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Kubuntu logo
Kubuntu 14.04 LTS
Kubuntu 14.04 LTS "Trusty Tahr"
Developer Blue Systems,[1] Canonical Ltd., and community contributors[2]
Written in {{#property:p277}}
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release April 8, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-04-08)
Latest release 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) / October 22, 2015; 3 years ago (2015-10-22)
Available in Multilingual (more than 55)
Update method PackageKit and/or APT
Package manager dpkg
Platforms IA-32, x86-64, ARM
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Userland GNU
Default user interface KDE Plasma Desktop
License Free software licenses
(mainly GPL)
Official website www.kubuntu.org

Kubuntu (/k.ˈbn.t/ koo-BOON-too) is an official flavour of the Ubuntu operating system which uses the KDE Plasma Desktop instead of the Unity graphical environment. As part of the Ubuntu project, Kubuntu uses the same underlying systems. Every package in Kubuntu shares the same repositories as Ubuntu,[3] and it is released regularly on the same schedule as Ubuntu.[4]

Kubuntu was sponsored by Canonical Ltd. until 2012, and then directly by Blue Systems. Now employees of Blue Systems contribute upstream, to KDE and Debian, and Kubuntu development is led by community contributors. During the changeover, Kubuntu retained the use of Ubuntu project servers and existing developers.[5]


“Kubuntu” is a registered trademark held by Canonical.[6] It is derived from the name Ubuntu, prefixing a K to represent the KDE platform Kubuntu is built upon (following a widespread naming convention of prefixing K to the name of any software released for use on KDE platforms), as well as the KDE community.

Since ubuntu is a Bantu term translating roughly to "humanity", and since Bantu grammar involves prefixes to form noun classes, it turns out that the prefix ku- having the meaning "toward" in Bemba, kubuntu is also a meaningful Bemba word or phrase translating to "toward humanity". Reportedly, the same word by coincidence also takes the meaning of "free" (without payment) in Kirundi.[7]

Comparison with Ubuntu

Kubuntu typically only differs from Ubuntu in graphical applications and tools:

Software Ubuntu Kubuntu
Kernel and core Linux kernel and Ubuntu core
Graphics X.Org Server
Sound PulseAudio
Multimedia GStreamer
Desktop Unity Plasma Desktop
Primary toolkit GTK+, Nux, and Qt Qt
Browser Firefox Rekonq (to 13.10), Firefox (from 14.04)
Office suite LibreOffice
Email and PIM Thunderbird Kontact

Kubuntu's Plasma Desktop is fully customizable without extra tools or configuration file editing. Originally designed to ease transition for users from other operating systems (such as Microsoft Windows) by allowing a similar desktop layout, the KDE Plasma Desktop incorporates widget-centric modularity that allows the user to incorporate function similar to all other operating systems and also create new functionality not found in other operating system desktops. Desktop effects are integrated in the standard KWin installation, and enabled by default.

Because Ubuntu and Kubuntu use the same sources, any application intended for one is installable and runnable on the other. Consequently, it is very common to see situations such as Firefox running on Kubuntu, or K3b running on Ubuntu.



Mark Shuttleworth, in an interview shortly after Ubuntu (which now uses the Unity desktop environment, previously having used GNOME) was started, stated:[8]

I believe that the KDE community does phenomenal work, and having a community-driven distribution to showcase that work will help attract users and developers to the project. Our overall goal in the Ubuntu project is to further the adoption of free software on the desktop and the server, and we recognise that KDE is an essential part of the mix of desktop environments that allows people to find the best environment for their needs.

The Kubuntu team released the first edition, Hoary Hedgehog, on April 8, 2005 (2005-04-08).

