Ubuntu Mate needs to be more beautiful and attractive



Totally agree. Sometimes, I think that there are only male Linux users.
You know why Windows 8 (also) failed, it was the default lilac on the Start screen that put half of the users off. :wink:


Yup. By doing too much what ‘designers’ told them would be better…
They ended with an ugly thing that has to be thrown out by the Windows… and worse, making you believe that it can think for you and provide a better experience… wrong direction, wrong thinking, wrong results.

The ‘Engine’ is what counts.

The BEST approach is a system that works and can be customized to your use, whether as conservative, as old fashioned as an XP look alike or as creepy, black or bloody a night stalker may want.



p.s. Last part since Halloween coming soon… an Orange Ubuntu pumpkin missing…


Windows 8 was a total failure because of:

  • display-wide start screen and missing Start button
  • stupid mobile phone UI on a desktop PC (stupid “responsive” design for real applications, good for simple Web sites even if totally stupid scrolling on a big monitor)
  • missing easy UI configuration and missing “well-known” configuration options
  • Windows RT (not being able to run Win32 applications - why do they had to compromise the “Windows” brand with a stupid mobile UI)
  • etc.

From a technical perspective and the “background” of the OS, it was a massive step forward compared to Windows 7. But… all in all, it was a failure.

Marketing, as usual, only b…sh.t!


I remember the discussion in forums back then and one point was to the lilac “female” color. That’s why Windows 10 got this black UI to make men happy :wink:


@lah7 I smell a topic split…

Anyway, I liked the purple colour myself. Lots of people don’t seem to understand it’s a colour of royalty, and if someone was immediately turned off by the colour then… well they should had been turned off by the UI, first, but then to be turned off by the colour? That’s massive stupid. I like the black colour as default only because it’s androgynous and unassuming. I refuse to believe it was a sex thing, and the present UI customization in Windows 10 is pretty nice if someone wants to change it.

It still frustrates me that basic applications like Calculator require Windows Explorer as shell, you literally cannot change system settings, connect Bluetooth devices using the Microsoft Bluetooth stack or even connect to a wireless access point without Explorer as shell. That’s some damn poor design, making it so if some malware screwed up Explorer, you’re completely helpless and so is an old-school novice tech working from knowledge obtained in Windows 7.


Let’s go back on track please. Let’s look from a nother point. We need developers like we need air, and let’s take a look at elementary os, great os when comes to beauty but not so great track when comes to stability, an not at all customizable. Why devs and users like it? Because in the linux world a small % of users will move the bars, change the icons, colors etc. When it comes to the user’s that comes from windows or mac osx trying for the first time linux will be to much for them all the possibilitys of customization to make a os to look nice. So having something by default or to change from inside the os and not using 3 party’s ppa’s or worse to manual add change or add folders will be a plus. That’s why you see soo many apps develop for elementary instead of something like ubuntu mate or xubuntu.
Yea maybe you like tha Mate interface or xfce but at the end of the day the project will stall if there ar not enough developers working on it , and i will say again we need fresh blood if we want our project to move in the feature . Or we can be as xfce and say "stable as a rock but no development " .
At the end of the day we need to find a solution for everyone. So let’s find it and not talk about what Microsoft did wrong .
Love you all.


that is one thing I have often wished for MATE apps, that fit the look and feel of MATE and replacing any and all gnome apps as well as any other that do not fit MATE


I totally agree with that statement.


But when poor design affect stability? (In sense of code contribution-lack of developers using Ubuntu Mate and contribute to the project)


It looks like this topic is evolving and …
If you are here is clear that you like Mate desktop

Let’s clarify things

  1. MATE is the best Linux desktop, at least from the one I have tasted.
  • best theme (I like the green and dark grey combination, theme is enough flat to not be so iced)
  • just the right amount of settings (that extra Mate Settings maybe in the future should be dismantled in the right settings categories), no bloated settings like KDE or insufficient like XFCE.
  • everything on screen has right proportion, no wasted pixels, bulky elements, like KDE, XFCE
  • no fancy rounding, and other bu.ls.hit designers staffs, like Gnome
  • everything scales nicely with font adjustments, KDE can’t do that, and maybe also XFCE, I don’t remember exactly
  • you have the right functionality on default “apps” Caja, …
  • right usability from first install (you don’t have to add CTRL+T to open terminal like in KDE, or found that to execute a file from default file manager you have to open right click, and don’t use the last option as it not work, but go down in the menu tree to find the second one that works, like in KDE, just two example for very common usages where KDE mess things up)
  • customization of toolbars is not currently stable (Mate 18.04)
  • some small issues appear when GTK code was upgraded

So for me XFCE default theme is a little uglier than Mate Desktop, Customization not enough, some bulky screen elements witch look really ugly, so is a desktop that need more work.

