Kubuntu Goes for KDE 4 – LTS Ditched

Dec 21, 2007

Based on the release policy of Ubuntu and its KDE derivative Kubuntu, the next version of Kubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron) scheduled for mid January would be a Long Term Support (LTS) version with three years support. Now, Kubuntu's chief developer Jonathan Riddell has announced that there will not be an LTS version; instead Kubuntu is relying on the KDE 4 desktop update.

This decision does not affect the Gnome-based Ubuntu. Kubuntu users will be able to install a version of 8.04 that still uses KDE 3.5.

The Kubuntu developers are not all thrilled about Riddell's annoucement as the mailing list evidences. KDE 4 has not even been released and it is bound to be affected by various bugs and issues, they say. Additionally, less experimentally oriented, professional users should be given the opportunity to opt for a Kubuntu version with longer support.

Riddell cited strategic motives for the step, which came as a surprise even to those familiar with Kubuntu developments. Who, if not the KDE edition was destined to offer the KDE 4 major release, he argued. This is what made a continuation of the release cycle introduced by Canonical impossible. Kubuntu had to commit itself. The large number of downloads of a live version of Kubuntu 7.10 with KDE4 RC2 are ample proof that users see things the same way, Riddell says.

Kubuntu developers like Jonathan Jesse do not see this ditching of the LTS version as a logical step. At the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Boston there was general agreement that the next Ubuntu and Kubuntu versions should be LTS versions, and that there should be an additional releases of both with KDE4. Jesse now sees Kubuntu as playing guinea pig.

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