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!