For me KDE have nice modern design, but too flat for me, almost anything works impeccably, but to find the setting, even the same setting at later time it gives me a headache , desktop does not scale accordingly, you can modify fonts and wideness of toolbars, but others does not scale almost at all. Almost all desktop is bulkier, so a lot of wasted pixels and ergonomic screen issue.

Gnome, I don’t like at all, I consider it a desktop for dumb people, or maybe for dumb devices like tablets

Other desktops not really attract me for testing, as Mate desktop is just the best for me, I don’t need something more, everything is almost perfect here. And from design point of view if I have to say something I don’t like the Buttons on Shutdown screen, those buttons looks like they are not from this desktop, they are not part of current Mate theme, if someone can change this, to be consistent with Mate theme, I will be happier :slight_smile:


I think I was misunderstand-ed … maybe because taken out of context (as it was a reply)

“… but I found in this life that beauty is an important quality for things and persons.”

… so I continue with examples on both sides, for explanation of my reply to @tiox , and that functionality is not the only quality for things … and also persons, and to be easily understandable I use opposite sex…

And of course when you look on a software you look on certain qualities, when you look on a person you look on certain qualities, and each qualities are individual assigned for each type of software, for each human, men or woman, colleague, friend, business partner,…


4 posts were split to a new topic: About the edit in “Ubuntu Mate needs to be more beautiful and attractive”


Maybe this is a good opportunity to collect numerical data for fun – what would you prefer Ubuntu MATE to focus on?

  • The aesthetics, by default :heart_eyes:
  • Being functional, by default :hammer:

0 voters

(Just for fun, this poll won’t influence development)

Like anything open source, improving its looks and feel will take time. For now, I think we’re got the tools in place to make our desktops look different (or similar) to the next computer, like different panels and different compositors.

What I personally think we need to do is define the “design guidelines” (the logo guidelines are a start). Consistency is a key to good design as this will eventually trickle across the website, “marketing” (e.g. blog posts), the default OS experience and Ubuntu MATE’s bespoke applications.

As trivial as buttons may sound, I’m still clinging onto 16.04 LTS since I prefer the way GTK2 renders windows. I use the Ambiance-Colors and Ambiance-Colors-Flat theme – I mentioned to @vkareh that I am interested in Ambiant-MATE being able to generate the theme into any colour you please. Time is limited, so that idea is on a backburner for now.


I think functionality is more important than aesthetics. But… aesthetics is also a super important element and therefore should not be neglected.

A beautiful operating system but without good functionality is useless. But an operating system with a lot of functionality but without beauty is also not pleasant to use. A good design language is also important for usability.

We can see how for example Android became much more enjoyable to use when the Material Design was released.

To conclude, I would only vote on “Being functional, by default” if the two things together were not possible and I had to opt for one. I consider both the functionality and the aesthetics important in an operating system.


Interesting poll but there’s lots of gray area between them.

Example: Is having the in-focus window title bar the only one colored aesthetic or functional? I place it more functional but I know some will place it aesthetic. We all have different detailed requirements (ok, pet-peeves :slight_smile:).

Bad aesthetics can tread on functional intuitiveness, too. We really need both.


I agree with you @Bill_MI .


I’m going to be really weird here and vote for aesthetics. My reasoning is that mate is already very functional, even with whatever glitches it has, and there are other distros that do base mate without embellishments and I feel that the experience lacks something that makes Ubuntu MATE feel superior and more polished.

Mate having good, cohesive aesthetics means a wider adoption, good adoption means more bug reports, drive-by contributions, and suggestions for improvement. Functionality undoubtedly follows.

That said, I will continue doing bug fixes, backports and the odd functional improvement here and there, as time permits, as I’m no good when it comes to themes. :slight_smile:


I have to confess, I’m a bit lost here because with the exception of a few minor tweaks I already consider the Mate Desktop to be extraordinarily beautiful and attractive. I’ve gotten used to the default green and black theme despite not truly favoring it because previous attempts to change things always seem to result in some sort of breakage on some level or another. I tend to favor my ‘Traditional’ two panel layout and I have an ingrained preference for installing the Tahoma font for use in everything but the terminal. I like my panel wallpapers and if someone would port the black fruit beryl theme to a titlebar theme I’d be ecstatic but other than that? I’m happy with the way things look.

