Just this week in the news, Jonathan Riddell, the leader of the Kubuntu project, announced that Canonical had decided to pull him off the Kubuntu project. Riddell explained that Canonical has decided to suspend Kubuntu's status as an official Ubuntu derivative, and to stop providing paid support for it.
This has left many Kubuntu users with a bad taste in their mouths, and wondering what will become of Kubuntu.
What does this mean for Kubuntu?
So what does this news really mean for Kubuntu? Truthfully, Riddell was the only developer paid to work on Kubuntu. The rest of the developers were volunteers from the community.
I don't have an exact count of the number of developers working on Kubuntu, but I would estimate it to be around 10. So, from 9 community developers and 1 paid developer to 10 community developers, you can see that nothing truly significant is going to change.
Kubuntu will continue as per usual, powered by the community and providing a Linux distribution with the same base as Ubuntu but built using KDE.
What does this mean for Kubuntu users?
So what does this news mean for those of us who use Kubuntu? Once again, nothing really. Kubuntu will continue to be developed, and continue to be available for us.
The truth is, Kubuntu has never had any real support from Canonical. It is very evident that Kubuntu lags significantly behind Ubuntu in terms of new functionality and improved applications, and I'm sure I am not the only who wishes this were not the case.
Once I joined the #kubuntu-devel IRC channel to ask about a certain Ubuntu feature not found in Kubuntu, and I discovered a very passionate but very overworked development community.
With Canonical withdrawing their paid developer and reverting Kubuntu to an officially community-driven distribution, this situation is not going to get any better.
What can I do about it?
If you are really concerned, and you have some time to devote to the project, I highly recommend hanging out in hte #kubuntu-devel IRC channel on Freenode, and seeing how you can get involved in helping to maintain Kubuntu. The Kubuntu team is always looking for volunteers to help them make the distribution into a truly world-class product, to match the favourite sibling Ubuntu.
The Kubuntu team especially wants to be able to offer the same little applications and integration that Ubuntu offers. If you see a feature in Ubuntu that you'd love to see in Kubuntu, why not go for it and develop it.
For example, Kubuntu still doesn't have an UbuntuOne client. There is actually a client, but the last time I used it, it didn't work. I'll take a guess that it still doesn't work since I still haven't seen it in Kubuntu. Perhaps someone can run with it and get it to the point of being included in Kubuntu by default?