K Desktop Environment 3 was used as default interface until Kubuntu 8.04. That version included KDE Plasma Desktop as unsupported option which became default in the subsequent release, 8.10.[9]

On February 6, 2012 (2012-02-06), Canonical employee Jonathan Riddell announced the end of Canonical’s Kubuntu sponsorship.[10] On April 10, 2012 (2012-04-10), Blue Systems was announced on the Kubuntu website as new sponsor.[1] As a result, both developers employed by Canonical to work on Kubuntu – Jonathan Riddell and Aurélien Gâteau – transferred to Blue Systems.[11]


Colour Meaning
Red Release no longer supported
Yellow Release still supported
Green Current release
Blue Future release

Kubuntu follows the same naming/versioning system as Ubuntu, with each release having a code name and a version number (based on the year and month of release). Canonical provides support and security updates for Kubuntu components that are shared with Ubuntu for 18 months – five years in case of long-term support (LTS) versions – after release.[12] Both a desktop version and an alternative (installation) version (for both x86 and AMD64 platforms) are available. Kubuntu CDs were also available through the ShipIt service (discontinued as of April 2011).[13]

Version Release date Code name Supported until Notes
5.04 2005-04-08[14] Hoary Hedgehog 2006-10-31 Initial release including KDE 3.4 and a selection of the most useful KDE programs. Some of these are not in the official KDE itself, including Amarok, Kaffeine, Gwenview, and K3b. Inclusion of update-manager/upgrade-notifier; Kickstart compatibility.
5.10 2005-10-13[15][16] Breezy Badger 2007-04-13 KDE 3.4.3 and the Guidance configuration tools. It also comes with the Adept Package Manager, the first to make use of debtags for easier searching (replacing the Kynaptic package manager used in the previous release); System Settings, a re-organised kcontrol-like centre and KDE Bluetooth; Graphical boot process with progress bar (USplash); OEM Installer Support; Launchpad tracking; GCC 4.0.
6.06 LTS 2006-06-01[17][18] Dapper Drake 2009-06 Long Term Support (LTS) release; Live CD and Installer on one disc; Ubiquity installer; Adept Notifier and Simplified Installer; X Display Configuration from Guidance; Better Asian language support; Avahi networking software.
6.10 2006-10-26[19][20] Edgy Eft 2008-04 KDE 3.5.5. This release adds the photo management application Digikam and accessibility profiles – benefiting people with disabilities. System Settings is also redesigned, and power management, laptop button support & networking are improved. Also features automated problem reports and Upstart.[21]
7.04 2007-04-19[22] Feisty Fawn 2008-10 KDE 3.5.6; Migration assistant; KVM; Easy codec/restricted drivers installation; System Settings restructured into General and Advanced categories; Improved Hewlett-Packard printer management; KNetworkManager included; WPA support; Topic-based help system; OEM installer update; PowerPC support officially dropped.
7.10 2007-10-18[23][24] Gutsy Gibbon 2009-04-18 New background art. Ships with Strigi and Dolphin by default. Qt port of GDebi graphical installer for package files. Includes Restricted Drivers Manager for the first time.[25] New kubuntu-restricted-extras package is available for download from the repositories.
8.04  2008-04-24[26] Hardy Heron 2009-10 It has two versions: KDE 3.5 and KDE 4.0 (With community support only). This version intends to provide feature parity with GNOME-based Ubuntu.[27] This includes a port of system-config-printer to Qt to enable printer auto-detection, easy video codec installation in Kaffeine, a simple Compiz setup tool and inclusion of Bulletproof X in KDM,[28][29] and automatic grabbing and releasing of the mouse cursor when running on a VMware virtual machine. Ubuntu 8.04 is a long term support release but Kubuntu 8.04 is not.
8.10 2008-10-30 Intrepid Ibex[30] 2010-04-30[31] KDE 4.1.2 desktop environment by default, Linux 2.6.27, Xserver 1.5, Adept Manager 3, KNetworkManager 0.7, KWin desktop effects by default, various Kubuntu tool integration.
9.04 2009-04-23 Jaunty Jackalope 2010-10 KDE 4.2.2 desktop environment by default, kernel 2.6.28, Xserver 1.6, Adept superseded by KPackageKit,[32] implementation of the ext4 filesystem, faster boot time.,[33] Community Supported PowerPC images added[34]
9.10 2009-10-29 Karmic Koala 2011-04-28 KDE 4.3.2 desktop environment by default, GRUB 2, init system moved to Upstart, kernel 2.6.31
10.04 LTS 2010-04-29 Lucid Lynx 2013-05-09 Long Term Support (LTS) release. Security updates will be available for three years for desktops and five years for servers. KDE 4.4.2 desktop environment by default, kernel 2.6.32, KPackageKit 0.5.4, Firefox KDE integration, touchpad configuration module by default.
10.10 2010-10-10 Maverick Meerkat 2012-04 KDE Software Compilation 4.5. Faster login. Default browser changed to Rekonq. New bluetooth stack. Pulseaudio inclusion. Updated Kpackagekit with categories. Global menu for netbook. Updated Installer. Combining of the Desktop and Netbook Editions (autodetection).
11.04 2011-04-28 Natty Narwhal 2012-10-28 KDE SC 4.6, kernel 2.6.38, GStreamer multimedia backend for Phonon, GTK Oxygen theme, games in the default install, UDisks and UPower replace HAL.
11.10 2011-10-13 Oneiric Ocelot 2013-05-09 KDE SC 4.7, kernel 3.0.3, replacing kpackagekit with Muon Software Centre, kubuntu low fat setting, OpenGL ES Powered Desktop Effects, Kdepim 4.7.2[35][36]
12.04 LTS 2012-04-26 Precise Pangolin 2017-04 The third Kubuntu LTS release. KDE SC 4.8, kernel 3.2.0.
12.10 2012-10-18 Quantal Quetzal 2014-04 LibreOffice, Rekonq 1.1, KDE SC 4.9.2
13.04 2013-04-25 Raring Ringtail 2014-01[37] KDE SC 4.10, Muon Suite 2, LibreOffice 4, Optional Homerun launcher, out-of-the-box MTP support
13.10 2013-10-17 Saucy Salamander 2014-06 KDE SC 4.11.2, LibreOffice 4.1.2 rc3
14.04 LTS 2014-04-17 Trusty Tahr 2019-04 KDE SC 4.13.0, LibreOffice, Default Browser changed back to Firefox
14.10 2014-10-23 Utopic Unicorn 2015-06 KDE SC 4.14, KDE Plasma 5 as technical preview.
15.04 2015-04-23 Vivid Vervet 2015-12 KDE Plasma 5.2.2 is now the default desktop environment. Adaptation to systemd and to SDDM. A behind-the-scenes work on the change to Wayland.
15.10 2015-10-22 Wily Werewolf 2016-06 KDE Plasma 5.4., Firefox 41.0, LibreOffice 5.0.
16.04 LTS 2016-04 Xenial Xerus 2021-04

