I also departed to Manjaro last month, but the KDE edition.
Granted, I spent considerable time customising KDE so it feels familiar to my traditional GNOME 2 inspired workflow. In the process, I switched to Qt apps and tweaked the toolbars so it's comfortably familiar, yet different. This wasn't a migration that happened over night.
I was actually surprised the repositories (and AUR) had everything I needed. Even Wi-Fi drivers that I had to manually compile after kernel updates in Ubuntu. Only one gotcha... I ran into an optional dependency (AUR) issue for
spotify (AUR), but I found a solution. The AUR will always carry that risk.
I did try Arch from scratch last year... while I got a working MATE desktop, it was the NVIDIA driver and kernel updates that "broke" the graphical part of the system too much. I like that Manjaro (being based on Arch) has a layer of testing, and so far, it's been stable for me, a power user kind of user.
My 3 reasons for switching...
Something different to GTK-based desktops.
- I loved GTK2 (16.04) so much that
differences lost features in GTK3 feel foreign.
- Not sure on GNOME's development of GTK, which MATE is based on.
Continued loss of faith in Canonical over the years.
- For example, Canonical wanted to drop i386 libs. They reverted their decision for now It was the intent/communication in the first place that upsets me.
- Not a supporter of snap technology.
16.04 LTS was getting old.
- I was clinging onto 16.04 LTS, and apps were becoming outdated due to older dependencies.
- I couldn't use my 4K display, as this version is based on GTK2.
I will still be around, as I continue to develop Ubuntu MATE things. I'd say I stepped farther away from Ubuntu, since I would happily pick up a GParted Live CD, which is based on Debian.
MATE is still a fine desktop environment. Ubuntu MATE is just one implementation of it.