Poll: Removing Pidgin and Hexchat from default install

Voted for removing both. I never really used either of them.

Since it’s not an option, I’ll put it here.

remove Pidgin - Yes

remove Hexchat - No


I don’t know why Pidgin and Hexchat are still bundled as they are pretty much irrelevant on a PC these days. If the OS builders are thinking of dumping them, then they should also drop Firefox and Thunderbird from the line up to remove bloat. I could make a list of none-essentials but those four are the first to go when I do an install. Chromium is the first item missing that I always add immediately.

That seems an odd combination to drop from my perspective. For me, the only criteria for dropping something from the preinstalled OS is because, as you say, it is more or less irrelevant on a PC nowadays. In the case of Hexchat and Pidgin, I can see the argument (at least for me). However, I am willing to concede that although these may never be used by me, it is possible that they are used a lot by others.

Thunderbird and Firefox, though? Surely a web browser is pretty much the most important thing on a PC for the majority of people? As for Thunderbird, for me, this is the first thing I set up so that I do not have to endlessly go to 5 different web sites to pick up my email. Instead, they all get funnelled into the one place.


HexChat is an IRC client.
Irrelevant nowadays… I can see your point I guess. Here’s the thing though:

  • IRC is Ancient, but not in an uncool way. It’s Ancient in the Stargate meaning of the term: Badassly Awesome and Eternal.
  • One of the support locations for the new users is the IRC chatroom on freenode. Some of the people trying the OS might need some quick help, and they might not want to create an account here on the forum just so they can ask a question

More to the point though. If it is decided that HexChat is to get Axed, we need a replacement. Is there any good GTK3 IRC client someone knows about?


With respect stevecook, I agree that a browser these days is pretty much the heart of what most of us use a PC for as a tool. In reading my post in its entirety, you will notice that I did not say “we don’t need a browser,” but I did say that my preference is to replace Firefox with something that works better. Chromium (or Chrome,) does it better for me. As for Thunderbird, most of the functions found in an email client can be found in webmail or on your phone, so why bother having it in the bundle? It is just more bloat isn’t it? Some of the above posts mention a leaning towards a bare-bones version of Ubuntu Mate and all I can say to that is “bring it on yesterday please!” As to the subject of this discussion, so far the poll results appear to be in the affirmative at 83% to 17% which to me is very persuasive. Like they say - “what makes us the same, is the fact that we are all different.” Cheers GB.

A hard client is something I would never trade for a browser-based solution. It’s lighter on resources, it doesn’t depends on a lot of things, and most importantly the more your software is moved to a browser, the easiest it is to track you.

Edit: oh and cherry on the cake: it can’t be used to feed you ads.


I use Thunderbird Mail on one system and Evolution Mail on the other. I can’t make up my mind which I like best but leaning toward Evolution Mail.

@ouroumov This is why you use plugins like Privacy Badger (EFF are the good guys).

I agree with removing Pidgin and HexChat, I’ve never used these since the early 00’s. HexChat is discontinued also, so no development will be happening on that. There are GTK3 replacements you could use, but many require lots of additional dependencies (aka, bloat).

I don’t think Chromium should be added as default. It’s not built really in accordance with *nix principles. They’ve forked just how many ‘libs’ just for ‘Chromium’.

I agree also that VLC should not be essential. You want it? Sudo apt-get install vlc, et voila.

This turns to a funny discussion.

Why not just apt-get everything what you want? A command line system can give you all that but then we would not be here enjoying the out of the box experience of Ubuntu Mate.

Apart from some things I already find Ubuntu Mate to be relatively “bloat” free. There is no useless software center, Boutique is already a great replacement, no Synaptic, I do not need it and it would probably confuse new users. In comparison to some other distributions we have one tool for one task like VLC and not additionally Totem like in Mint, one browser, one music player etc.

In the case of Pidgin and Hexchat, I can understand the decision, they are Gtk2 apps and that seems to be the problem in the future. You could then argue why VLC, it is written in Qt but then the community already decided to replace Totem with VLC and I think for the better. I still prefer plain mplayer though.


That’s just going to the extreme. A good middle-ground is to have the same amount of functionality as a default install of Windows would give you. Not everything is on Windows by default, codecs (some), Browsers, additional software etc will need user interaction to be installed.

There are so few people who actually use those apps, it would be better to let them add them themselves as they are easily accessible in the boutique or through other methods. The way it is, I have to go around uninstalling things when I install a new distro - it’s kind of a pain in the neck. Having a customizable distro already ‘customized’ sort of defeats the purpose.

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The mini.iso discussed earlier would solve this problem for the people who want a minimalist system.
BTW, what ever happened to that thing.


This thing? The Mini ISO is still around.

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I wish most distros would do that. I know what I use and would like to just install that.

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As always, this has been an interesting discussion. I’ll cover a few points:

The reason for suggesting removing Hexchat and Pidgin is more about their relevance, to most users, rather than iso image space. I personally never use Pidgin, nor do I use any of the instant messaging platforms is supports. I used to, years ago, but now G+, Twitter and Telegram have replaced those. I do however use Xchat all the time, but that is mostly because I’m a developer and just about all Open Source development communication happens via IRC.

The seeds and meta-packages in Ubuntu MATE 16.10 have beem completely restructured. Most pre-installed components can now be uninstalled without uninstalling the ubuntu-mate-desktop meta-package too. To accomplish this has required lots of packages in the Ubuntu archive be patched to add MATE support. I’ve beem working towards this for over a year.

I did investigate replacing Firefox with Chromium as the default browser. After speaking to the Ubuntu Security team the decision is simple, stick with Firefox. Firefox is one of the packages maintained by the Ubuntu Security team, while Chromium is not. Chromium is updated on an adhoc, best efforts, basis.

All the default installed applications will (eventually) be listed in the Software Boutique, so you can easily install/remove the components you want to craft your own desktop experience.


That’s excellent news on the meta-packages front Martin. Thank you very much for your efforts.

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I suspected something like that. I think Chromium has received one single update since 16.04 release, and that really nasty bug in the PDF viewer hasn’t been fixed, yet. Though I prefer Firefox, I’d still like to see Chromium get regular security updates as well.

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As already posted also remove dependencies for fonts from mate desktop so fonts not needed can be uninstalled.

It’s not that one should apt install everything, my main concern is more OOTB things being considered so essential, that apt remove also removes a UM metapackage.

If I wanted to remove Firefox in favour of Cnrome (Chromium), then I should be able to remove Firefox and nothing more. If I wanted to remove, say, Caja from my desktop, that should take ubuntu-mate-core with it.

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