Blog Post

Kubuntu 8.04 Featuring KDE 4

Yes, you heard that right! Kubuntu 8.04, the Hardy Heron, will provide you the option of using either KDE 3.5 or KDE 4. Jonathan Riddell just posted the news in an email to the Kubuntu Developer’s mailing list, and you can read that email right HERE. We are going to focus on getting the bugs fixed in 3.5 and creating room for a Kubuntu with KDE 4. This means that Kubuntu 8.04 will not be an LTS (Long Term Support) release and will offer the typical 18 months of support. After the 8.04 release you can pretty much bet on Kubuntu being a KDE 4 release only!

So, if you have been wanting to get involved in the development cycle of a Linux distribution, there is no time better than right now to come join us in #kubuntu-devel on IRC and start helping out. There is plenty to do for people with all skill sets, such as:

  • KDE 3.5 bug fixing
  • KDE 4 patching and packaging
  • Development work to implement some KDE 3.5 applications for Kubuntu with KDE 4
  • Documentation for KDE 4 in Kubuntu
  • And anything else we can come up with…
  • Read up on Kubuntu development

This is all just starting to build up now, so a little patience will of course be needed while we develop the master plan now that we know what our direction will be. So like I said, if you feel like getting involved, come join us and help us make Kubuntu the greatest KDE 4 distribution possible!

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  • Aaron T.


  • Does anyone know when Kubuntu will release a LTS edition?

    I for one am not happy about the news. I’ve seen the KDE developers say time and again that KDE 4.0 isn’t meant for the mainstream user and they should wait for 4.1. Why cause all the extra confusion of splitting from the common support terms of Ubuntu just to include a desktop environment that isn’t even supposed to be finished?

  • How exactly will that work (not being an LTS release)? Will the next Ubuntu LTS release be when Kubuntu makes another LTS release, or will 8.10 be LTS for Kubuntu?

    I think maybe Hardy+KDE3.5 should be LTS (would make more sense, IMHO).

  • @Adam: it is unclear at this time when the next LTS release will be. As for splitting the common support terms, us including a KDE 4 CD release didn’t have much to do with this, as we were already working on such a thing, even when we were under the assumption that Kubuntu 8.04 would be LTS. The reason more than likely for dropping the LTS, and this is speculation, is that since Kubuntu has a very limited amount of developers, it would be hard to get everything up to a level expected as an LTS candidate. And with the dawn of KDE 4 upon us, it would make sense to start working on such a project now instead of a year down the road, putting us behind the norm, therefor slowing the progress of Kubuntu.

    @Alex: right now we are looking at the possibility of having 2 separate CDs for you to choose from, and possibly a DVD that would provide the same choices on one disc.

    The LTS releases are up to the technical board. Canonical as well as the Technical Board have both decided that Kubuntu should start focusing on creating a KDE 4 release and putting an emphasis on KDE 4 since it is the future of KDE. I don’t know what influenced their decisions on not making Kubuntu 8.04 w/ KDE 3.5 a LTS release and I could only speculate, which I will refrain from doing so.

    One thing that is noticed is that no matter which direction Kubuntu was to go for this release, there were going to be supporters and opponents of our decisions. In Kubuntu’s best interest, KDE’s best interest, as well as the best interest of our community, KDE 4 holds a stronger support group than it does an opponent group. We could have decided to go all KDE 4 and stop with KDE 3.5, but we realized that in doing so we would be leaving some people out who rely on KDE 3.5, and that was something we don’t want to do.

    Our KDE 3.5 release will be no different than previous releases. LTS provides you with 5 years of support and our regular releases with 18 months. Dapper was released June of 2006, and with 5 years of support is good through June of 2011. As it stands, it seems the norm is to release an LTS version every 2 years. So in 4 years time, our previous LTS release is still covered. This is not to say that come this time next year, Kubuntu won’t have an LTS release, as we won’t know until the time comes. I am sure Canonical has consulted with all of their support contracts with Kubuntu before making such a decision as to not make Kubuntu 8.04 a non-LTS release as I believe the LTS releases are created for the best interest of their clients and customers as well.

