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How would the Unity path Canonical is going through regarding desktop environment affect the other flavours of Ubuntu? I mean official or almost Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and perhaps others not officially supported variations will follow a different path...

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There's a typo there, and the Question was hard for me to parse. Can you make it a bit clearer, maybe add a comma somewhere too, or split into 2 sentences? –  Tshepang Oct 29 '10 at 19:16

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Most likely it will not affect them at all. Kubuntu and Xubuntu are community efforts; there is very little direct contribution from Canonical to these projects. For instance, I believe that there is only one developer paid by Canonical working on Kubuntu. Xubuntu doesn't have any. Canonical's main contribution to these projects is infrastructure.

Each of these projects has been driven by the strong communities which have grown around them. The fact that Canonical has decided to push Unity will not change that. In fact, if any thing, I wouldn't be surprised if the community ends up creating a new "buntu." I imagine that there will be people interested in working on a stock GNOME derivative. Gubuntu perhaps?

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AFAIK there are at least two developers paid to work on Kubuntu –  txwikinger Oct 30 '10 at 13:28
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Someone needs to add more characters to the alphabet; the 'buntu' family is eating them. ;) –  Dante Ashton Nov 1 '10 at 21:14
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I think Canonical does make a direct contribution, but I understand folks would like to see more :-). As the answerer said, there are strong communities around Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Edubuntu (and others!) and we look to them to make decisions about the best user experience. We consider it important to architect the services of Unity (notifications, indicators, launcher behaviours, menus and more) in such a way that they can be provided by other implementations, so they SHOULD be able to preserve their core values and still embrace Unity. Whether they do is their call. –  Mark Shuttleworth Nov 4 '10 at 14:28
    
I suppose "direct contribution" might not have been the best term. I certainly don't want to minimize Canonical's efforts. Certainly "infrastructure" isn't a small thing. I simply wanted to impress that Kubuntu, et al aren't driven by Canonical in the same way as Ubuntu Desktop. –  andrewsomething Nov 4 '10 at 21:26

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