The Future of Kubuntu
Recently there has been quite a bit of buzz regarding the announcement that Canonical was dropping commercial support for Kubuntu.
Now, before I go any further, maybe I should catch you all up on what I am talking about.
On Monday, February 6th, Canonical employee and Kubuntu Developer, Jonathan Riddell, announced that there were some changes in the way that Canonical dealt with Kubuntu. The decision to drop the support came from a business standpoint. As Riddell put it,
“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.”
This has generated a lot of negative reactions to the situation and I would like to take some time to set some of this straight and what it really means for Kubuntu moving forward.
What does this really mean?
There will be no commercial support moving forward from the 12.04 Kubuntu release.
Now, to break this little statement down. Up until this point Kubuntu has held an elevated status over the other Ubuntu siblings; Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Lubuntu etc. Kubuntu received the Canonical support services
Along with professional support, Canonical also had an employee from the Canonical Desktop Team working full time on Kubuntu. He will be reassigned to another team. Now, to make this point a little more interesting, this Developer was reassigned to the BZR team during the Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot cycle. This means that Kubuntu was able to release 11.10 without a full time employee an with the community developers.
So far, I have concentrated on the negative aspects of the changes to Kubuntu but, there is a bit more to this story on changes that are coming.
Kubuntu maintained packages will be moving from Main to Universe. This will allow the community to have larger control of what Kubuntu will look like. We will no longer have to run to Canonical to get approval for software. This will also allow us to align more toward KDE without running into any conflicts of vision with Canonical.
This will allow the community to run full control of Kubuntu. Instead of this being a bad thing, we, the community have been let off the leash so to speak. This is something that I fully expect the developers to take on and run with.
Overall, this new arrangement will bring Kubuntu to new heights. With taking off the restrictions and allowing the community to fully run the show, Kubuntu will not only move forward but, I fully expect to see Kubuntu rise above and be more successful then ever before.
I would like to note that Kubuntu has been approved for a 5 year LTS (Long Term Support) with the 12.04 release in April and that has not changed from all of this.
I would like to publicly thank Jonathan Riddell for all of his great work on Kubuntu these past 7 years. I know that even though he wont be working on Kubuntu during working hours, he will always be there for the other developers. Thank you.
Kubuntu is still an approved flavor, it is aligned with the other approved flavors and that will not change. Only the business aspect of the Canonical/Kubuntu relationship has changed.
Thank you for reading this and if you have any questions, you can find me, Darkwing in the #kubuntu channel on the FreeNode IRC network.