In October 2015, after a lengthy and public battle with the Ubuntu Community Council, Jonathan Riddell stepped down as release manager of Kubuntu, the project he founded.\n\n\nNow, Riddell is back with a new project, KDE neon, which he will be announcing tomorrow at FOSDEM 2016.\n\n\nI connected with Riddell to learn more about neon. Following is an edited version of that interview.\n\n\nAfter stepping down from Kubuntu, what have you been up to?\n\n\nHanging around with my favorite people, of course, KDE and Kubuntu contributors. \u00a0At Akademy I went to Finisterre, the end of the earth, on the most western short of Europe where we gazed across the ocean to plan the future.\n\n\nThen, sipping Pina Coladas on Venice beach in LA, we brainstormed the best way to get KDE\u2019s beautiful software into the hands of our fans. Hacking in Munich, the home of large KDE deployments (or at least one of the few to publicly announce they use it), we planned meeting the needs of KDE contributors and users in a way which is not yet met.\n\n\nOn the Rio Noguera Palasera in sunny Catalunya I learned freestyle kayak by surfing against the current on a standing wave and realized we should go to the source. Upstream is where the beauty comes from so working upstream is where we should be.\n\n\nWhat\u2019s KDE neon? Can you tell us more about it?\n\n\nKDE neon is a project to give KDE users and contributors a way to get KDE\u2019s desktop software while it\u2019s still fresh. \u00a0It\u2019ll be providing packages of the latest KDE software so users can install it and stay up to date on a stable base.\n\n\nIt\u2019s ideal for people who relish having the latest features today and get frustrated at the need to add extra archives or even compile from source just to try out what they read about in KDE\u2019s announcements. \u00a0Unlike the rolling distributions it has a stable base so you can be confident a new Mesa version won\u2019t suddenly break your graphics.\n\n\nCurrently we have packages built directly from KDE\u2019s Git branches of KDE Frameworks, Plasma and Applications. This is perfect for contributors and testers who want to develop against the latest codebase. Coming soon we\u2019ll have the latest builds of KDE\u2019s released software, ideal for those who want the latest features on the day they\u2019re released.\n\n\nWe have a nice continuous integration system set up which grabs the latest sources and builds them pronto.\n\n\nImages for live testing and installing should also be available in the coming weeks.\n\n Project neon \n\nA glimpse of KDE neon.\n\n\n\nIs it a KDE distribution? If so, what is the base?\n\n\nIt\u2019s a KDE project just like hundreds of other projects are part of KDE. \u00a0As KDE makes a lot of great software it makes sense to work as part of that team directly rather than be in some separate project.\n\n\nWe build binary packages akin to KDE on Windows and several other projects. \u00a0It doesn\u2019t change KDE\u2019s relationship to the Linux distros that will always be the main way to get KDE\u2019s software. \u00a0It uses Ubuntu LTS (actually 15.10 until the next LTS comes out) as its base as that is good technology which the team is familiar with.\n\n\nCan openSUSE or Arch users use KDE neon?\n\n\nNeon makes packages that work on the base of Ubuntu. It\u2019s not compatible with other distros. \u00a0For now, to install neon you should start with a Kubuntu image and add the repository. \u00a0We\u2019ll have installable images in the coming weeks.\n\n\nWhat\u2019s the idea behind KDE neon?\n\n\nMany KDE developers, and developers from other projects too, get frustrated that they release their software then have to wait weeks or months for users to be able to get their hands on it. \u00a0Neon allows users to get the latest KDE software, either stable or bleeding edge, fast. \u00a0Not everyone will want that; many people won\u2019t like new features appearing without warning. But for those who enjoy that we\u2019re there for them.\n\n\nWe were also keen to be a KDE project as KDE is a friendly community that respects software licensing, respects its users and respects its contributors.\n\n\nAnd of course we\u2019ll work inside KDE itself, not alone. \u00a0It\u2019s always puzzled me why KDE leaves some parts of its experience up to other projects such as the boot splash. \u00a0We\u2019ll work with Plasma\u2019s team to get a Plasma boot splash into Plasma and use that.\n\n\nThere have been some naming issues at KDE. For example, the desktop is called Plasma and not KDE desktop anymore. So what exactly is KDE neon?\n\n\nKDE has long since moved past being just a desktop project. \u00a0We\u2019re now a community with hundreds of end-user focused projects. \u00a0From educational games like GCompris to teaching tools like WikiToLearn to technical projects like Necessitas (now upstream happily making Qt work on Android) it\u2019s a great place to help on open source in a way that gets to the whole world and not just coders.\n\n\nKDE neon is a new project that is providing packages of other software made by KDE.\n\n\nWhat\u2019s the release cycle of neon?\n\n\nOur continuousintegration server works tirelessly using buzzword compliant provisioned cloud containers to build software as soon as it exists; there\u2019s no need to wait for a release, just grab the latest today.\n\n\nHaving said that, it\u2019s useful for both the project and users to have a milestone so we expect to make versioned releases alongside releases of KDE\u2019s Plasma desktop, as that is the flagship project from KDE that forms the center of KDE neon.\n\n\nWhen and where will it be announced?\n\n\nI\u2019m announcing it on Sunday at FOSDEM, the largest gathering of free and open source geeks in Europe. \u00a0Do come to my talk in the Desktop Devroom at 12:45 if you\u2019re in Brussels.\n\n\nIs it a one man project or is there any community behind it?\n\n\nThere\u2019s the whole KDE community! \u00a0That\u2019s the beauty of KDE, anyone can contribute to any part without having to build up trust. We already trust each other. \u00a0So the packages are in a Git repository that all KDE developers have access to. \u00a0This means if you\u2019re a KDE developer and you\u2019ve just committed a new feature that you\u2019d like to test with Neon\u2019s unstable packages, but it needs some updates to the packaging before it can be used, you can just update the packaging. \u00a0No more waiting around for weeks for someone else to take the changes and make them available.\n\n\nThe core team is me and KDE legend Harald Sitter, with lots of help from Plasma developers and KDE\u2019s visual design group. \u00a0We welcome anyone else to come along and help out. You can find us in #kde-devel on Freenode IRC or on the neon mailing list.\n\n\nWhere is the project getting its funding from?\n\n\nIt\u2019s a KDE project. No need for funding. We just want to have some fun and make something people will enjoy using. \u00a0Blue Systems sponsors some of my time and a nice company called Cloudsoft likes to show off their impressive open source credentials by sponsoring me a desk in their office in Edinburgh (just next to the castle, too, it\u2019s very beautiful). \u00a0I\u2019ll probably put up a donate option once I work out a bank account for those wanting to sponsor hardware or travel but KDE takes care of a lot of that so I recommend donating to KDE directly for now.