Recently, Aaron Seigo, a good friend of mine and well known KDE member did an interview with ComputerWorld. In the interview, Aaron said “What I find unfortunate is that some companies dig into technologies. Canonical did not communicate well about long-term support and therefore neglected 35 percent of their user base. A user base they routinely neglect, but at KDE we ignore a lot of this“.

I find this very disappointing, and that we are alleged to routinely neglect our KDE user base. I want to make a few things clear here:

  • Canonical invests in Kubuntu – Jonathan Riddell is paid full-time to work on Kubuntu and Canonical provides the hosting and resources to help Kubuntu development happen. Kubuntu is a community distribution, and has an excellent inclusive community, in which Jonathan does excellent work alongside the many other excellent Kubuntu contributors.
  • Canonical pays for thousands of free Kubuntu CDs to be produced, all via ShipIt. Not only this, but we pay for the postage too. This has helped to get a professionally produced CD with KDE and Kubuntu in the hands of many users all around the world.
  • Kubuntu is commercially supported by our commercial support service and Kubuntu 8.04 will get the same level of commercial support as Kubuntu 7.10, Kubuntu 7.04 and Kubuntu 6.10. Nothing changes with the commercial support commitment.
  • I have had many phone calls and discussions with Aaron to discuss and settle concerns, as well as other members of the KDE project. I have also specifically actioned Jorge Castro on my team to regularly liaise with Aaron and report back concerns and methods we can fix them.
  • In terms of investment in GNOME vs. investment in KDE, right now we have Jonathan working on KDE, and 2 developers working on GNOME. The vast majority of Canonical developers who work on Ubuntu, work on other areas.
  • We select when to do an LTS based on a number of factors, one of which is the stability/maturity of upstream platforms. KDE 4.0, which is clearly one of the most exciting KDE releases in a long time, has openly acknowledged that it has rough edges and should be treated as such. With Kubuntu we are keen to include the KDE project’s best work, in the same way we want to include the best work of many upstream projects, and by including this work, it helps get it exposed to users and improve. So then, it comes down to this – do we make Kubuntu 8.04 an LTS and only include KDE 3.x (annoying users who can’t get 4.0) or include KDE 4.0 (annoying people who want an LTS). Well, we figured it would be better to provide users with the latest, greatest KDE.

I am, frankly, surprised that despite the above points, Aaron feels that we routinely neglecting Kubuntu users.

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