Once Kubuntu 12.04 is released, Canonical will stop supporting it financially. This sea change for Kubuntu will mean that like other KDE flavors this too will like Edbuntu, Xubuntu and Lubuntu will have only infrastructural support from Canonical and will have to look towards the community and donations for financials.
The reason for Kubuntu running out of favor with Canonical is its ‘lack of commercial success’ claims, the single-developer for Kubuntu.
In fact, Canonicals’ withdrawal was first posted by Jonathan Riddell, the sole developer who over the past seven years has worked admirably to keep Kubuntu going. He argues that, ‘Kubuntu has not been a business success after 7 years of trying and it is unrealistic to expect [Kubuntu] to continue to have financial resources put into it.”
Canonical will continue to provide support and back Kubuntu, much as it does with other extended KDE flavors. Even as Riddell hopes for a good future for Kubuntu, the community has already signaled that is all ready to meet the challenge, with development and release of Kubuntu 11.10.
Hence, Kubuntu fans need not fear for their favorite Ubuntu, as both quality and consistency will continue to Kubuntu’s hallmarks, given the immense development support the flavor has from developer community.
Though, there have been unsubtle suggestions earlier that, Kubuntu was always the poorest of the Ubuntu cousin, despite Canonical’s seven year support-stint; now Canonicals’ departure creates a large lacuna, which needs to be filled-in by these very accusers of Canonical differed treatment of Kubuntu.
Perhaps now is the time for developers who believed in Kubuntu to contribute more to allow for the transition from sponsored distribution to community-supported project.
Kubuntu has for long been a much favored flavor given its easy to utility within the KDE framework. Canonical will continue to support, as before, with infrastructure and resources, its only development that they will not support.
Alternatively, users always have the chance to build their personal version of Kubuntu, which only requires installing Ubuntu and then calling package manager for KDE install. Kubuntu officially forked from Ubuntu OS replacing it with KDE Plasma Desktop instead of Unity, the default environment for Ubuntu. However, Kubuntu allows installation of both the KDE Plasma Desktop as well as Unity on the same device, as it shares the repositories and releases in synchronization with Ubuntu.
Now, with the project becoming a community project, its next version 12. 10 will carry high expectations on how the community can band together to build it as well as and within launch timescales as it did with previous version of Kubuntu 11.10.
While some view Canonicals’ decision with some umbrage, there is wide-spread acceptance that moving Kubuntu development to the same processes as Xbuntu, Lubuntu and Edbuntu, is a win-win situation for Kubuntu developer community as Canonical continues to provide infrastructural support.