System requirements

The desktop version of Kubuntu currently supports the Intel x86 and the AMD64 architectures. Some releases support other architectures including: SPARC,[38] PowerPC,[39][40] IA-64 (Itanium), and PlayStation 3 (however, a firmware update from Sony in April 2010 disabled OtherOS, making the PS3 unable to run other operating systems).

The minimum system requirements for a desktop installation are a 700 MHz x86 processor, 512 MB of RAM, 5 GB of hard drive space,[41] and a video card which supports VGA at 640×480 resolution. The recommended system requirements for the desktop installation are a 1 GHz or better x86 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 15 GB of hard drive space,[42] and a video card which supports VGA at 1024×768 resolution, and optionally supporting visual effects.

Desktop & Laptop[43]
Required Recommended
Processor 1 GHz (x86) Better than 1 GHz (x86)
Memory 512 MB 1 GB
Hard drive capacity 4 GB[42] 10 GB[42]
Video card VGA @ 640×480 VGA @ 1024×768

Note: If "Desktop effects" are desired, a supported GPU is required.


Kubuntu rollouts include the world's largest Linux desktop deployment, that includes more than 500,000 desktops in Brazil (in 42,000 schools of 4,000 cities).[44][45][46][47]

The software of the 14,800 Linux workspaces of Munich was switched to Kubuntu LTS 12.04 and KDE 4.11.[48][49]

The Taipei City government decided to replace Windows with a Kubuntu distribution on 10,000 PCs for schools.[50][51]

The French Parliament announced in 2006 that they would switch over 1,000 workstations to Kubuntu by June 2007.[52][53]

A Kubuntu distribution, by La Laguna University, is used in more than 3,000 computers spread in several computer labs, laboratories and libraries, among other internal projects in the Canary Islands.[54] Since October 2007, Kubuntu is now used in all of the 1,100 state-run schools in the Canary Islands.[55][56]

See also


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  6. UK registered trademark #E4541661 "KUBUNTU", filed 2005–07–08.
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External links

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  • Kubuntu at DistroWatch
  • Kubuntuguide – Help manual (unofficial), tips, FAQ, and software guide