    LTS or non-LTS, our releases will hold the same level of support that they always have. Another thing I am not sure on is how the current users of the LTS release(s) maintain their systems. From my understanding, quite a few actually update from release to release, which would mean they would go from 5 years off support to 18 months of support and so on.

  • Strike my comments about 5 years of support, I always forget that 5 years is for the server and 3 years is for the desktop. Sorry about that.

    So that means Dapper support will end in 2009. Anyways, going to an 18 month support candidate until the next LTS candidate comes out is not that huge of a deal. Like I stated previously in my last comment, a majority of the Kubuntu users hope from release to release, however there are no solid statistics that I know of to either prove this or otherwise.

  • kibu

    I can imagine that this was a hard decision to make. It takes really a lot of guts to take this action.
    Even though I think that it is not such a good sign that Ubuntu and Kubuntu are drifting to fare away because especially Kubuntu totally relies on Ubuntu.
    If the support for the present LTS release would being extended till 2011 would that be a compromise. But that mean that the Support for the Desktop needs to be extended by 2 years. That is IMO a sacrifice they have to make in order to keep there customers. Bigger companies won’t upgrade 2009 (after 6.06 LTS support runs out) to a Version that only holds for 18 months. So the extension of the support till 2011 might be necessary.
    In the end it seams to be for Kubuntu’s greater good. As long as the project sticks with the Ubuntu-LTS release circle there won’t be any problems.
    Get this distro solid stable, you are doing a great job.

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  • nosrednaekim

    YEAH! Go KDE4!

  • Kubuntu will rock with KDE 4!
    Good to know that developers can concentrate on that now and don´t have to spread themselves even thinner.

  • I think the decision is for the better. We will not please many commercial customers, but they rarely chose Kubuntu with paid support as the base of their computer fleet.

    However, we are going to please upstream KDE developers and the users – and we really value the efforts of those folks.

    Please buy commercial support for Kubuntu if you want to make Kubuntu rock for businesses, too!

  • Jonas

    I assume the Gnome edition will still be a LTS? And the server edition? I don’t think it’s a very good idea to split when the different editions of *buntu gets a new LTS, actually. And Kubuntu need a LTS more than it needs KDE 4.

    It doesn’t matter much for some home user, hacker, or developer. It’s a different matter for people interested in deploying a KDE based Linux-distro in a corporate or governmental setting. I’m willing to bet that the majority of people that has the power the influence such decisions will not choose Kubuntu now.

    Just a hunch, but I don’t think it’s too far-fetched.

  • @Jonas: Yes, Ubuntu (the Gnome edition) will be LTS as well as the Server Edition. Kubuntu 8.04 will be the only release that will not carry the LTS tag.

    About people not choosing Kubuntu because it is not an LTS release isn’t really correct. Our 2 largest rollouts, the Canary Islands and the French Parliament are both utilizing the Feisty release, and a majority of our other rollouts are all Feisty or newer.

  • Jonas

    Good to hear that I was mistaken about that! Granted, I may have been biased since the guy responsible for the Linux desktops where I work refuses to install anything that doesn’t have a LTS agreement or something equivalent. Read: We’re using Novell.

    Personally, I have great hopes for 8.04 even if I am not running Kubuntu now. Why? Because on my machine Gutsy was a regression from Feisty, and it gave me a great excuse to go distro-hopping again 😉 I’m sure it worked great for others but for me it was too buggy. Still, as soon as it’s out I will try it out and see if it’s stable enough for picky old me.

  • @Jonas: ya, it is the same in our office, but in our case it is a mix of SLED and Red Hat. Hopefully 8.04 will be what you are looking for, and I totally understand the distro-hopping because of Gutsy, you weren’t the only one. I admit I did the same for a couple of different reasons.

  • student

    I hope this will recruit more KDE developers to kubuntu.

