Progress report as we approach 18.04 Beta 2

Hi all,

As Ubuntu MATE 18.04 beta 2 is fast approaching I thought I'd share what we've been working on the last few weeks :hammer: :tools: :sweat:


The new familiar desktop layout is now default.

MATE Desktop 1.20.1

We've released upstream MATE Desktop 1.20 point releases for:

  • mate-control-center-1.20.2
  • marco-1.20.1
  • mate-desktop-1.20.1
  • atril-1.20.1
  • mate-power-manager-1.20.1
  • mate-panel-1.20.1
  • mate-settings-daemon-1.20.1
  • pluma-1.20.1
  • mate-applets-1.20.1
  • mate-calc-1.20.1
  • libmatekbd-1.20.1
  • caja-1.20.1
  • mate-sensors-applet-1.20.1

All of these packages are now present in the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 daily images and also submitted to Debian unstable. These roll up a collection of fixes many of which I was already carrying patch sets for in Ubuntu MATE. The notable change is that Marco is now fully HiDPI aware and windows controls are scaled correctly :eyeglasses:

Ubuntu MATE Welcome

Welcome and Boutique have been given some love. :heart:

  • The software listings in the Boutique have been refreshed, with some applications being removed, many updated and some new additions.
  • Welcome now has snappier animations and transitions
  • A new "Customise Panels" feature is presented on the main page.

If you click that button you get presented with this:

We hope this will encourage more users to try out some alternative layouts from the selection we provide. Thanks to @lah7 for working on that!

Netbook layout

The Netbook layout has been updated, maximised windows now maximise into the top panel like the Mutiny layout. Brisk Menu replaces the custom-menu and mate-dock-applet is used for application pinning and launching. When maximising a window this offer some decent space savings :straight_ruler:

MATE Tweak

MATE Tweak has been updated:

  • Added support for the modifications to the Netbook layout.
  • Added a button to launch the Font preferences so users with HiDPI displays can fine tune their font DPI.
  • Added a new --get-layout runtime option so we can potentially improve the Customise Panels feature in Welcome.
  • When saving a panel layout the Dock status will be saved too.

What's next?

We've got a few final tasks on the go which include:

  • A final round of theme fixes for mate-themes. - DONE
  • A final round of theme fixes for ubuntu-mate-artwork. - DONE
  • We've been working on a two new xcursor pointer themes upstream in MATE that are traditional, come in white and black but also support HiDPI. Hopefully they will land in time for the final release. - DONE
  • We're working a bug fix update vala-panel-appmenu (the thing that makes Global Menu work) - DONE
  • We've got a patch that needs adding to slick-greeter to improve accessibility for visually impaired users. - DONE
  • BlueZ is experiencing multiple timeouts which may result in Bluetooth being inoperative. We're working with other Ubuntu flavours to resolve that. - DONE
  • Caja needs a couple of fixes to improve HiDPI support. - DONE

That's the TODO list for release day. There are other minor bugs we're aware of, they can't all be addressed before final release. But as I said in a previous update we'll be actively triaging 18.04 bugs following the release and SRU'ing fixes throughout the 18.10 cycle. :bug:

That said, I'm very happy with the stability of Ubuntu MATE 18.04 :muscle:


SO it means that someone could upgrade right now from 17.10 without too much ado… right ?


Run the live installer and see how it works on your system without installing. Or improve your odds of success by waiting for beta2 to come out.

Would it be beneficial to reinstall from the second beta to refresh any customizations and give you guys clean feedback without any possible cruft from previous files or what not?

Are there any specific things you want people to play around with to see that it all works together properly? I’m trying to help but mostly I’ve been trying to use everything as I normally would and report if I run into anything. If there’s some better way I can help as a non-programmer I’m open to it.

Some tests that are really useful for us are:

  • Does everything in the Software Boutique install?
  • Do upgrades from 16.04 and 17.10 work?
  • If you choose a minimal install, are there any stray applications left behind? Is there anything pre-configured that assumes a full install?

Testing the above in a VM is fine.


Hi Watford,

I did just that and don’t have any problems as there are constant daily updates anyway!. :smiley:

Thanks, I’ll try some of these

Does everything in the Software Boutique install?

User reporting issues:

Software Boutique

  • Etcher - installation does not work
  • Virtualbox - installation does not work


VirtualBox is fixed. Etcher worked fine for me?

Etcher didn't work here either. I've updated minutes ago, rebooted the VM(GNOME Boxes) and tried to install Etcher, error:

Hello! I picked up a new-to-me Dell Inspiron 64 bit laptop - welcome to the not-as-distant future! I passed on my i386 macbook to a coworker and we reinstalled 18.04 beta 01 - troubles with the grub for i386, and the same troubles with boutique installs of Opera and Spotify. I’m not entirely sure how I worked around it last time, but I imagine you would like to know it’s still not installing out of the box.

VirtualBox and Etcher - installation from Software Boutique works now, after latest updates

I can definitely test some upgrades from 16.04 LTS and I think I still have the ISO for 17.10 somewhere. Is there a logging method to capture any data or are we to use the tried and true ‘worked for me’ method?

Just upgraded from 16.04 to 18.04 beta 2. Went well, except on reboot “System problem detected” - turns our /lib/systemd/system-generators/lvm2-activation-generator gets a SIGSERV crash. Encrypted container with lvm2 containing root and swap partitions still all get mounted and work. It has been affecting 5 people so far on launchpad/bugs but the report got rejected because of the coredump being corrupted. I’m going to try to report it afresh, and hope that my coredump isn’t rejected…
– This probably works fine on a new install, and is probably fixable (but I don’t know how…)

Another problem (bigger for me) is that the keyboard layout can only be shown in flags. This can be hard for colourblind people, I want just the iso 2-letter abbreviation to be shown as in the years before gnome3. This seems no longer to be an option. It is an option on XFCE (xfce4-panel), and on LXDE/LXQt (lxpanel/lxqt-panel), but apparently no longer on mate-panel (unless it’s an upgrade bug, and it works on a fresh install).

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Hi, you actually can display keyboard layout in letters. This behavior is configurable. The most user-friendly way to do this is via dconf-editor:

  1. install dconf-editor;
  2. the key you are looking for is /org/mate/peripherals/keyboard/indicator/show-flags.



I don’t have a /org/mate/peripherals entry… But through a search I found it’s /org/mate/desktop/peripherals/keyboard/indicator/show-flags!

Oh, that is a huge relief! It would be great of course if this was to be configurable in the applet itself, or even in mate-tweak. @Wimpy, would it be possible to add this toggle to mate-tweak??


Sorry, my typo there, I missed a “desktop” section.
Glad that helped you. I personally prefer letters over flags too. I think letters fit the style of panel and other indicators better.

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Maybe that’s even a better default setting! Think how many people have a US key layout on their keyboards, but would really not like to see a US flag on their desktop a lot of the time…

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Thank you ! Flag is ok, “letters” are better (for me) :smile:

I’ll change the keyboard layout indicator to the text labels.