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

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.