Just switched to Ubuntu MATE, am very happy with it - some ideas


Hi everyone,

I switched to UM (18.04) a few days ago after spending a lot of time with other Ubuntu flavours, and sometimes other distros. (For completeness' sake I should probably mention that I dual boot with Windows, though I generally only use it for things that are either impossible or too much of a headache under Linux.)

Great! Everything works just as it should, and some of the artwork and visual design is my favourite in Ubuntu so far. And I haven't run into any serious bugs or other problems yet. Thank you for all the great work!

Some suggestions:

It would be nice if you could set separate times for the screensaver and the automatic screen lock, so that, for instance, your screensaver would turn on after ten minutes of inactivity and the screen would lock after 30 minutes or something like that.

It would also be nice if the slideshow setting of the screensaver could be set to get images from a different folder than the main images folder.

It would be nice if there was some way to export all your desktop settings into a file, so that you could easily import them on a later installation or a different machine.

And one thing that's more about Ubuntu in general: it would be nice if, somewhere in the repositories, there would be a countdown timer package that would allow you to run several countdowns at the same time. All the countdown timers I could find only allow for one countdown at once. If you're cooking several things at once, several countdowns can be very useful.


Hello, welcome, thanks for sharing your thoughts!

For the last suggestion, timers -- the MATE panel has an applet you can add to the panel that may be useful:


Right click panel → Add to Panel → Timer - then right click to configure/start/stop them.

Partially already as easy as copying (or zipping up) your home directory, since Linux generally uses flat configuration files, with some settings stored in d-conf (similar to the registry in Windows) all saved within hidden folders in your home directory. Press CTRL + H to reveal hidden files while in your home folder. The main ones being .config and .local.


Thank you, if I use both that one and the gnome-clocks software, I can have two countdowns at once.

Hm, my home directory is a bit large to zip it as a whole, and there are some settings directories that I can only copy, look at, or zip up with root access, which might mess with my permissions if I unpack a zipped file that was made with root access. But of course I can create a special directory, copy all the hidden folders into it while skipping the parts that would need root access, look through the directory to delete the parts that wouldn't apply on a different machine, and then zip the whole directory and unzip it, as needed, in my home folder on other installations.


I tried adding several of these to my panel so that I could have several of them running at once, but when I did that, as soon as the first one reached zero, they all crashed.

But don't worry, after some searching, I found two countdown bash scripts on the Web, and one of them was even free of bugs. Simple but effective.

As for the backup thing, zipping the hidden directories in my home directories works for some settings, but not for basic dock settings. Those seem to be in the file /home/username/.config/dconf/user , so in theory, saving that file and copying it into the /home/username/.config/dconf/ directory in a new installation should do the trick, but in practice, if you do that, the next time you reboot, the system restores the new installation's previous /home/username/.config/dconf/user file.


That doesn't happen to me on 16.04. :bug: Likely you've found a bug affecting 18.04 onwards (there's major technical differences between 16.04 GTK2 and 18.04 GTK3) - you'll want to report it on Launchpad.

It could be due to dbus-daemon running in the background. It should work if you do it while logged out of the session (either through the live session or as another user). When copying this file on a new installation, it's important the permissions remain the same.


Oh - I just tried to reproduce the bug before reporting it, and now it works fine for me.


Welcom To Ubuntu-Mate, Thanks for the suggestions. :smile: