I am asking this just because I just have no idea really... haha. Is there any benefit to running "mainline" Gnome ubuntu over Mate? I have a recent-ish machine and I guess I have "missing out" syndrome wondering if there are features in the gnome version that don't make it into Mate. I'm not really sure if that is true but I wanted to get people's take. Could I dual boot and delete other partition later and reclaim the space if I want? It took me a long time to get to a very comfortable set up in Mate so I don't want to lose that by distro hopping at the moment.
There are no benefits to run GNOME Shell.
But there are tons of benefits running MATE (as in Ubuntu MATE). I'll cite my answer from askubuntu below:
The basics: MATE is desktop environment, Ubuntu MATE is an official Ubuntu flavor.
One can do fresh install of Ubuntu MATE using official ISO or by installing
ubuntu-mate-desktop^(task) package on top of existing system.
Then about the differences and benefits.
The complete list depends on your workflow and needs.
On my daily work in Ubuntu MATE I'm happy with following functionality:
Caja file manager for files and desktop:
- have any objects inside my
~/Desktopfolder, controlled by Caja (MATE file-manager, see screenshot here);
- have fully functional drag-and-drop between any folders including
~/Desktopand MATE Panel;
- have Dropbox, Git and Mercurial repositories integrated into Caja (see screenshot here);
- have fully integrated Engrampa archiver to create password-protected archives;
- have an ability to launch applications by visiting
- have a side pane opened by F3 in the Caja with various modes;
- have infinite possibilities to expand Caja by scripts and actions;
- have 400% large thumbnails.
MATE desktop overall:
- have an ability to use Applications, Places, System menus on the top MATE Panel;
- have an ability to set Ctrl+Shift keyboard shortcut to switch keyboard layouts with my PPA to prevent interference;
- have keyboard access to the window frame mnemonics by Alt+Space;
- have an ability to indicate current keyboard layout using country flag;
- have an ability to set up Compiz with all its plugins like Annotate;
- have customizable MATE Panel without plugins and extensions;
- have an ability to install and use tiling utility named X-tile to effectively organize screen space;
- have an ability to leave a message from screensaver of locked system for a user;
- have well-integrated e-mail checker into Indicator Messages by Popper (on 18.04 LTS), MailNag or Ayatana WebMail (on 21.04 and newer);
- have an ability to install some old but cool ScreenLets and custom widgets to be shown on desktop;
- have an ability to list calendar events from Evolution in preinstalled Clock applet;
- have an ability to check time and weather in different timezones using preinstalled Clock or
- have media players like VLC or Guayadeque Music Player
indicator-soundas shown on image.
Thanks so much for the reply. I am overall happy with Mate but this is good information to reinforce the differences and benefits.
I have used both Ubuntu’s GNOME version and the Ubuntu Mate flavor and I think UM is better. I like GNOME. I am not a fanboy but I finally understand the idea behind it I think. I like Manjaro’s implantation of GNOME best and POP!_OS COSMIC as a close second and when System76’s COSMIC layout matures it will be my favorite version GNOME I predict. Manjaro’s GNOME has a convenient layout switcher which makes it a wonderful user experience. But you can’t beat the simplicity and elegance of Ubuntu Mate which is more flexible and robust. Plus you can experience a like-GNOME experience with the Ubuntu Mate layout switcher too. Stick with UM which is a superior desktop. Finally, Zorin’s Core version of GNOME is actually very good and ironically it is based on Ubuntu.
thanks for the awesome information.