Ubuntu doesn't even have a Gnome spin, they dumped Gnome even before dumping KDE. (yes, Gnome is still packaged, but there's no LiveCD with Gnome and the regular Ubuntu LiveCD will install a Unity desktop that needs to be manually changed to Gnome.)
You shouldn't overstate the differences between Unity and upstream Gnome - they still have 99% of their code in common. They have big political differences, but technically, it amounts to a different WM, a few custom libraries, and a scattering of patches. For most practical purposes, Unity *is* Gnome.
OpenSUSE's not majorly different than other distros. Why would you say it's harder to use? It's YaST utility that lets you change almost everything on your system from a GUI generally leads people to say it's easier to use than many distros. The installer is also without argument the most powerful of any Linux distro.
Thats may be the worst news I head this year. I use Kubuntu for 3 years now(Using Ubuntu for 5 years now). I like KDE, at least more more better then Unity or Gnome 3. Kubuntu has some lagging in supporting some features/software of Ubuntu(Like its a step sister of Ubuntu but still a sister) and make it non Canoncial supporting will make KDE just more alien type in Ubuntu packages. Canoncial I think just going mad and playing russian roulette(Unity and many decisions are triggers and now finally this).
I used KDE with Fedora in my University's PCs but Kubuntu seems far better to me. If starting 12.10 Kubuntu lags more, may be I have to check other KDE based distros.
You might check out these two options for personal-use desktops/laptops:
My understanding of the situation is that Kubuntu has always been a second or third rate Ubuntu citizen.
I personally do not get this 'distro' thing. What the hell is going on. What we have in common is repositories. Canonical simply need to have one OS where users download the windowing system after installing the base files. Maybe Unity/Wayland could be the base.
I run KDE under a Kubuntu initial distribution, but GTK and KDE stuff all runs. Once you install, the distro distinctions blurs.
Do people think Canonical will lower their attention to KDE packages and their release dates?
Why not use opensuse, I find their KDE implementation close to perfect and with the right repositories you can stay very very close to official releases ? Personally am happy with it, never really saw kubuntu as a valid alternative.
It is nice to have Canonical's frequent release schedules. Doesn't OpenSuse use Yum?
Go upstream, aka Debian.
Besides you can't go Gnome on Ubuntu, you can only go for Unity.
I left Unity for Fedora, although I don't hate Gnome3 with a passion, your case is probably different.
I've found most other releases are too behind. Nothing worse then downloading ISO and installing, to find KDE3 or old version of KDE4, then have to go on a hunt to find repositories that somewhat give new content.
I havn't decided to leave Kubuntu, but I want to be ready to leave in case things start going badly. I was hoping that Ubuntu would learn from their mistakes with Unity and Gnome 3 move the other way, toward KDE. All else equal, I'd rather give my support and business to firms and what not that better support KDE. I'd most prefer to patronize Fedora/Red Hat because my support there would benefit all Linux, but I know that I won't be getting enough of what I want. Besides, I've converted many people to Linux, many of whom aren't very tech savy and it takes some effort to set things up so I don't have to constantly answer questions or help them make things work the way they need it to. If I can find something that makes it easier for new converts, that's even better.
I think Canonical is making many good choices, even though users are angry over changes. Canonical is getting ready for their products to be on Tablets, and other devices. To do that they need 'Unity' and the methods to suit a variety of devices. Other Companies and distro makers are missing this direction and could find themselves on an island.
Usually you don't have to upgrade the whole system that often. For the few packages where I really want to be on the bleeding edge I add the so called "Factory" repositories to zypper which are updated often and contain the most recent versions (KDE for example, I'm currently running openSUSE 12.1 with KDE 4.8 without any problems)