Kubuntu Status

From my kubuntu-devel posting. See also Jason's posting.

Today I bring the disappointing news that Canonical will no longer be funding my work on Kubuntu after 12.04. Canonical wants to treat Kubuntu in the same way as the other community flavors such as Edubuntu, Lubuntu, and Xubuntu, and support the projects with infrastructure. This is a big challenge to Kubuntu of course and KDE as well.

The practical changes are I won't be able to work on KDE bits in my work time after 12.04 and there won't be paid support for versions after 12.04. This is a rational business decision, Kubuntu has not been a business success after 7 years of trying, and it is unrealistic to expect it to continue to have financial resources put into it.

I have been trying for the last 7 years to create a distro to show the excellent KDE technology in its best light, and we have a lovely community now built around mostly that vision, but it has not taken over the world commercially and shows no immediate signs of doing so despite awesome successes like the world's largest Linux deployment.

The first question to answer is whether the world needs Kubuntu - a regularly released community-friendly distro with a strong KDE focus. There is no other major distro out there that matches that description but others arguably come close.

If it does then we need people to step up and take the initiative in doing the tasks that are often poorly supported by the community process. ISO testing, for example, is a long, slow, thankless task, and it is hard to get volunteers for it. We can look at ways of reducing effort from what we do such as scrapping the alternate CD or automating KDE SC packaging.

I expect to do other desktop team tasks in my work time such as Qt. I can't do much free software work in my spare time for now because of my poor health (slowly recovering I'm pleased to say).

I hope and expect Kubuntu can continue. I encourage Kubuntu devs to apply to UDS so we can have discussions on how to continue it and keep the dream alive.



The Fedora KDE spin is "a regularly released community-friendly distro with a strong KDE focus" to the same extent Kubuntu is. Yes, it's only a spin of a larger distro with other focuses, but so is Kubuntu, and this announcement is the proof of that.

By Kevin Kofler at Tue, 02/07/2012 - 01:47

Thanks for your kind words.

I have always aimed for Kubuntu to have a strong KDE focus to the extent of not including non-KDE software when KDE software is available.

Fedora KDE Spin is happy to include GTK/Gnome applications and considers replacing them with KDE applications a low priority. That is a very valid approach and anyone following it is just being practical. But it is not the dream I have for KDE technology taking over the world.

By Jonathan Riddell at Tue, 02/07/2012 - 08:42

Uhm, actually, we do ship KDE software whenever possible. We've always shipped Konqueror rather than Firefox. We ship KOffice (soon Calligra). We've also been shipping the Plasma networkmanagement widget for a while, and have fought hard to be able to keep shipping it in Fedora 15 (forcing the NetworkManager maintainers to work out a solution to keep it working with the 0.9 prerelease they imported because of gnome-shell; the Fedora 15 updates now have the official Plasma networkmanagement 0.9.0 RCs instead of that hack). We also ship your system-config-printer-kde port rather than the GTK+ system-config-printer. We've been shipping KPackageKit (now Apper) rather than gnome-packagekit as soon as it was shippable.

By Kevin Kofler at Tue, 02/07/2012 - 09:30

Glad to hear it.

I've always considered using Open/LibreOffice instead of KOffice/Calligra a bug in Kubuntu but necessary because there was not enough support even within KDE for a distro to change.

Yet to see if the future Kubuntu community will go more hardline and switch to Calligra (it would solve the CD space problems) or less hardline and switch to e.g. Firefox.

By Jonathan Riddell at Tue, 02/07/2012 - 15:12

Hey Jonathan. I don't think anyone could have done as well as you did getting Kubuntu on its feet and building a strong, vibrant community around it. Kudos and thanks for all your hard work!

By jonathancarter at Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:37

Hmmmm. I would say then that Fedora IS probably the closest to Kubuntu one will be able to get. After all, their mission is to push forward technology. openSUSE aims to be a workhorse for its users - and you might dislike LibreOffice for good reasons but it IS the only viable option if you have a job to do ;-)

The same goes for firefox (and Chromium), altough Rekonq is getting pretty good.

And frankly, I'm not sure if it's good for KDE to ship software which simply isn't ready to users. The choices Mandriva once upon a time made were quite sound imho. Having a best of breed selection of software made for a good user experience.

In any case, I expect openSUSE to remain the most solid KDE distro out there. Whether Fedora will take the role of pushing KDE technology, Kubuntu will remain in that position, or openSUSE's Tumbleweed will take it - let's see :D

In any case, it does suck that Canonical is giving up support of KDE but as Will wrote in another blog, it probably was to be expected.

By jospoortvliet at Wed, 02/08/2012 - 16:02