Ubuntu MATE 17.10 - Default layout decisions

Thank you to everyone who commented and voted. While the votes are useful the comments (from all the online Ubuntu MATE communities) are what have been most useful.

Anyway, this is what has been decided:

  • The default Ubuntu MATE layout will continue to be the traditional two panel layout featuring the Applications Places System menu. The only change will be the addition of quick launcher icon for Ubuntu MATE Welcome to the top panel.

Layout changes

Some of the other layouts are getting a bit of a refresh.

Pantheon and Cupertino

  • Pantheon and Cupertino will be more distinct
  • Both will continue to use Plank which will now include additional default dock items for Ubuntu MATE Welcome and Caja.
  • The Firefox quick launcher in the top panel will be removed from both layouts since Firefox is present in Plank.
  • Cupertino will use the single column menu by default and Pantheon will continue to use Brisk.
  • Cupertino will use a new Global Menu implementation but Pantheon will not.
  • Essentially Cupertino will now more closely resemble macOS.


  • Mutiny will use a new Global Menu implementation.
  • The left side panel will be transparent to more closely mimic Unity.
  • A launcher will be added for Ubuntu MATE Welcome to the left side panel.


  • Unchanged with the exception of a quick launch icon for Ubuntu MATE Welcome being added to the bottom panel.

Netbook, GNOME2, Fedora

  • No changes planned.

Discovering layouts

Rather than changing the default layout we’re going to see what we can do to help users easily discover the layout switching capability. Not sure how we will do that just yet, but improving discoverability will be the long term solution to making Ubuntu MATE appealing to wider audience “out of the box”.

MATE Tweak

In order to make Cupertino appear more like macOS and Mutiny appear more Unity like a new behaviour will be added to MATE Tweak.

  • When switching to Cupertino or Mutiny via MATE Tweak the window controls will be moved to the left, since that is where the window controls are located in macOS and Unity.
  • Switching to any layout other than Cupertino or Mutiny will move the window controls to the right.
  • You will still be able to select your preferred window control location and override the layout defaults.

Global Menus

We introduced Global Menus in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 as part of the Mutiny layout using TopMenu. That implementation was not complete and actually doesn’t work in GTK3+ and now pretty much dead upstream. So in 17.10 we will introduce a new Global Menu implementation which is feature complete.


I remember (older versions? of) Zorin having a screen which shows the different layouts it offers, with a selection between them. Maybe looking again at that might offer some inspiration about how to raise new users’ awareness about the versatility of Ubuntu MATE!


Exacly, the same as Software Boutique help us in installing apps, the same way Ubuntu Mate should help the user to choose a design template…


The idea of improving discovery is awesome. People discover everything, even when some teacher has to rub their nose in it to help them discover what they’re discovering.

I’ve always had trouble discovering what the control-keys are at the moment. Apparently people think tooltips are just for icons, go figure, but i’ve never hit Ctl and seen a popup listing the next-key possibilities like command completion. User-interface experience-level settings are feasible in order to give newbies the help they need without getting in the way of those who aready know this or that.

There is so much that can be done, but i think it’s important to create some universal starting-point, so that if people can remember how to get to that “home” state, they can easily find all the rest of it again.

In these forums the “home” place is always available by clicking the mate-symbol top-left. In Ubuntu-MATE maybe it’s the Welcome app, and if there’s a universal something-or-other… icon, control-key, whatever… even newbies can see how to quickly reach the place where they can find out how to do what they want to do.

In boxed-set days linux had lots of problems, and most of those have gone away. But it’s still missing something in terms of being a unified whole instead of a warehouse of parts. Today’s “control panel” app is vastly improved over what was available even a few years back. The welcome app is great, but i think its functionality might be better expressed as a little more than just welcoming; welcoming is fine, returning home maybe better.


Thanks for listening to the community on this, - it’s what sets Ubuntu Mate apart from other desktop environments, which from experience, have on some occasions been far more disdainful of their users input and concerns.

Really excited to see what you’re going to do with the other layouts. Personally I’ll be sticking with the standard layout, but having the other styles discoverable in the Welcome screen or as part of the install, or both, would be a brilliant solution. Looking forward to seeing what you and the team come up with. Thanks again for all your work on making Mate a functional platform to “just get work done”.


What about that “Redmond 7+” layout I suggested in the poll thread?
The current Redmond theme probably is a bit too “old school” for people who like the Windows 7-style taskbar and menu.
Some of the other layouts have bits and pieces of it, but nothing that fits quite exactly.
It would be great to have that as a choice out of the box.

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Thank you so much UM developers for asking and “listening” the community. That is the way i’ll like to see GNU/Linux system growing up.
The futures versions should be amazing, i am pretty sure about this :grinning:
Thank you !


Seems like a job for the Welcome Screen.

I also would like to take a moment to thank Martin for handling this issue with exceptional care. Rather than just look at “black and white” poll results, he took the time to read opinions and consult with the user base. I know he voted for the Pantheon layout but he didn’t allow that to sway the final decision, despite the fact that he is the final authority on such. This even handed and thoughtful approach is certainly a significant contributor to the success of UM. I know we’ve all seen distros run my narcissistic, megalomaniacs who take it upon themselves to implement drastic changes seemingly in spite of the community. So glad that’s not the case here, so cheers Martin. We appreciate it :beers:


Your consideration for the default layout has been exceptional. Thank you!


maybe you can add one more layout with this buttons applet included?

Great UI descisions. Default to ubuntuMATE panel (without Applications) with Brisk Menu is my suggestion. Best of worlds! And MIR as a Wayland compositor :slight_smile:

And then Super_L (WinKey) button on Brisk Menu and able to hover over it, yeah :wink:

Just saw this video of Mutiny on alpha 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aANzMllcH6E

It’s fantastic what’s on offer here to Unity users. What are the chances that maximised windows can integrate to the global menu in the future?

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Like that your keeping the familiar as default while adding flexibility for those who want/need it.


The latest incarnation of Munity is quite outstanding. And I say this as no lover of Unity myself. But, it really is important to have as big a tent as possible when it comes to user preferences.

So, it’s all excellent in my view.


Voted earlier on the ubuntuMATE panel (with additon of Brisk Menu). However, changed my mind and now hope for that the Pantheon panel layout will be the default because it’s really functional and stylish. Just missing being able to hover over the Brisk menu, but hopefully it’s coming soon :slight_smile: