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Nokia's Qt cuts paperwork for open sourcers

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Nokia has reduced the barriers to contributing code to the Qt cross-platform framework.

The Nokia-owned Qt Software has created a public repository for outsiders to contribute and monitor code and eliminated the need for filling in a faxed copyright assessment of code and manual checking by Qt Software.

Instead, contributors will now be asked to grant Qt Software a non-exclusive right to re-use code as a part of Qt, the first time they submit code for inclusion. The one-time grant is designed to speed up the code submission and acceptance process, but might put off those who don't want Qt Software's owner, Nokia, getting carte blanche on their code forever.

The Qt framework is open-source and was this January released under the GPL and LGPL, but the build process was not open. The web-based source code management system that's been built is based on the Git and Gitorious open source projects and can be accessed here.

The stripped-down submission process and public repository accompany publication of the Qt software roadmap for future editions of the application and user-interface framework. There are no version numbers of dates on the roadmap.

The roadmap includes features intended to bring more iPhone-like multi-touch and screen resizing to non-Apple devices. Support for multi-touch and gestures using more than one finger is planned. With Qt owned Nokia, chief steward of the Symbian operating system, this would suggest an attempt to bring improved multi-touch to Symbian-based phones. Also planned is support for Microsoft's Windows 7, which will also feature multi-touch input through the screen.

Qt, meanwhile, plans to integrate its QtScript Javascript into WebKit, which Qt supports, and move to adopt WebKit's SquirrelFishXtreme (SFX), which speeds the generation of native code to speed the performance of JavaScript.

Qt said the roadmap is designed to provide ad overview of features in development and of research projects, and it "aims to inspire the community to help shape that direction through feedback and contributions."

The changes come as Nokia's Qt attempts to broaden its popularity among open-source developers, a move that saw version 4.5 of Qt released under LGPL for the first time March.

Nokia, meanwhile, has joined with handset manufacturers, tools companies, and IBM to build an Eclipse-based IDE for mobile devices under project Pulsar. Qt has an Eclipse plug-in, but Pulsar is a collective response to Apple's iPhone and Google's Android, even though Google is an Eclipse member. It's not clear what role will be played in Pulsar by the Qt framework and the companion integrated development environment that came for the first time with version 4.5. ®

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