Some simple features suggestions

These are some features that xfce/xubuntu has and Ubuntu-MATE doesn't. It would be great if they were implemented since xubuntu is considered to be lightweight-focused and Ubuntu-MATE should be more feature-complete.

1) Be able to resize windows after snap them to the sides using marco window manager.
I know that this is something that can be done using compiz but I always have weird bugs using compiz. Even if I find workarounds for the bugs, compiz is really heavy for my old laptop. So, since xfwm4 is able to do that, it would be nice if marco could also do it and it would really improve my workflow. I know it must be hard to do since mutter cannot do that either but it would be nice. I don't know if xfwm4 can be installed and work with MATE but everyone say that it is really buggy and it was one of the reasons I switched from xubuntu to Ubuntu-MATE.

2) There's no way to edit a desktop entry without custom script or terminal
When you right click on a .desktop file there is no option "Open with other Application" or any way to open it with pluma (or some other text editor). The only solution is to add a custom caja script to open files with pluma. It would be nice to add an option such that or at least add an option to "Run" or "Display" when you double click it, similar to an executable script file.

3a) Be able to see added items on mate-panel
Add a section at panel properties (or when you click "Add to panel") that list added items and makes it easier to remove or move them like xfce has. Once I spent 1 hour trying to find out why windows list didn't expand to the whole panel and it turned out to be because of a forgotten separator to the panel that I couldn't easily see because of the theme. Also a chrome panel launcher was giving xsession-errors after I uninstalled chrome and there was no way to remove it as panel wasn't showing it anymore.
Xfce4 image:

LXDE also has this feature. LXDE image:

3b) When panel is full there is no way to access properties
This is minor but if, for example, you have many applets and many windows open in a way that the whole panel is filled, then wherever you try to right click you see the specific item's properties and there is no way to access panel options such as panel "Properties" or add "New panel" without closing some windows. So maybe add an area (let's at the edge of the panel) that when you right click it gives you panel options (even if there's an item there) or just add a combination (let's say alt + right click) that gives always panel options instead of the item's ones.

4) Separate mate-utils applications
In my opinion, it would be practical if mate-utils were separated applications and mate-utils was just a metapackage so that for example I can keep mate-disk-usage-analyzer but remove mate-dictionary (I think that gnome had gnome-utils some time ago and they separated the projects too).

5) Be able to show Harddisk read/write at mate-system-monitor
The system monitor indicator for the panel is able to show the Harddisk read/write. Can we add the same feature at the mate-system-monitor app under the Resoucres section?

PS: I can't wait to use Ubuntu-MATE 16.10 with gtk3+ build and I hate to switch back to xubuntu for those minor features (the 1st one is the one that really matters). If these things are implemented then I believe that MATE will be the best, most stable and most user-friendly desktop environment out there


I added a 5th suggestion for the mate-system-monitor. Any more suggestions are welcomed and so are your comments. Do you believe that these can actually be easily implemented?

  1. You can resize a window in xfwm4 but the window is not snapped after that ,same with compiz. Snapping basicly cuts the screen into equal pieces (squares or rectangles) . It would be nice for marco to have a grid not just side by side tiling .
  2. When you righ click a desktop file and then preferences in the general tab you can edit the properties of the desktop file . It is already implemented
    3a) This would be nice . But it would be very hard to integrate into mate
    3b) This would make the panel look ugly . You can aways move a applet to make room for settings . If the applet is expandable then if you move it to the right it will shrink and you can edit the properties .

@IvCHo Thx for commenting.

  1. Yeah that's the point, sometimes you don't want 2 windows to take half of the screen each, but you want, instead, the 1st to take the 2/3 and the other the 1/3. With xfwm or compiz you can do this with 2 clicks (first snap then resize). Macro's snapping is useless the way it is, since you can't resize the windows without dragging them to unsnap them first, resulting to be faster to drug and resize the windows at the first place without snapping them at all (huge productivity penalty). If there is option to snap at the corners too, yeah that would be great.

  2. The properties of a .destkop file only allows you to change parameters like Name, GenericName, Comment and Exec. What if you want to modify or add parameters like Icon, Encoding, Type, Categories, Name for multiple languages etc. I think editing a .desktop file as you wish with an editor is one of the most common actions and and there should be an option for this.

3a) Since it's hard, is there any other place to suggest this feature to mate developers like github or I don't know what else?

3b) I don't think that minor change would make anything ugly. It's been some time since I last used xfce but if I recall correctly, at both lxde and xfce when you right click on a panel item you get both the options of the specific item and a Panel section that expands to the panel options. This is way more practical and seems like better implementation. I found an example image where right click on a separator gives you both the options for the separator and a Panel option:

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2 ) Icon can be changed by clicking on the icon . For the other things you can open pluma and open the file from pluma .

3a)Well it might not be that hard .
3b) Yes the xfce way of Gtk.ActionGroup of applet is better . (I use both Xfce and Mate) .
But both 3a) and 3b) need to be requested but since the devs are busy porting to gtk3 they will be hold back until gtk3 port is finished .

2) I can’t understand how isn’t this annoying you :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve used a lot of desktop environments (xfce, lxde, cinnamon, unity) and only MATE has this strange behavior. When I first saw it I thought “lol somebody forgot to put an Open With option”. Creating a custom caja script to open a selected file with pluma is much faster than opening pluma and searching for the file you want, or even using the terminal :stuck_out_tongue: So, I insist that there must be an option “Open With” when you right click a .desktop file.

3a),3b) Indeed the developers must be really busy since they are doing really great job, but it would be nice to see these improvements for MATE 1.16 and Ubuntu-MATE 17.04. When you say the they “need to be requested” do I have to do anything? Or shall I wait for a mate developer to see this topic? I have no idea how features requests work.


Well the Ubuntu Mate founder is also a mate developer so @Wimpy may review this . But you can request the feature in github . Panel things in mate-panel repository . Desktop grid instead of side by side tiling in marco repository . The .desktop file edit to caja repository .

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I posted a similar, more general topic regarding feature requests.

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I don't get the part there is no way to edit a desktop entry without custom script or terminal
Right click -> properties gives you a lot of options to customize it

@logica The options that properties give you are not enough if you want to do more advanced configuration (or even just check what’s inside) and you should be able to do that with one click, that’s the purpose of a file manager. If you edit the .desktop file and you add the line [Dekstop Entry] as you must on a desktop entry, then the option Open With Other Appliation doesn’t appear anymore.

1) I totally agree with you. I also would like to resize two windows snapped side by side at the same time.

I find improvements 2, 3 and 4 not vital at all. that might be a problem for a very few people only.

5) I also agree with the fifth one. For the moment I use system monitor panel applet which has an option for displaying read/write activity of the hard drive.

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About the 1st. Yeah, that would be nice indeed, I think windows 10 have this feature that you can resize 2 snapped windows at the same time unless you press some other key (if I remember correctly the shift key) and in that case you resize only the one window.

Yeah the 2,3,4 are minor changes but that’s why I believe that they will be easy to implement. I don’t know to code yet, but I think that especially the 2nd one will need only a couple of code lines, since Open With Other Application is implemented already for all other files. :slight_smile: