Things are not looking good for KDE, following the news that KDE will not be getting long term support (LTS) whereas GNOME will according to Canonical. The Hardy Heron will be assured of LTS status it seems, making Ubuntu 8.04 the second version of this Linux distro to get the Canonical commercial blessing. The decision would appear to be a simple commercial one, after all GNOME is far and away the most popular when it comes to downloads. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical CEO, reckons it accounts for around 65% of all Ubuntu downloads. So where does this leave the other 35% who are loyal to KDE?

The leader of the Ubuntu Desktop team at Canonical, Scott James Remnant, has admitted that KDE 4 will not be stable enough to support for the term of the release. Posting to the mailing list, Remnant states “I've not seen anybody who believes that this would be the case; a long-term supported release would have to be based on the stable KDE 3.5 series.” He goes on to admit that Kubuntu 8.04 comes at what is described as being a “difficult time” in the KDE release cycle, citing the arrival so soon after a major release of the platform to substantiate the claim. The support issue becomes even cloudier when the question of whether a bug in KDE 3.5 will receive upstream support as far ahead as March 2011. Remnant suggests that in order for Canonical to make such a commercial commitment for KDE 3.5 then KDE 4 would have to remain unsuitable for support. “Given the attention being paid to KDE 4” Remnant argues “it is difficult to believe that this will not be the preferred release in three years time.” The posting also goes on to explain that Kubuntu 8.04 will be considered suitable for commercial support, as an LTS, when and only when the packages it contains are deemed to be stable and maintained for at least a three year period.

Is this really such a bad thing? I would venture to argue not, although I appreciate it leaves me at the mercy of the KDE fanboys, but bear with me. During this period of LTS flux, perhaps it might mean that people can focus on getting a single interface that works well and compete in the hearts and minds of the great unwashed with Windows and Mac, instead of driving a chuffing great wedge between two competing interfaces. The general public does not need additional reasons to be confused about Linux, it needs additional reason to buy into the OS. A single interface for Ubuntu could be a great place to start…

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As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

I dunno.... Could it be that it's because "Ubuntu" is what everybody talks about, and that "Kubuntu" sounds like a rip off of the "real thing"?

I know they're the same, but if you've got a product or brand called one thing, and you simply prefix it with another letter to differentiate something, then perhaps that's where the issue lies? Perhaps Kubuntu just doesn't get the exposure that Ubuntu does?

Maybe they need to do it this way:

Ubuntu: Gnome edition
Ubuntu: KDE edition

Going with- or sans- K seems more like Gnome is the preferred default, thus guiding users to that flavor. Some may not even know there's another choice out there.

Who cares what Shuttleworth does. KDE is by far the better DE, Ubuntu is really set up for Windows converts and must be applauded for that but KDE is better suited for most Linux versions who want the most configurable DE, They are right in being cautious about KDE 4 who wouldn't be but I think you are just being provocative. There is room for all Linux Distros but Ubuntu would not be my first choice for Linux but my impression seems to be that positive write ups from technically challenged journalists and bloggers gives support to the fallacy that Ubuntu is somehow better than many other Linux versions. The truth is that it is a crippled version of Debian.

I care what Shuttleworth does, actually. I'm not a big fan of KDE, but I understand its place and I recognize its many contributions to the desktop environment over time, and I think it's a bad trend to jettison support for something that's as popular as KDE on Ubuntu (this, of course, coming from an Xubuntu fan, actually). They made the same mistake in 86ing support for the PowerPC platform.

well, I've never liked KDE because I've always had to use 3 typing languages, and KDE is very hard to set up properly for that, while gnome is as easy as windows in that aspect. as for everything else on the desktop linux side - I've never done much, I prefer doing things the right way - from the console. So as long as the GUI is capable of running the usual set of desktop apps, and has the right features for me - I will use it. In this aspect gnome has been my choice mostly because of the language switch issue

I agree with alc, the only reason GNOME is more popular is due to the fact that it is the default DE of Ubuntu. Why not give users a choice? I'm sure Canonical could include both KDE and GNOME in their official Ubuntu release.

Oh and this idea of a standarized linux interface goes against all the principles of freedom and choice that open source software, and the GNU project, are built on. Linux should not actively attract windows users by pushing on people default interfaces or default software. If the cost of increased Linux popularity means giving up the very principles that draw so many advanced users to Linux, such as myself, then it's not worth it. Many long-time Linux users have retreated into the land of BSD due to this.

i like Gnome and i still use Gnome interface Linux forever..

KDE is not supported because this is a LTS release; KDE 4 will be brand new when Ubuntu 8.04 is released and there is no guarantee that the KDE guys will still be writing security updates etc for KDE3.x releases in 3 years time.

It simply does not make sense to offer LTS on either a 'bleeding edge' KDE release or one that may not be actively developed soon.

Ubuntu has a Gnome focused release schedule; this is just a case of bad timing.

This is a bit of a sensationalist piece here, if you ask me. At least the title is. I've read this artlcle 5 times in the last few days on various sites, but never with such a misleading title. Your own article here says it has nothing to do with 'Gnome killing off KDE in the interface wars', and has everything to do with simply the timing of a new major release of KDE. Frankly, I prefer Gnome these days, although I rather enjoy KDE also and am looking forward to the version 4 release as much as anyone. I have no doubt that once the dust settles there will once again be a KDE LTS release, either via Kubuntu, or if they merge the 2 interfaces into a single distro, as there has been talk of. However, I seriously doubt this is the beginning of the end of KDE on Ubuntu, as you are obviously trying to push here. Please try and find a more respectable way to route people to your blog than sensationalism, most people can see right through it. And I will not be clicking on any ads.

The title poses a question which the article answers, standard journalistic practise.

I think its kind of silly to get mad about this, because GNOME is much similar and great for newbies to Linux. GNOME also looks great, and I personally prefer GNOME when I am working on a Linux Desktop.

But whats silly is Ubuntu is just a distribution of Linux, its open source and its really easy to play around with. There is no doubt in my mind that if you really want KDE 4 on a Ubuntu machine then you should be able to find some hacker who will show you how to do it (if you don't already know how).

As pty said, KDE 4 will be brand new when 8.04 comes out. It is not going to be a well known and tested platform yet. That said, KDE 4 has a number of great improvements over KDE 3.5, and I'm sure it will be well accepted by the open source community as a whole and be used on Kubuntu on the next release.

There seems to be a masive amount of rubbish all over the web over the last few days about this subject. The first and most important question I feel that needs to be asked is when GNOME completly rewrites itself will Ubuntu support the first release of GNOME 3.0 (or what ever it becomes) in a LTS version?? Exactly, I suspect not.

As usual a story like this is taken by people who have very little idea of what they are taking about and blow it out of all proportions. Kubuntu may only have 35% of Ubuntu downloads but it has been in production for a short time then Ubuntu. KDE 4.0 is the first release of a brand new desktop enviornment. If I was leading Ubuntu I wouldn't make Kubuntu LTS for the very reasons given above. KDE 3.5 will be a distant memory in three years time where as KDE 4.0 has been stated by the KDE team to be a developers release. Over the next year they plan to release a number of minor revisions that will take KDE 4 to the next level, the level at which it would be suitable for a LTS version of Kubuntu.

However, in three years time I'm sure no one will notice that many differences between Gnome 2.20 and the version available then.