What should be in the most-basic install of ubuntu-mate?

Wasn’t sure whether to put this here or in “thoughts-and-feedback” so i put it here.

I think that if we have any superpowers at all, we need to do some categorizing.

Is there any way to run a checkbox-poll under Discourse? Some way folks could say, if you were given a preloaded system, and couldn’t ever download any new apps, what would the apps you’d want consist of?

Here’s my answer:

  • basic system needs like gparted, synaptic, baobab, a nautilus/caja that actually works, etc.
  • a really good editor within our outside of a good ide, all the basic developer stuff for c/c++.
  • a browser, an nntp client, messaging facility, bluetooth, audio.

ability to later download:

  • everything.

I know where this is coming from because I was following the other discussion on mini.iso.

The thing is that in my view you already have 50 or 100 applications too many. :wink:
I long for the fixed release distro that one days gives me what rolling release distros have been giving all this time: a minimal initial setup.

That would mean, in the case of Ubuntu-MATE, being Debian based, just the GNU/Linux system and the desktop (because otherwise it wouldn't be Ubuntu MATE, right?). Admittedly with its default essential apps, like Caja, Engrampa or Pluma, but without other MATE default but non essentials that come on their own packages.

If I want a GUI browser, it won't come with the setup, neither will mail clients, bluetooth, audio, messaging, etc etc. All has to be individually installed and setup.

Of course nothing of this has anything to do with the goals of the Ubuntu MATE distro, which aim to provide a working self-contained computer environment that is easy to use, etc. But it would be really nice if one day a "Ubuntu MATE Core" iso was made and maintained, from which knowledgeable users could build their systems.

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To be honest, I would go with it more or less as is. It has pretty much the right balance of enough kit to get you going, but easy access (via the software boutique) to other essential system items as you need them.

However, after installing 16.10 and then 17.04 and being less than impressed with their bugginess, I went back to UM 16.04.2. But, after installing it, found my web-cam no longer working and qbittorrent, my preferred torrent client, wouldn’t run. As a consequence, I toyed with the idea, for a week or two, with going over to Manaro Mate.

I even went so far as to install it on bare metal and run it for a few days. I should say, that few days was a salutatary experience for me. No sound indicator - many popular themes, other than the pre-installed ones, would not run as advertised - all kinds of nonsense getting drives and partitions to auto-mount - several programs I use as standard not available - even in the AUR - much less busy community in terms of getting help…

There were quite a few other little niggles, but you get the picture.

For all the things I could winge about in UM (and I do winge), it is streets ahead of others in terms of being tidied up at the edges.

Finally, I am pleased to say, reinstalling UM 16.04.1 solved my webcam and qbittorrent problems.

So, all good…:slight_smile:

As for an absolute minimal Ubuntu Mate environment, this can already be achieved via the server/mini install and then the installation of items as desired/required - including, of course, the Mate desktop. To be sure, it may take a few more steps to install a minimal Mate desktop than if it came out of the box. But, for people who want such a base and are knowledgeable enough and willing to build the rest themselves from scratch, these few extra steps are hardly onerous.

In order to load additional packages over and above the basic, one would need a mechanism to do so. While a browser isn’t necessary, basic distro should include all of the connection methods. Not just TCP/IP networking basics (Not every system is first spun up with network connectivity), but also SSH and RDP. I have just installed the Mate desktop on top of Ubuntu server and those were the first things I needed to install.

I was also far from impressed with Mate 1.18. Many of the same problems as you running it on bare metal on Antergos. Downgrading MATE would solve some problems, but introduce others. Essentially the whole experience was a dead end.

So Ubuntu MATE still remains the best implementation of the MATE desktop. But while this is a testimony to the great team behind Ubuntu MATE, on my humble opinion it reflects poorly on the MATE project. Fact of the matter is that I ended up moving to Xfce where, after installing and configuring Compton, I had the UI that I wanted for my desktop. Along with the linux base and repositories that I desired.

I'm preparing to swap my installations now with Antergos/Xfce on the main partitions and Ubuntu MATE on the smaller secondary one. I just hope this is not the beginning of the end for my relationship with MATE. But In any case, it's been a fun ride and I will always cherish it.

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If you have to use a GUI on your server why not go with something like openbox? Super light on resources yet easy to use and configure.

For a server, OpenBox is indeed ideal once one gets past the initial configuration process. But then I would argue that for a server a stacking WM is really suboptimal and one should go with tiling WMs. But that’s just me :wink:

I would argue that a Wm at all is not recommended for a server. But mate seems unnecessarily heavy for a server.

