Hello! I just wanted to share that as someone new to Linux I've had such a great experience with UbuntuMATE.
I grew up using computers since I was 3 (Did anyone else experience the weirdness of "Rodney's Funscreen" as a young digital human?) so I've always been slightly-a-power-user, but I'm not a developer or even that great at doing my own tech support beyond searching to find out what others have done and knowing how not to make things explode. In the past I've briefly tried out Ubuntu, once 10 years ago, once 4 years ago, but I always found that there were so many hardware compatibility issues that I was too overwhelmed to really give it a serious try, and I also wasn't that excited by the software and features that I as a new user could easily discover and use.
Now with Windows becoming progressively more insulting to use, and with the lucky advent of my laptop suddenly refusing to boot up anyway, the time was right for me to try installing Linux again.
Drawn to UbuntuMATE both by my affinity to tea and its ubuntu-but-more-classic nature, I gave it an install (very easy because of the helpful instructions and the easy partitioning) and proceeded to thoroughly enjoy the renaissance of my 5 year old laptop, which I had been thinking was on its last legs but am now thinking will probably serve me well for several more years! I don't even know how it is possible, but I am now getting 2 more hours of battery life than before.
I couldn't believe that this time, every single thing worked out-of-the-box, when in the past I had serious challenges with things like volume adjustment keys, screen brightness, audio jack static noise, battery drain and fan speeds. I am so grateful for the hard work of the community that has made this possible -- I am such a convert. Normally I would still want to dual-boot Windows to play a game or two, but I'm such a convert that I'm considering not caring and structuring my life so that I never need to run Windows again. I'm also impressed by the supportive community that exists here, when usually I feel alienated by some tech circles because I feel they are often so sarcastic, toxic, and inattentive to more fundamental human needs than "having the ultimate setup". My career is as a community-based education specialist, and my experience makes me very excited about the potential for greater intersections between the open-source community and education that supports learner agency -- the ability to take charge of one's own learning process.
I'm looking forward to learning more and giving back. Thank you!