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High-level architecture of Qt embedded system with controller, cloud and sensor

Architecture of Qt Embedded Systems: Getting Started

Which system-on-chip is best suited for your Qt embedded system? Should you build a custom Linux system with Yocto, use a container OS or a desktop Linux? Should you use Qt Commercial or Qt LGPLv3? How will the system be updated? What are the operating conditions of the system? How does the system communicate with sensors, ECUs and the cloud?

This is only a small selection of the 50+ questions in this post. You best tackle these questions early in the project. Fixing wrong decisions becomes exponentially harder with the duration of the project. Your decisions can make or break a project.

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Build, deploy and run Qt application on embedded device by pressing the Run button in QtCreator.

Cross-Compiling Qt Embedded Applications with QtCreator and CMake

We change the code of our Qt application in QtCreator and press the Run button to try the changes on an embedded device. QtCreator cross-compiles the application, deploys it to the device and runs it on the device. QtCreator performs these steps in a breeze, because we spent quite some time to define a QtCreator Kit. The fairly unknown script from the Yocto layer meta-boot2qt automates most of the kit definition.

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Qt Embedded Systems – Part 2: Building a Qt SDK with Yocto

We want to develop the Internet radio application for the Raspberry Pi in the same way as for a PC. We change the source code in QtCreator and run the application. QtCreator cross-builds the application on the PC for the Raspberry Pi, deploys it with SSH to the Pi and runs it on the Pi. We need a Qt SDK for this to work. In addition to the target libraries from the Linux image, the Qt SDK contains the library headers, a cross-compiler, a cross-linker, a cross-debugger and more.

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FOSS Qt Releases Delayed by up to 12 Months?

On 8 April 2020, Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer wrote in an email to the KDE community (emphasis mine):

[…] last week, [The Qt Company] suddenly informed both the KDE e.V. board and the KDE Free QT Foundation that the economic outlook caused by the Corona virus puts more pressure on them to increase short-term revenue. As a result, they are thinking about restricting ALL Qt releases to paid license holders for the first 12 months.

To be clear: Nothing has been decided yet. I certainly hope that this “thinking” by The Qt Company remains just that: thinking. But I am not quite sure.

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Benefits of a Relocatable Qt

Bob builds Qt for the development team on a fast compute server. He packs Qt into a tarball and hands the tarball to his teammates. Alice installs the Qt tarball on her PC in a directory that differs from the installation directory used by Bob. As the target embedded system runs on an AMD Ryzen SoC with x86_64 architecture like the build server and the development PC, Alice installs Qt on the target system – yet in another directory. She can then try out the latest changes of her app directly on the target system. As Qt is relocatable since version 5.14, Alice’s and Bob’s jobs have become quite a bit easier.

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Less Love for FOSS Qt Users

From Qt 5.15, The Qt Company make their offering a bit more inconvenient for FOSS users. They announced three changes:

  • A Qt account is mandatory to download binary Qt packages. The offline installer is not available to FOSS users any more.
  • LTS (long-term support) releases are not available to FOSS users, once the next minor or major release is out.
  • Small business pay 499 USD per year, if their yearly revenue is less than 100,000 USD and they have less than five employees.

What do these changes mean for the development of Qt embedded Linux systems under LGPLv3?

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