All good points and if the application was different I would have done as you suggest. I configured it that way because of the intended purpose of the machine and the intended user pool.
I’m tired of removing viruses and buying new laptops for my wife and children. This server will host a couple web pages and double as a file server, but it’s main purpose is to run a VMWare host with a half dozen Windows 10 VMs for the family to use for basic light computing functions and web browsing. I can give them really basic pawn shop netbooks to use as terminals to access their individual VM on the server. The skill sets are not there for them to use CLI, they need a desktop and it needs to be simple and good looking and familiar enough for them to navigate. Since I can also do work on the host machine itself I chose Ubuntu server and installed the Mate desktop.

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Just some info about that well-kept secret Ubuntu mini.iso that installs via network. It's as bare bones as I think Ubuntu can be. Here's the ncurses installer options for 16.04 broken into 2 screens.

The ONLY thing it starts with is "standard system utilities".
And this ISO is way less than 100MB.

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  1. So, this most-basic install would target server users or desktop users?
  2. What is your main concern? Use of extra hard disk space? Security issues from unused software?

Is ubuntu mate minimal the same as ubuntu-mate-core?

Some distros do basic-install as i remember, i’m pretty sure slackware goes that route, maybe arch, or maybe i’m remembering part of a dream, who knows.

WIth a basic install you need to cover all the basics, but not a bunch of other things like my development-environment stuff. Most folks don’t want that on their phone, or their laptop, or their desktop for that matter. In my case i want everything that i use for development, or reading a book or writing a book, or browsing the web, or email and messaging, i want all that on my phone, because if i’m stuck in some waiting room, i can at least get something done. On my laptop i want everything i use… same as on my phone, without the phone-dialing stuff, but i really don’t care if it’s there as long as i don’t have to remove it or look at it. On my desktop… oh wait, no desktop, gave up on those the last time we lost power while i was in the middle of making a stock trade, oops.

So what i’m thinking is you pop your install disk into the box, and the install program runs and does its minimal install, which could be really fast since it amounts to a partition-format followed by an rsync copy of the system partion, do some boot setup and you’re done, you have a basic ubuntu-mate system that implements a GUI (command-line too, is that too obvious?) and supports enough functionality to look around your system and see what you have, download and install the apps you want, etc. Then it’s a matter of picking the apps you want. That’s where it gets a little sticky. One-by-one takes longer and has to be remembered, groups of packages not so much.

Now comes the hard question… how do you find out what needs to be in the minimal install, and what should be in the package groups? You ask, and people tell you. The items common to all responses are going to be a superset of the actual minimum. Some work has to be done after all.

One of the things i’ve never liked about that approach to packaging is that you have to guess.

I absolutely hate being forced to guess what might be in this or that grouping, i want a hierarchical breakdown of packages so i can see the subpackages and install only those i want, or having made sure that “editing” doesn’t mean gimp+photoshop+libreOffice-whatever, install the whole thing. Maybe this is just paranoia, or the result of past annoyance at some of the weird names people give stuff and how the names are often only tangentially connected to what the thing really is.

It’s like going into a tool store and buying the “master craftsman” toolkit then finding out that it really meant “four screwdrivers and a hammer”. imo, maybe everybody else is okay with wasting time, but they tell me i have a fixed lifespan, and i’m really cheap, just in case that’s all they is.

4 posts were split to a new topic: [Off-topic] Long topic in Discourse

This is excellent @Bill_MI!
And the fact they include the Ubuntu MATE desktop as the only (I believe) Ubuntu flavor in the entire list is a nice touch from the Ubuntu team.

From this iso, one can create their own ubuntu-based distro, or just personalize their installation to their specific needs, be it for server or desktop purposes. It’s all a tweaker who wishes to use the Ubuntu base can wish.

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[quote=“cccplex, post:12, topic:13523, full:true”]Is ubuntu mate minimal the same as ubuntu-mate-core?[/quote]As far as I can tell they are exactly the same. Full MATE adds ubuntu-mate-desktop. I have NO idea what cloudtop is but it seems a slightly different flavor of ubuntu-mate-desktop.

There’s other installation modes including commandline and expert-install. Perhaps the resolution increases, I haven’t really studied it.

I LOVE how you’re up to date immediately installing over the network. You can’t say that with the usual snapshot images.

What happen if I don't install "standard system utilities" and just install ubuntu mate minimal?

pls help :smiley:

Hi @avestruz123, As I write this, I'm installing exactly that in a VM using mini32.iso for 16.04.

Unfortunately, VirtualBox 5.2 hasn't been good to me so it won't be installed soon (disk I/O is so slow you wouldn't believe it). When I get back from my day job it should be done. What do you want to know?

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Well, it installed fine. Then I went to a terminal and there is NO COMMAND COMPLETION of any kind. I can see why standard system utilities is pre-selected.

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