Making of a new Ubuntu Flavor

Once the release finally happens today, Ubuntu will have some new siblings. One of them will be Kubuntu Netbook Edition.
Why Kubuntu Netbook Edition?
1. Kubuntu because it’s built on Kubuntu and KDE.
2. Netbook because that’s the target system.
3. Edition because it is all built from FOSS packages available in the official archives.
First there was a nugget of an idea from upstream. KDE should have a different approach for netbooks. About the same time we had the developer summit to plan the Karmic release. Fortunately we had good representation from both the Kubuntu community and KDE developers and we organized around the idea of an early look at the KDE netbook vision (it will be released “for real” with KDE 4.4 in January 2010).
We came up with a basic plan and got it approved.
Then as we got to work, interesting things started to happen. We created a new subset of the Kubuntu seeds to define the packages for a standard netbook install. We created a set of default settings designed for the smaller screens on netbooks. Then we started to make an ISO image for Kubuntu Netbook. One thing I noticed throughout this process was that every time we needed a little bit of help or direction from someone at Canonical (trust me, I did not navigate the internals of debian-cd to add another image type without help) they were there to help us keep moving along.
By the Alpha 3 milestone, Kubuntu Netbook existed. At this point, Kubuntu Netbook was nothing more than a miniature Kubuntu. Thanks to the inherent scalability of KDE4, this was pretty easy to do.
Fortunately for us, the KDE developers had done their <a href=""research before they started and already had a good idea where they wanted to and made rapid progress.
By Alpha 5 we had a svn snapshot of the new plasma netbook packaged and working. From that point on, we had a solid foundation for development and got to a pretty good result.
I’m very pleased with the way that Ubuntu developers (many, but not all of which work for Canonical) have jumped in and helped out when we needed it. This is a supportedt release just like Kubuntu or Ubuntu. It’s a first effort, but I think a pretty good one that would not have been possible without all the help.
We’ve got three netbooks running Kubuntu Netbook Edition here at our house and we’re all pretty happy. I hope everyone else enjoys it too.
Of course we can’t get too satisfied with what we have. While we were off integrating and testing the early version of Plasma Netbook, upstream has been busy working on the final version we’ll see in Lucid Lynx.


2 Responses to “Making of a new Ubuntu Flavor”

  1. 1 John M October 29, 2009 at 02:43

    Can’t wait for the final release of this edition! I’ve been testing the pre-release versions on a 16GB Live USB since they first became available, and it has improved by leaps and bounds with each new development release. Fantastic work by the KNE team, and this is from a GNOME (and more recently UNR) user of many years. Congrats, and thanks for all the hard work! 🙂

  2. 2 Dave Morley October 30, 2009 at 05:05

    Just wanted to say nice post 😀

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