When Mark Shuttleworth started to build a new linux operating system in
2004, he did not know if he would base it on KDE or Gnome, the two
desktop environments most popular at the time. Xfce as a desktop environment was very young and unknown. Since he, as the only financial backer of the new operating system, wanted to be able to use either of
the environments known to be stable, he hired both Kubuntu and Ubuntu developers.
In 2006, a developer named Jani Monoses started a derivative of Ubuntu that would be lighter in resources and use the Xfce desktop environment. That derivative was released as Xubuntu 6.06 and was the
first official release of Xubuntu. Jani has since moved on to create Kiwi, a derivative of Ubuntu for Romanians, and is working with the Ubuntu ARM team.
As an supported, official derivative of Ubuntu, Kubuntu has paid developers.