A Tale of Two Distros (well actually 10 or so)

I am writing this (first post) because Ubuntu Mate is a dream distro. I am back on Mate after trying both fixed and rolling versions of KDE, Xfce, Mate and Cinnamon over a period of several weeks. Most worked OK (more or less), but the one which I liked best on live boot proved to be problematic. This particular distro is clearly one for enthusiasts. After scouring the Internet for solutions, learning along the way, I had to…

Disable (in the bios) conflicting on-board graphics in favour of the Nvidia card - otherwise the live USB would not boot.
Use Gparted to create new ext4 partitions. The installer refused to use what was already there.
Manually select boot/efi.
Wait for 30 minutes while the installer borked at the 26% mark.
Re-start the install without pre-selected extra downloads (to avoid the 26% bottleneck).
Un-blacklist the ethernet driver (a tough one to solve without internet – used a laptop with wireless).
Resolve an error message about circular dependencies that was preventing updates.
Hunt for, and manually install printer drivers.

Ubuntu Mate breezes through the install without batting an eyelid… The only (small) issue I had was with an HP laser printer that needed a plug in, but this self-fixed on re-boot. Mate also automatically installed my other USB connected printer (Epson) and a wireless HP.

Ubuntu Mate is not just a retrospective future – it is the future. The Welcome Application and the Software Boutique exude a polish and completeness that no other distro can match.


[quote=“mystery, post:1, topic:13631”]Ubuntu Mate breezes through the install without batting an eyelid…[/quote]Were those other distributions Ubuntu/Debian based or something else? Because I see very little reason for Ubuntu MATE to work where other Ubuntu flavours would not.

Simply because the kernel, in all flavours, is the exact same one. With the exact same fairly broad hardware support.


The problematic distro was Arch-based, but a Debian version also created some issues not mentioned in my earlier post. The other distro flavours I checked worked well enough and they have a place. I posted to highlight the extreme difference, regardless of flavour or kernel, between a distro that won’t even install and the usability of Ubuntu Mate.

The end-user experience is what matters most to me and possibly to millions of other non-technical folk. For us, the term “install” means not just copying over an OS, but all the “other stuff” (additional software, backups, printers, video drivers, codecs etc) needed to reliably do some work or have some fun. In addition to a trouble-free OS install, the Welcome App and the Software Boutique create a better experience by making this other stuff easy and quick. This is where Ubuntu Mate really shines.

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You are absolutely correct. There are those that love to play and those that love to use.

The "users" far outweigh the "players". We "users" want something that works and has the least amount of futzing required. We WANT to get away from Windows of all ilks and use a stable system.

I have wasted hundreds of hours getting around or fixing Windows based computers. Windows is an anathema IMO. Yes, I am a cranky old fart. :slight_smile:

[quote=“fey42, post:4, topic:13631”]The “users” far outweigh the “players”.[/quote]In Windows, sure. In the Linux community – not so sure. Which is not me trying to be elitist or something. No, make no mistake there. No, what I mean is – even now, after Ubuntu and similar families of distributions have tried to make the Linux experience a more welcoming one I find that people are still put off by it to some extent.

Take my parents-in-law for example – one has an ancient laptop that ran Windows XP but that was going end of life and the laptop simply wouldn’t have run anything more modern than that, Windows-wise. The other made the unfortunate mistake of accepting the free upgrade to Windows 10 and ended up with a system that worked marginally at best and was stupidly slow. I offered them the alternative of a Linux based distribution. But, obviously, I had to install it for them.

Could they have done it themselves? Maybe. But it still was… alien to them, somehow. Vaguely they had heard about it (Linux) but it wasn’t all that clear to them it’s a perfectly fine alternative to Windows these days. Now, both of them could not be happier with their Ubuntu installations but the point remains that even if Linux can be just as user friendly as Windows, if not even more so (which I firmly believe), not enough people know that just yet.


Therein lies the problem; it’s not Windows. It’s like moving into a totally different neighborhood, with totally different people you’re totally unfamiliar with.

It truly is a different place if people are so dependent on Windows. Which is why for someone to make the switch, they need to change some of their tools around to open-source ones available cross-platform, and even then there will be differences in front-ends because of how everything is displayed between different front-ends.

A major example of this is LogMeIn Hamachi; the Linux beta has no interface so somebody whipped one up in GTK and called it Haguichi. Users familiar with Hamachi for Windows would be a little bit lost, as I was. (Fortunately from what I saw, I can use it alongside Wine for network stuff between systems on Windows-only programs if I absolutely had to.)

If someone wanted to do some emulator stuff on Linux, it’s a little bit harder there, and harder still when using something else because what you use to play old games on is exclusive to Windows or DOS.

If somebody commit their entire life to Internet Explorer between updates, users would need to install an alternative cross-platform browser before they make the jump, and establish syncing services if they don’t want to push files around. (Firefox and Chrome both have cloud-based synchronization.)

There’s a lot involved excising the cancer that is Windows, especially true for gamers that have friends who play stuff which is just for Windows due to DirectX requirements. It’s less hassle for most users if someone is so deftly reliant on DirectX 10 and greater, and to a lesser extent DirectX 9.0c to remain on Windows.

…It’s like moving into a totally different neighborhood

…not enough people know that just yet.

A cup of tea offered by the folk next door while new arrivals are trying to locate the kettle in the mess of moving can mean a lot. Linux is indeed “a different neighbourhood” and a kind welcome makes a huge difference. Millions might use Linux if they only knew about it so I am going to stick my neck out by advocating heresy…

If you love something that you think might be beneficial to others you would like to tell them about it would you not?

I believe the excellent Ubuntu Mate Welcome App has made a good start on marketing Linux to the millions who believe there is no alternative to Microsoft or Apple. Charities and other not for profit enterprises all use marketing to promote their message so why not Linux, in particular Ubuntu Mate.

tMy 2cents worth.
I run two lap tops. Coming from a windows background, I knew where the files were kept, I knew how to access what I wanted. But switching to linux was beyond my capabilities. Like I mentioned I run two laptops. One with Windows and One with Linux. I couldnt get my windows games to work on the linux even with using ‘Play on linux’ and ‘Wine’. All the downloading and tweeking needed, so I just gave up. Linux did give my old laptop some life and has extended it, and I’m upgrading to new linux based games. I buy mainly disc not digital, so i found it was a big hassle for me to try and swap all my games over to linux. I just want something i can load in the cd player and install then play. I dont seem to be able to do that with Linux, which is a shame. I currently have Ubuntu Mate 17.4 and downloading the latest 17.10. not sure if I will install it full time yet, I’ll check it out and see how it goes.