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I'm planning on installing Linux for my wife, and she's looking for a Windows-like experience. I was planning on using Plasma as her desktop environment. Kubuntu seems like a natural choice. What I'm concerned with, though, is this:

The latest Long Term Support (LTS) version of the Kubuntu operating system for desktop PCs and laptops, Kubuntu 20.04 LTS supported with security and maintenance updates, until April 2023.

Is there really only just over a year of support for the current LTS version, or is that possibly a typo? Ubuntu 20.04 is supported until April 2025, which sounds a lot more reasonable. I guess I had expected both flavors to offer the same long-term support. Am I simply wrong?

If there really only is support for Kubuntu through April 2023, should I just install Ubuntu, and download Plasma onto that? Are there any concerns with installing Plasma and the KDE application suite alongside the Gnome desktop and its applications, such as applications "interfering" with eachother (i.e. rewriting config settings shared by both, etc.)?

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I'll use a Ubuntu release announcement to show my point.

https://fridge.ubuntu.com/2020/04/23/ubuntu-20-04-lts-focal-fossa-released/

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was the 2020-April release of Ubuntu; it was released in 2020-April (year.month) being the format of Ubuntu releases and support is covered in the announcement.

Maintenance updates will be provided for 5 years for Ubuntu Desktop, Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Cloud and Ubuntu Core. All the remaining flavours will be supported for 3 years. Additional security support is available with ESM (Extended Security Maintenance).

ie. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS had 5 years from initial release; flavors of Ubuntu had 3 years from initial release which includes of course Kubuntu.

Ubuntu 20.04.3 is a re-spin of the original 20.04 system (not a new release) with patches applied, and the remaining support that existed at initial launch ie.

https://fridge.ubuntu.com/2021/08/27/ubuntu-20-04-3-lts-released/

if you scan it, you'll find the exact same wording; but it's referring to the time from initial release.

This Thursday the release of Ubuntu 20.04.4 will be released; it'll no doubt be almost the same wording too (if you read the announcements I'm referring to, they may have been posted by me, but I don't write them).

Packages found in 'main' have 5 years of support; KDE or Kubuntu are found in 'universe' with shorter supported life; so you can continue to use a Kubuntu 20.04 LTS system after Kubuntu has ended its support; but you'll only receive security fixes for the packages that have 5 years of support (i.e. only parts of your system).

What applies here to Kubuntu, applies to all flavors, e.g. I'm involved heavily with Lubuntu, and it's the same for our packages/support.

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  • If you download and use Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and add the kubuntu-desktop or just KDE Plasma; you'll still find yourself in the same position; ie. your base Ubuntu system will get upgrades for 5 years, but KDE/Plasma will cease when Kubuntu reaches EOL. Yes it's possible that an upgrade can occur after EOL; eg. in 16.04 the Kubuntu team applied an upgrade only days after Kubuntu 16.04 reached EOL; but that work had been started before it reached EOL; and they went seeking for a MOTU to help apply it, one agreed & package upgrade was less than week post-official EOL.
    – guiverc
    Feb 20, 2022 at 5:15
  • I didn't address the Kubuntu/Ubuntu co-existing question... In my opinion (as a user of multiple desktops on my system) I don't believe there are problems with having a Ubuntu install with additional desktops (such as Kubuntu) added to it. I'm in the Lubuntu team; so for me I have Lubuntu installed & Kubuntu added on two boxes .. this box started as a Ubuntu install & had 3 flavors added to it. Key though there are complexities to multi-desktop environments; not great for newbies. Maybe worth a scan askubuntu.com/questions/1393497/safe-way-to-remove-des a recent answer I gave
    – guiverc
    Feb 20, 2022 at 5:22
  • Interesting, I had not realized that. So when the Ubuntu website states that it offers five years of support, is that only for the packages that come with Ubuntu, and not ones that are installed at a later time (i.e. KDE) Is it fairly straightforward to upgrade from one version of Ubuntu/Kubuntu to a newer version, or does that pose issues? Feb 20, 2022 at 5:27
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    All packages that are included on the install media have 5 years of support; with Ubuntu only 'main' & a few from 'multiverse' or 'restricted' are included (help.ubuntu.com/community/Repositories/Ubuntu) but none from 'universe' which have shorter lives; it's 'universe' or the community-supported that flavor are built from on the Ubuntu based (found in 'main'). As for upgrades; the latest release was Ubuntu 21.10 (impish) which included references to this page help.ubuntu.com/community/ImpishUpgrades; ie. how to upgrade if you were on the prior release (21.04).
    – guiverc
    Feb 20, 2022 at 5:52
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    Ubuntu releases allow upgrade via every release; but also support from a LTS to the next non-LTS (then you're on the every release upgrade path) OR a LTS to LTS release; ie. 20.04 users can release-upgrade to 22.04 after 22.04.1 has been released; ie. months after 21.10 users upgraded. As the full release cycle started with 20.10, next 21.04, next 21.10 before 22.04 LTS; 21.10 to 22.04 is an easier upgrade; 20.04 to 22.04 jumps across cycles thus is held off until all testing is completed (ie. it's assumed LTS users prize stability), but 21.10 will upgrade easier to 22.04
    – guiverc
    Feb 20, 2022 at 5:55

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