Why I'm using Ubuntu MATE

Since some of my previous posts, like, for instance, this one, were basically complaints, I thought I could also write a post about why I like Ubuntu MATE. Or at least, why I'm using it. Even if it's a wall of text. So here it goes:

I'm using Linux as my main desktop OS because, for me personally, it has more upsides and fewer downsides than the alternatives. I can't afford a Mac, and I'm not enough of a power user to use one of the more power-user-oriented Unix flavors, so, for me, desktop OSes are basically a choice between Windows and Linux. And I've used both of those under dual boot for more than 17 years. But during that time, I've used Linux as my main OS, and used Windows only for things that, IMO, are simply too complicated or downright impossible under Linux. I don't have a principled commitment to FOSS - I don't mind using proprietary software if it does what I want it to do. But ever since I started using Linux, I've felt pretty uncomfortable doing anything under Windows that requires me to log into anything online. And under Windows, I generally try to restrict my web surfing to a few high-profile websites that have a reputation to lose.

I also like that major Linux distributions usually come with all kinds of useful software pre-installed. I don't like having to install additional software, and often having to choose between paying extra money, accepting ads, or risking run-ins with malware, for doing something that a large share of all people using computers are likely to be interested in doing. I like how configurable major Linux distributions usually are - in life and when it comes to products of all kinds, the more options I have, the more content I usually am. And I have the impression that a lot of popular newer Windows features were features of major Linux distributions before they were introduced to Windows.

Now, about 15 years ago, I was very passionate and even kind of "evangelizing" about using Linux. These days, on the other hand, while I still like Linux for myself, I also think that it isn't for everyone, and that many people have good reasons to use something else. But I still think it works best for me.

That much for why I use Linux. Among Linux distributions, I like Ubuntu because IMO, out of the distributions I have tried, it has the best balance between large software repositories with a large selection of software, easy support for the hardware I'm using, and general usability for users who, like me, are "intermediate" users rather than bleeding-edge power users.

And among Ubuntu flavors, I use Ubuntu MATE because it doesn't have the downsides of the other flavors. "Regular" Ubuntu has too much corporate adware for my taste; Kubuntu uses too many resources (I don't mind using individual KDE apps, but I draw the line at installing a full KDE-based distribution); and while I like the lightweight approach of Lubuntu and Xubuntu, they are, in my experience, a bit buggy with some of my hardware, and have a bit fewer options I like. From my perspective, Ubuntu MATE is basically "Ubuntu minus the annoying parts"; or "what regular Ubuntu would be like if the people at Canonical would have priorities that are more like my own priorities".

It might be a bit embarrassing to say this, but I also like how easy it is to make Ubuntu MATE look a lot like old-school Windows (that is, before Microsoft got that "brilliant" idea about all those tiles).

So, that's why I'm using this distribution. Many thanks to all the people involve in developing Ubuntu, MATE, and Ubuntu MATE!


I think there are a great many U/M users who find comfort in the 'classic desktop' paradigm:

All those later (non-)improvements have been great at claiming increased simplicity whilst actually creating added complications.

IMO the best/worst example of this is the 'new', fully lobotomized explorer - even under XP it was still great - and then later it just became...cow pucky.

And the 'newer' networking nonsense ?!?
Why even bother.

Linux generally & also U/M ain't perfect - nothing in this world ever is, but some things are LOTS closer than others if you catch my drift.


A great piece Raphael and nicely put - neutral enough too that if someone new to Linux found it they'd be able to enjoy an unbiased, down-to-earth view on Linux.
I, like you, use Ubuntu Mate as my main Desktop OS and only use Windows for work (and my wife's laptop :slight_smile: ) but unfortunately I'm having a few issues with the latest version (22.10) so I'm considering switching to Linux Mint - just wondered if you had any thoughts on Mint?


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I've been using Mate for some years now (both work and personal use), and like you, I was always using the last version. But now I decided to only use the LTS version. I think I'll avoid bugs from new features, and not worry about upgrade procedures for some time.

Perhaps you can try that approach?


Yeah, I only use LTS versions and yet that's the one I'm struggling with. To be fair, there's only 1 thing that I'm struggling with and that's the dock. I've been using cairo-dock for years but it doesn't work on Ubuntu Mate 22.10 - I raised it on the forum (Cairo-dock Issues in 22.04) but didn't get it resolved. And cairo-dock themselves seem to have stopped development on the product. Do you use a dock and if so, which one?


Thank you! I used Mint for a while, but eventually decided that I didn't want to use a distro that makes such heavy use of the regular Ubuntu repositories without being an Ubuntu flavor.


Plank and I choose it in Mate Tweak, simply check the box to enable the dock

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In my country (Iran), we are not worried about using proprietary software and/or OSes.
Since, Firstly we already having below standard privacy - government is already spying on anyone and also people here having more human right concerns than being worried about software idealism and digital idealism!
and secondly! No one pays for software stuff! We simply hack and crack software or OS that needs charge and make it free for ourselves. Because they are too expensive in our national currency and also it's not such easy to buy their license due to the sanctions and other restrictions.

So... I'm not using linux for any of those possible reasons!
I started using linux five years ago and for my first try... I was defeated. But now linux environment has been improved a lot. It's much different than before. And now it's my second try.
I'm using linux now; simply because I think it's a better software. It's a better made.
And by using wine and bottles you easily can run MS softwares on your linux, maybe not 100 percent of them.
For photoshop and others I'm forced to still use windows 10 that I have on dual boot


I've also been using cairo-dock for years running on Ubuntu Mate. It's working OK on Ubuntu 22.10 running on a Lenovo P320 ThinkStation with 64GB RAM. I've also installed it OK on the upcoming Ubuntu Mate 23.04
Perhaps its a hardware issue in your case.

Many thanks for the reply @MaxwellHunt - I'm also using a Lenovo but a T440p ThinkPad.
Do you think it would be hardware if cairo-dock works on UM 18.04 but doesn't work on UM 22.10 (on the same laptop)?

Hmm. Was it a fresh install of 22.10 or did you progressively upgrade from 18,04?

Both actually: I had an 18.04 VM (where cairo-dock was working fine) and upgraded to 20.04 (cairo-dock still working) then to 22.04 where cairo-dock stopped working.
I then did a fresh install (also on a VM) to 22.04 but cairo-dock fails there too.
I've also tried upgrading them to 22.10 but no joy.

So, it's a problem of Ubuntu Mate VM running on Windows?
I do it the other way round. I run Ubuntu Mate directly installed as the host with windows 10 and 11 VMs.
I also have UM 22.10 running OK with cairo-dock on a VM with Ubuntu Mate 22.10 as the host.
Have you tried installing Ubuntu Mate 22.10 as the host OS?

Sorry, I should have said I also have UM 23.04 running OK with cairo-dock on a VM with Ubuntu Mate 22.10 as the host.

What I don't like about Ubuntu MATE:

  • Ummm, I can't seem to think of anything right now. I'll have to get back to you on this

What I like about Ubuntu MATE:

  • It actually works
  • It's never crashed on me, or I can't remember whether it did, or it's easy to discover what makes a program crash so you can keep it from crashing again and then have a hard time remembering whether it did
  • It looks great (well, you know, if you're creative with the color scheme)
  • It's downright stable and snappy
  • I love the default and unusually smooth way it handles memory and swap memory
  • I love the ability to change desktop pictures without having to click an apply button
  • All software, including KDE software, runs well (though you'll need to use a light theme to see adequately some KDE programs and, for some other KDE programs, refresh customized appearance after program launch to read popup tooltips; but, KDE otherwise runs well)
  • It focuses on what's important and abandons what's unimportant
  • It's easy to customize (so you can EASILY be creative with the color scheme)
  • It's got a good number of options
  • Its idiosyncrasies--which every single desktop, system, and program will have--are easily dealt with
  • It gives me everything that I could possibly want (EXCEPT that it can't seem to open webp image files on the desktop--BUT I can paste a screenshot of a webp image into LibreOffice Impress and export to jpg, so . . . )


Ubuntu MATE is my third Linux experience (of the distributions that I fully installed for several years) and now my FIRST-PLACE WINNER. The fact remains that someone new to Linux might be frustrated with taming the wild MATE beast: It's better to first get some Linux experience elsewhere, so that you can get a feel for how and where to look to fulfill demands. But MATE favorably has the ability to meet all demands, in one reasonable way or another. Once you've figured out how to open the MATE door--you'll always be inside MATE.

To give you an idea of how things can be with MATE, I'll describe this: I like Muon Package Manager (for the installation of software). So, I first used MATE Software Boutique to install Synaptic Package Manager, then used Synaptic Package Manager to install Muon Package Manager, then used Muon Package Manager to install all of my favorite software from the Ubuntu repository. This is an example of how MATE might confuse some who are new to Linux and who don't yet know about the different package managers and the other ways of installing software.

Stable, snappy, and good-looking. The GTK version of a cross of sorts between Kubuntu and Lubuntu? WAY better than Xfce.

Note: Typed this up using Kate on Ubuntu MATE (while listening to some Vocal Trance on YouTube, courtesy of Firefox).

See the screenshot of my MATE desktop.


I'm using ubuntu MATE, and I chose MATE specifically because:

  1. GNOME 2 was my favourite desktop back when I started daily driving Linux (2004, ubuntu warty)
  2. Because it's lightweight for today's standards, and it runs smoothly and snappy on my old 2011 27" iMac
  3. Because is a Desktop environment made for Desktop computers. It's amazing how good it works on a desktop PC when compared with some other "modern" DE, made for touch, swipes and laptops.
  4. Because it still looks amazing with the right theme and compiz. See my screenshot below :slight_smile:
  5. Because it still supports global menus.
  6. Because it's really stable and distraction free
  7. Because it's made by @wimpy. And I trust him more than my mom :slight_smile:


I want to add a couple more screenshots to my post, but am DEVASTATED to discover that there is no edit button. Guess I'll have to post a REPLY, instead.

I'm replying to this post:



OP makes a lot of great points. Really good post.

I too had issues with the dock remaining stable on Ubuntu Mate 22.04. Did some tweaking for a bit and now it seems like I am in good shape. Like other posters pointed out, Plank seems to work well and is installed by default, I believe.


As the first poster said, I'm thinking the same.
Coming from DOS 1.25 to WIN11, I did several attempts to make Linux work for me, but every time I did, it ends with some disappointment.
I demand to much from a OS.
I want to do MIDI and MOD XM Amiga sound things and handle converting several audio and video formats. use a program like TinyCad Use Adobe photoshop and for Browsing to use Opera.
Wanted Whatsapp and that works now in web version.
I have Mate installed now for 3 days and the list of things I cant do is growing.
I will persist this time to make things work for me but if it stays is the question.