Don’t usually bother commenting in my blog about wrong statements made in the mainstream trade press. But this being a slow period between Christmas and New Years I figured I point out why I think Matt Asay seems to have no clue in this blog post. The quote in his article that made my facepalm was this one:
The "right" model seems to hearken back to an experiment Trolltech made at the end of last millennium. Trolltech used the GPL license for its code, but added a clause requiring commercial users to pay. This, of course, wasn’t open source according to the OSI Definition, and Trolltech took heat for its position. But eight years later this is essentially the model followed by SugarCRM, Zimbra, MySQL, and others (including Red Hat, if you look closely at its business), though each company uses different means to get to this result.
First of all Trolltech did not require commercial users to pay, cause if they had done that then they had been in direct violation of the GPL. What Troll Tech did was offer the code under more standard commercial license in addition to the GPL, a license for which you had to pay. So only if you found the GPL unsuitable for your needs the option to pay to get another license came into play. That was absolutely open source according to the OSI definition and I don’t think I ever heard anyone claiming otherwise. As for Trolltech taking heat for its position, I can’t say I remember that happening either, although there was/is of course a lot of debate about using Qt for core parts of open source infrastructure due to it only being available under the GPL. To the degree that debate could be considered taking heat is was if anything some of the projects using Qt taking it (most notably KDE), not Troll Tech themselves, unless one is of the (weird) opinion that considering a library unsuitable/non-optimal for certain things due to its licensing its giving the library developer ‘heat’.
I can only assume that Asay confuses the issue and is thinking about Trolltech’s license precending their adoption of the GPL, which was a quasi open source license allowing cost free open source development on top of Qt, but which was not GPL compatible or OSI approved in any way or form.