After exactly two years of neglect which I will henceforth market as 'LTS cadence' last week I released a new version of the Ubuntu remix with Romanian, Hungarian, German and English languages included by default.
It is based on Ubuntu 12.04.1, and keeping in line with the traditional and largely unwritten goals of the project, it targets Linux newbies who find some of the standard Ubuntu apps lacking or who are taken aback by anything too unfamiliar. Windows XP users for example. It also targets lazy people who would otherwise change about the same things on a vanilla Ubuntu install.
So it features the Classic Gnome 2 desktop, Chromium, VLC, Pidgin, Flash, multimedia codecs and the rar and p7zip archive format handlers popular in Windows. Small changes compared to plain Ubuntu for someone who knows where to find these packages or change the defaults but for new users such small changes can save a lot of googling and digging in forums. I do not think there needs to be any rite of passage for someone to qualify to simply use a free OS.
Besides the usplash theme and some changes to the installer slideshow the appearance is 100% Ubuntu. No point in spending time on custom wallpapers let alone entire themes and invalidating the hard work that went into the Ubuntu looks in the past few years just to gain some gratuitous differentiation. Besides, users tend to change their wallpapers.
Also no separate community is encouraged, it is more or less Ubuntu, people should use the regular forums.
I also switched the website to use the nice Jekyll tool and to host it on Github Pages while updating and deleting a lot of text from it. Still there is much to trim before perfection is achieved.
The plan, which was tentative two years ago, to no longer release non-LTS based releases is settled on now. If there's still a market for Linux desktops in two years, you may see a Kiwi 14.XX then :)
Next step: upgrade my mom's old Kiwi 8.04 or whatever old version is on her computer :)