I’m sure Ubuntu users who happen to love a classic desktop will be pleased to see how this project develops into a solid distribution. Although MATE is available in the repositories starting with Trusty, and there are well-established distributions that use MATE like Linux Mint, Ubuntu MATE may just have enough supporters to succeed.
The distribution is not yet an official Ubuntu flavor, however, according to the information on the website, work is being done in this regard.
This alpha reminds me of the days when Ubuntu used GNOME 2.x as the primary desktop. MATE is a well-polished, classic desktop, which perfectly resembles the old GNOME desktop, yet improves it with every release. Of course, there are still alternatives like Xfce, which covers a niche very well, but I believe MATE is the closest to get near the GNOME 2 look and feel.
Ubuntu MATE Remix uses the Utopic Unicorn package base and repositories. Since this is an alpha, things may change in the following development releases. Still, let’s take a look at the current state, which is Alpha 1 plus updates.
Currently it includes MATE 1.8.1, Linux Kernel 3.15, Firefox 31.
Currently available wallpapers:
There are enough themes to fit most tastes and more are available online:
By default, desktop effects seem to be disabled. You can enable compositing by install the compiz package (and eventually compizconfig-settings-manager to tweak it) and then manually typing compiz –replace in a terminal to replace the default window manager. Additionally, you can add this command inside System->Preferences->Startup Applications.
You may need to open the CompizConfig Settings Manager (type ccsm in a terminal or go to System->Preferences->CompizConfig Settings Manager) and enable the Window Decorations and Move Window options.
Some applications included are:
- Firefox – web browser
- Caja – file manager
- HexChat – IRC client
- Engrampa – archive manager
- Atril – document viewer
- LibreOffice – office suite
- Rhythmbox – music player
- Videos – movie player
- Eye of MATE – image viewer
- Shotwell – photo editor
- Pidgin – chat application
- MATE Terminal – terminal emulator
The Ubuntu Software Center is the default package management application:
The Control Center offers quick access to system settings:
A useful menu editor is included too:
Adding applets to the panel:
Since MATE in Trusty is version 1.6, it’s worth the effort to see the latest one from the upcoming Utopic base. Compared to 1.6, this release has some applications changes, like Caja, Engrampa or Eye of MATE, as well as improvements. See the announcement here for all the changes that were put in 1.8.