  • Arthur

    Uh, that’s bad. I’ve got various people on Kubuntu 6.06 LTS whom I really would like to update to a newer Kubuntu LTS. 18 months are just a tad bit too short for my taste and the non LTS versions do feel less polished. Oh well…

  • Edward

    I think this will be a great boost to KDE4, and I fully support it. I just wish it were still possible to make it an LTS release regardless. Best of Luck!

  • blaq

    @nixternal: Yea, the biggest rollouts so far have been for feisty. IMO, feisty was a huge step forward in functionality and overall user-friendliness. Even Dell started rolling out systems w/ feisty instead of an LTS (and even upgraded to Gusty, I hear). However even if you count all that, there are still plenty of businesses out there evaluating linux on the desktop as a viable solution for their organization. Of the desktop linux distros, the ubuntu family is obviously the poster child w/ the most traction. At a time when desktop linux and ubuntu are under the spotlight, is it wise to drop the LTS on kubuntu? KDE is often the desktop of choice for ppl migrating their shop away from windows (not trying to start a war, but i’ve seen this myself), and many large organizations evaluating a kde desktop were probably looking to the next Kubuntu LTS to fulfill their needs. So while many organizations are comfortable with installing non-LTS releases, many are not, and for them this is a huge setback.

    My comment aside, I respect the kubuntu devs immensely and I understand the commitment it would take to work on two releases (LTS and non-LTS). I also understand the pressure and desire to not fall behind on KDE4 development. I just wanted everyone to understand that just because a few of organizations have made large deployments of non-LTS releases, that may not be the norm.

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  • Dee

    What’s unclear: What packages are concerned? Kubuntu and Ubuntu (and most other *buntus) use the same repository. So that means GNOME (for example) will get security updates for 3 years but KDE only for 18 months? And which version? KDE 3.5 or KDE 4.0? And what’s about the packages. Will amaroK (“KDE”-Application) get updates for three years or 18 months.

    It’s very confusing…

  • zak

    How will this work when upgrading from gutsy to hardy?

  • zak

    I should clarify, how will us gutsy users upgrade to hardy? Will this require reinstalling? Just an apt-get upgrade?

  • @zak: you will update the same way you always have.

    @Dee: at this time, all Kubuntu only packages will receive 18 months of updates. Everything Ubuntu will go for 3 years on the desktop, and 5 years on the server as with the previous LTS release.

    @Everyone: If we have the slightest possibility of making the KDE 3.5 branch a LTS release, believe me will work our arses off in order to do so. Hopefully during a developer’s meeting Saturday morning we will be able to iron out more details.

  • I have recently read the announcement that Kubuntu 8.04 is NOT going to be an LTS release, thereby deviating from the release schedule of all the other Ubuntu variants. I believe that it would be more beneficial to synchronize the LTS releases between the official Ubuntu variants.

    First of all, Ubuntu needs to solidify its public image as much as possible. This is even more important while it has such a small mind-share in the overall technology market. Most computers users have no idea what an LTS release is, and they could be confused by mis-matched numbers. “Why is Ubuntu 8.04 LTS and Kubuntu 8.04 not LTS? Why is Ubuntu 8.10 not LTS and Kubuntu 8.10 is LTS?” Some IT departments might choose to only support LTS releases of Ubuntu. Now they must work with their KDE users who would need to upgrade on a different schedule than their Gnome users.

    I understand why Kubuntu wants to delay their LTS release. They have a shiny new version 4.0 that provides many new features, but it is not quite ready to be considered for an LTS release. Historically, the last LTS release (Ubuntu 6.06 LTS, Dapper Drake) included primarily minor changes that focused on stability and polish. For Kubuntu 8.04 to be an LTS release, it would need to stay with KDE 3.5. No major changes should be made during an LTS, which I think everyone agrees upon.

    The unfortunate timing of a moving KDE 4.0 release date is a problem that can be corrected. Mark Shuttleworth suggested at the last aKademy conference that KDE should change its release process to a hit a regular schedule. You can view the video of Mark’s keynote address on the web. The idea is a simple one: Set a hard date and modify your goals (features) to match that timeline.

