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staikos.net: A Quick Cost Analysis of Qt vs GTK

Apr 01, 2003, 23:00 (63 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by George Staikos)

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"Yesterday Michael Meeks posted slides of a recent presentation he made. When I saw these slides, I quickly realized that Michael does not sell software for a living. Here's why:

"He claims that 10 developers working on a project will require $26,000 in Qt licenses, and so GTK is more cost effective than Qt. Let's investigate how much this factors in to a commercial project. Say the project takes two years to develop, with 10 developers. That's 20 developer-years of wages. Let's say we have 'reasonable' programmers, working for $75,000/year. That's a total of $1,526,000 in wages and license fees. $26,000 is 1.7% of this cost. $26,000 is probably close to the amount of money spent on free t-shirts and stuffed monkeys distributed at trade shows by software companies. These costs do not take into account overhead such as rent, bandwidth and utilities, hardware, and other general expenses. However, the Qt licenses do not evaporate after the project is done. The developers might. So might an 'open' project which is not financially controlled.

"Let's consider the further benefits of Qt. Based on my experience porting GTK applications to Qt, the resulting code is typically 30%-60% smaller than the GTK equivalent (in terms of lines of code). Let's assume this cuts development time by... 10% (to be conservative). 10% of $1,526,000 is over $150,000! That's approximately 6 times the cost of the Qt licenses. Furthermore, there is commercial support available from Trolltech. Who provides free GTK support to offset this? Public forums? Businesses surely enjoy having to rely exclusively on public forums...!"

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