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Canonical ends support for KDE, Kubuntu lead developer moved to other projects

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Ubuntu parent company Canonical is ending paid support for Kubuntu, the KDE interface-running variant of Ubuntu, after version 12.04.

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Ubuntu parent Canonical is ending paid support for Kubuntu, the variant of the Linux OS running the KDE desktop environment. An announcement by lead Kubuntu developer Jonathan Riddell explains that the move is a purely commercial one, and that "Kubuntu has not been a business success after seven years of trying, and it is unrealistic to expect it to continue to have financial resources put into it." Riddell will remain employed by Canonical, but will no longer be able to develop Kubuntu in his work time, with paid support for the OS ending after version 12.04. It is expected that volunteers will continue maintaining Kubuntu, but Riddell says that the community will need to step up to the more arduous tasks like ISO testing.

This is bad news for the KDE project, as it leaves only SUSE (and OpenSUSE) as a mainstream distribution that still offers KDE as a supported user interface, though even then recent versions have given equal weight to alternative environments like Gnome. This is particularly notable since the work by KDE on the Konqueror web browser ultimately became WebKit — the technology behind over a third of browsers in use today.