    This sage advice was not well received, but it should be taken to heart by KDE. I believe that it would tremendously benefit KDE to create a regular and predictable release schedule. See the benefits that this has had for Gnome and Ubuntu. When open source projects have dependencies with each other, a regular release schedule allows them to plan their releases better. For instance, Ubuntu trusts Gnome to hit a stable release on time so Ubuntu provides them more time before freezing changes.

    Now consider the negative aspects that an unpredictable release schedule brings. The best example of this is how users left Debian for Ubuntu so that could get an OS that provided regular releases. Another example is how the release of Microsoft Vista slipped multiple times, throwing off the plans of IT departments, software development companies, and computer vendors. A predictable release allows external parties to prepare and plan for the release. If KDE does this, they too will reap the rewards that Ubuntu has seen.

  • There was obviously some inside technicalities researched before such a decision was made, what those technicalities, I do not know yet. I find it hard to believe that Canonical would support dropping the LTS moniker if it was going to cause damage.

    As for the releases that Mark spoke of at KDE, if you watch the video it was not received well, and for many reasons. Constantly back peddling your goals isn’t going to get you far for one, but the main thing was, why should KDE change their release schedules for 1 distribution? why Ubuntu? Ubuntu might be great, but I am sorry that it isn’t great to the point that upstream should change their ways just for us, and I feel that is an image of Ubuntu pounding on their chest saying “we are number 1, do as we say.” That is why KDE following Ubuntu releases won’t happen any time soon, and I am all for KDE and their decisions, by the way it is their work, their goals, and their product.

    KDE has had a predictable release schedule, when bugs were fixed, there was a bug release (ie. 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 3.5.3, 3.5.4 and so on). And for seeing the benefits for Gnome, no I haven’t seen them. And changing your release schedule to match Ubuntu’s is absurd imho. What happens if Ubuntu stops being Ubuntu, now Gnome is left to look elsewhere, and of late it sure seems they are pretty friendly with the Foresight people.

    My question is why can’t Ubuntu/Kubuntu change their release schedules to match KDE’s? Why does KDE have to match us? See, this kind of upsets me, because for 1 KDE was there way before Ubuntu was even a sparkle in Mark’s eye. Changing your ways for Ubuntu is far from the answer, especially with Kubuntu, since there is openSUSE, Fedora, and others who are up there on the list above Kubuntu for KDE support.

    So, switching to meet Ubuntu’s goals, never, I would hate to see KDE even think about doing such a thing. Releasing when you are ready to release is the way to go, not releasing because he said so, so now we can’t implement this or this because of them, sounds shady imho.

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  • Totally agree with nixternal about the release schedule thingy. KDE shouldn’t change it’s release schedule just because of Ubuntu, that’s wrong. If in any case, it should be the other way around. Ubuntu chose GNOME, good for them, but KDE has to go it’s own way.
    What Canonical should do is to give more support to the Kubuntu team, pay some more people to develop for this project.
    I remember some time ago (maybe about Breeze time) saying that Mark liked (or maybe even used ) KDE, and that they were going to give more support to this desktop environement. Where is it now that it is needed?
    Why keep going with GNOME when KDE integration with the rest of the OS is much better?

  • g2g591

    I am now confused, because in Riddell’s message it says
    “Users currently running Kubuntu 6.06 will be able to upgrade through
    the usual path to Kubuntu 8.04, keeping to the KDE 3.5 release series,
    and will receive the usual 18 months of support for that release”
    so people who want to use 8.04 as LTS who didn’t use Dapper WON’T be able to? or will they?

  • zak

    I’m still wondering how the upgrade process will work. Will I be given a choice of KDE 3.5 and KDE 4 when updating with apt-get or aptitude?

  • abish

    i hope i will be able to download a Kubuntu 8.04.. desperately waiting for the KDE 4 for my laptop..

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