Ideas of improvements

Hi everyone,

First, thank you to all the people who contributed to Ubuntu Mate. I upgraded my computer two weeks ago, and it is awsome! For the future realeses, I tought about some improvements :

1 - Global search

This is a modern feature that is alredy in Windows 10 (search your computer / cortana), and OS X (spotlight). It could search through apps and files, but also dictionary, calculator, browser history and bookmarks, software center, and optionally activable, online sources, such as google with search suggestions, wikipedia, weather, e-mails, amazon, youtube and other video providers, ubuntu documentation, … If it is integrated, it would replace synapse. Synapse is a bit hard to use and configure, and the popup in the middle of the screen is not really handy. In my opinion, it really need to be replaced by something more modern.

2 - Windows like panel layout

You shold add to mate tweak a panel layout that looks more like the modern Windows (past Windows 7). It is easy to add and gives the user more choice for configuration.

It can be a 45px panel at the bottom, with the mate menu (same as mutiny) and the dock applet on the left, and the indicators on the right.

3 - Remove Thunderbird from default install.

Nowadays, a lot of people are checking their mail through a webmail. I think you should remove Thunderbird from default install, and add it to the software boutique ad well as Nylas N1, Evolution, Gmail desktop integration.

4 - Improve panel applets

Just keep devlopping the mate panel applets. For example, you can add : a timer / chrono applet, a weather applet with drop down forecast, add show percentage and duration of battery in taskbar, …

5 - Grid design menu

A modern look menu, activable with mate tweak, featuring a modern grid of apps menu, and a search bar (like in elementary for example)

6 - Fn inversion

I would really like an option inversing the function keys (emulate all the time fn pressed, and if it is pressed, emulate it is not). I think this would be helpful for a lot of users.

Thank you for reading and please tell me in the comments what you think about it.


HI @jeanphilippe_ardrone,

1 - You’ll find Synapse in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 which provides “Global Search” like functionality. It can be enabled via MATE Tweak as “Enabler Launcher”. Synapse does more than just launching however.

2 - Enable Redmond and the Advanced Menu in MATE Tweak, that will give you something more akin to Window 7. Ubuntu MATE is not intending to implement a Windows 8 or Windows 10 UI however, so please don’t hope to see tiles :slight_smile:

3 - Nylas N1 is a privacy nightmare. Geary is no longer maintained. Thunderbird in Ubuntu MATE includes everything you need to integrate with Gmail “out of the box”, including Contact and Calendar syncing. The other option you’ll find in the Software Boutique is Evolution, that also provides deep Gmail integration.

4 - Contributions are always welcome :slight_smile:

5 - The Advanced Menu provides some of what you request, but I don’t like the Advanced Menu that much. I am thinking about an alternative menu and this an area I really want to improve.

6 - I’ve only ever seen the Fn key inversion provided via the BIOS. Is this even possible outside of the BIOS/EFI settings? If so, reference material please :slight_smile:


Hi @Wimpy,

if the FN keys were inverted, you would still have to press them to get the other keys back to a normal function so it defeats the object of doing it in the first place. FN key inversion also changes from laptop model to laptop model and not everyone (including me) would be happy with this feature as (imo) I think it is muted!. :frowning:

Thank you for your feedback.

I don't know exacly about how Fn keys work. I know you can invert them on a Mac, but after thinking about it, I realized this is something that is probably not going to work on Linux due to the different range of hardware it runs on. I've checked my BIOS and it doesn't have this option.

For 2, I was thinking about something like that :

I think it sould'nt be too hard to add and I don't think there is any reason why it shouldn't be added... It will probably make some of us happy.

P.S: I forgot to add the workspace switcher on this screenshot.

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For (1), give Albert a try. It’s still in development, and occasionally flakey, but it’s really fast when it’s working. Martin maintains a PPA for it.

Unsolicited suggestion: I'd love an option for listing all applications without categories. As someone who didn't "grown up" using GNOME 2, I can never remember which category I can find an app in.

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Albert looks like an interesting project. If it could be integrated as a panel applet it would be even better (and with a few more modules also).

In your screenshot for 2, I’m not sure what Im looking for that isn’t already in Redmond. Can you explain how your screenshot differs to drawy attention to what you’re explaining please :slight_smile:

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE no global search by default. That’s what drove me away from Gnome 3 and Unity. I know where my stuff is and I like it that way. I’d rather see bugs fixed then a New, Flashy, Better interface. Everyone seems to be in a hurry for the next big thing but this global search stuff is rubbish and doesn’t work as well as advertised.


Whereas I hesitated on MATE at first because it lacked a good built-in/bundled search. :wink:

What I like best about (Ubuntu) MATE is that the developers aren’t afraid of providing some options!

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I like both the advanced menu (despite the lack of visual polish compared to e.g. the Cinnamon menu) and Synapse.
In both cases I use them mostly for quickly launching applications by name, and Synapse also for suspend/logout/shutdown.
Global search (especially one that includes online results) is something I’m not overly fond of. :wink:

Btw. a more Ubuntu-MATE-esque icon for Synapse would be cool - right now it sticks out a bit too much among the other icons in the notification area.

I agree w/ ramblinman41, please no additional global search function. Use Synapse if needed.

Other than that, I love Ubuntu MATE just the way it is! :slight_smile:


@Wimpy About Geary, I found this blog post about the elementary os folks announcing Pantheon Mail, which is a fork of Geary, and making it available for others. Would it be possible to put Pantheon Mail then?

Used Thunderbird for the first time and adding an account which has 7,000 emails took quite a while to get things in order. Tried Geary after seeing some info about it. It was blazing fast and the messages appear in the notification bar.

@jeanphilippe_ardrone For idea #2, you mean a panel like cinnamon or budgie? Its a nice look, and would be neat to have something like them, but I also like the advance menu. Guess I’m easy to please. :smile:

I think the option of having a global search would be fantastic. Synapse seems a little to “clunky” for my taste. Judging from the feedback here, I definitely would rather have this as an option rather than having it enabled by default.

You realize that Unity and Gnome 3 both have global search? As an option I don’t have a problem with but as a default won’t work. Mate, currently has the smallest memory footprint of all the desktops save for LXDE. It works good as is. Adding a bunch of bells and whistles that only work on a top end system will cause endless problems.


I’m sure that you know that you can reorganise the software launchers in the menu. This allows you to put things where you want them to be - like that you don’t have to remember where the OS puts them per default. If you haven’t come across that option yet reply to this post and I’ll post some screenshots as a guide.



Thunderbird. The latest “LINUXVOICE” podcast (Podcast Season 4 Episode 8 | | V.oice of the Masses: Where does Thunderbird belong?) talks about the drawbacks and the strengths of Thunderbird. In the podcaster’s opinion Thunderbird is not perfect, but is currently the best Linux mail client available.
I think its inclusion in UM is therefore justified.

I use Thunderbird and cannot complain about its functionality!. :smiley:

to be honest I don’t like web-mail at all (I use it very rarely). Thunderbird is my choice #1 I can’t even remember when i started to use it and since lightning was created I have no reason look for a different email solution (i wish it would be integrated by default).

I also prefer the Thunderbird+Lighting combo over anything else - especially webmail.