I even like one of the default wallpapers and use it for my daily driver because it’s beautiful.

Everything else is quibbling over performance, application choices and stuff that is highly subjective, like Compiz default behaviors and the themes colors.

What really bothers me though is all the people who somehow seem to hold up the Microsoft Windows single taskbar with a start menu paradigm as if it the epitome of the esthetic arts. Or those who think that everything needs to be flat. If you want more options, I say great idea! If you want to force those options to be the default and strip out the possibility of anything else, there I have a problem with you.

If nothing else, there’s a benefit in being one of the few desktops without a Redmond copy installed by default.

My opinion about flat design, hidden for convenience since it is not entirely on-topic. I absolutely _dislike_ flat design. It ■■■■■■ me off to no end because it seems like a lazy excuse for being lazy. People spend all this time and money on learning how to use the best media creation tools on the planet... only to make basic geometric shapes in basic colours.

Like why bother? It makes going for that Adobe Creative Cloud license a waste if you can’t even embrace the gradient tool. Most logos I can re-create in ten minutes or less by eye. And worse yet, flat design limits options. There is a time and place for it, sure, but for logos and brand images? I really don’t see why more effort should shouldn’t be put into it.

Now, I am not asking for masterpieces. But I am also asking for design to not be so boring. Yet, everything I use feels like a child made its imagery. I remember the days when Windows didn’t look like I was staring at a piece of paper. I remember when it was glass and transparency, and using that system was fun. Maybe this is why I have a fondness for open-source system design, because it’s not locked down and I can have some fun with my system’s appearance.

But before people say I am opposing my previous arguments with keeping it ugly, I’m not. I say I want fun, but I am meaning fun for fun sake. At the end of the day if my attempts at making the system look svelte and swish turn out to be slop, I’ll revert to “Ugly” any time I want to actually get something done. If Terminal looks so pretty I don’t know what I am doing, I’ll swap to a more basic theme in zsh if it means I can get my head straight. If my desktop theme preference somehow interferes with something else, then I’ll go with a more stoic appearance. And at the end of the day, maybe this is why flat design had been adopted globally.

Not that anyone should adapt to a standard, but for cohesion flat design works. I hate it to pieces but I cannot ignore the results. Most developers are not designers of high fashion, they make jigs and use hand tools for crafting what we put our heads under, so they might not have the fashion sense nor the ambition of creating something beautiful after swinging hammers and drilling screws all day.

There is also the issue of stock designs being used; you can recognize the same image being used in a multitude of programs because lazy developers who do not hire a design firm for the most basic of things will just recycle something which already exists, if they can get away with it. A lot of flat design is cost-effective and can be made in a timely fashion. But it also feels so beta and lazy, like I am staring at a bunch of placeholders for something with more colour, more punch and more wow in a graphical desktop.

But just a little bit. This is why I am fine with the MATE desktop and the default Ambiance design. Everything in it is recognizable, but not over-the-top. But if I want the option to screw around and make that happen, I can have it… to a limited extent; Since the failure of ARGB in GTK2, alpha everywhere isn’t an option otherwise we’d see glass GNOME themes which doesn’t require anything drastic to make happen. While I am fine with it, I really wish GNOME team would commit to making that possibility of design more of a reality than it already is for other people who would be alright rocking something like that 24 / 7.

If moderation staff wants to split the above into a “Why I hate flat design” topic, I’ll modify the above so it isn’t hidden. I only did so because I wanted to get that off my chest.


I don’t care if having menu and panel at the bottom reminds someone on Windows, it’s imo the fastest way for me to access my open documents. The fact that Redmond layout allows to show Favourites with 1 click makes it to my ultimate layout.
I had tested all kinds of desktops before I decided for Mate. I don’t look for a replacement of Windows by using Mate, but for a system that allows to have my documents and programs where I had them for the last 16 years. When I used Mac (12 years), I did definitely not the same what I do today, but even my Mac had open documents at the bottom. The same with my Gnome 2 Ubuntu. So, I’m very grateful the UM team provides different choices.