I have decided to add a new layout to the collection available in Ubuntu MATE 18.04. It will be called Familiar and is based on the Traditional layout with the menu-bar (Applications, Places, System) replaced by Brisk Menu. It looks like this:
Familiar will become the default layout for new installs of Ubuntu MATE 18.04. Traditional will continue to be shipped, unchanged, and will be available via MATE Tweak for those who prefer it.
I experimented with a change to the Traditional layout earlier in the 18.04 development cycle and this was met with some hostility and brought into question my commitment to community opinion because it strayed from something I'd previously communicated, that we would retain the Traditional layout as default.
The landscape has changed since we debated default layouts, Brisk Menu has improved considerably and Ubuntu MATE and MATE Desktop have made huge strides in supporting Super key and other modifiers as action keys just as you'd expect to use in main stream operating systems.
With the 18.04 LTS ahead of us I firmly believe that Ubuntu MATE has to put its best foot forward and present a default experience that exploits all the advancements we've made over the last 2 years, which includes migrating to GTK3, MATE HUD, uplifting all themes to support all GTK3 style classes, refinements in Ubuntu MATE Welcome and improvements in Software Boutique, Brisk Menu joining the MATE ecosystem, Indicators by default, hardware accelerated window manager compositing, super charging the file manager with many useful extensions, HiDPI support, proper global menu support, artwork and branding refreshes and hundreds of bug fixes.
I hope you all understand the rationale for this change and accept that this change, like any other, is being made for the betterment of Ubuntu MATE and appreciate that I have spent far longer carefully composing this post than the time it took to create the Familiar layout and make it default.