The Qt Company has announced a novelty for its framework that, honestly, we were not going to comment on here, because it is a feature that may be of interest to some developers, but that of course is not of interest to free software users because it will hardly be exploited as it happens in other environments. I am referring to the option to insert advertising in the applications created with this technology.
Indeed, we are talking about something similar to what one can find commercial PC applications or, even more bloody, in “free” mobile applications. We have also seen how Microsoft itself did the same in Windows, but the previous example is closer to the reality of The Qt Company’s proposal and that they sell -and never better said- as a monetization opportunity for developers.
Why do I say that this advertising that Qt will allow is more similar to that of mobile phones than to that seen in Windows, despite the fact that the latter is the reference that is being used the most? Because of the format: it has little to do with those ‘messages’ that Microsoft puts on your desktop and applications and a lot with the ads that mobile app developers insert in their applications and even on the web. And I refer to the screenshots that have been shown.
Now, what is still a valid option for free application developers to monetize what they can can be the worst business for a free software application. And all the software that the KDE project produces is free software. That is why I find the headline that has led me to write these lines to be in terrible taste: because it is bad clickbait, the one that leaves you in a bad place.
“Ads may come to KDE, the popular Linux desktop.” It is the headline that the Neowin site has used (nofollow link, they don’t deserve anything else) to publish news that doesn’t correspond at all to what it announces or, for that matter, to reality. In fact, the only mention of the hook is in a small paragraph that isn’t even about KDE:
“While it’s doubtful that you’ll see ads in KDE’s core apps, it would be possible for distributions wishing to further monetize their work to fork these apps, placing ads in them.” We are going to excuse the editor of the news because we can all have a bad day, but neither the headline nor that assumption is supported anywhere. And I explain.
Doing something like this, inserting advertising in free software applications, may seem ugly because it is: ugly to look at. But it could be legitimate, after all, a developer can choose how to monetize his work. It would be necessary to see how the issue of privacy and such is handled, but a priori I see it as plausible. However, good luck to those who dare to do something like that, because just as one distribution can fork an application to do that, another can do the opposite.
I don’t even remotely believe that KDE did, but neither do any distributions that want to maintain their user base. There are plenty of alternatives in Linux and they don’t like this nonsense. Occasionally, perhaps; but this new feature of Qt is not sold in this way, which is why approaching a news item in this way is having very little idea of what it means to look for the easy click without hesitation. Or both at the same time, which can also be. I mean, clickbait. Or that’s my opinion. Too bad for Neowin.
Having said that, it is a good time to remember that free software projects are not supported only for the love of art and that all financial help -just like any other type, but also financial- is more than welcome, so make a donation of from time to time to your favorite projects that always comes in handy.
Read more about it on the Qt blog here.