trolltech, which was purchased by Nokia in 2008. Once Nokia gobbled Qt, the mobile phone giant turned Qt into an open governance model, began accepting independent contributors, and changed licensing for Qt to LGPL from the more restrictive GPL environment.
A former Nokia software engineer named Altant Schmidt posted to the Qt community mailing list that he had received information from a source that was actively trying to sell Qt assets. Previously, Nokia was positioning Qt as a way to provide a unified API set to work across Symbian and MeeGo devices. Considering that Nokia has thrown its fortunes in with Windows Phone 7 and started to turn away from Symbian and MeeGo, trying to sell off Qt assets and laying off workers isn’t surprising.
Reports indicate that Nokia is waiting until the official release of Qt 5.0 before it sells Qt assets. Other sources also confirmed the Qt details offered by Schmidt. Enthusiasts supporting Qt were hoping that Nokia would use Qt along with Meltemi in some capacity. Meltemi is a next-generation Linux-based mobile phone operating system aimed at cheap handsets for emerging markets. However, other layoffs within Nokia seriously hurt Meltemi development.