Why use Ubuntu-Mate 16.04 instead of Linux Mint 18?

Hi all, the next July I presents a dilemma, using Ubuntu-Mate 16.04 or continue using Linux Mint.
Since I started with GNU / Linux I used Ubuntu, but with the change desktop I switched to Linux Mint.
Now I have the posiblilidad back to Ubuntu, but either perform a simple upgrade to Linux Mint 18 (with possible problems) or a new installation with Ubuntu Mate16.04.1, my question is worth point going ?.
Thank you.

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Hi Juanjo

Wellcome to Ubuntu Mate Community!

I think, this ist not an easy question. I started with Linux as daily used OS to years ago. Then I had same question as you have with Mint 16 (or somthing in that direction) and Ubuntu with Mate Remix-Desktop. Ubuntu Mate as an independently OS doesn’t exist not yet at that time.

I choosed Ubuntu Mate for many reasons:

UM was slimmer, faster and needed less cpu than Mint
I never understand Mints update system
Faster Updates by Ubuntu
If I can choose an original, why should I use a fork?
The feeling on UM was more coherent than on Mint

And last but not least, the community here has convinced finaly! :grin:

If you have the opportunity to make a test in a Virtual Machine or on an other PC, you should try both systems.


Thank you for responding, that’s what I need to know the differences between the two distributions, but above all need a little push to change, I’m really looking forward to.

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I can give you a few pros and cons.

Linux Mint pros: Their Mint tools are nice. Compared to mainstream Ubuntu, Linux Mint has taken their system tools to another level. Mint has a better updater that includes kernel updates. Mint has PPA management, which is better than Ubuntus. Linux Mint has “LTS focus” which means you will receive new MATE versions until the next LTS.

Linux Mint cons: Linux Mint is not as free as Ubuntu. Mint “locks down” the system and makes it incompatible with certain tools like live iso creation. Linux Mint is slightly heavier with some unidentified (at least I don’t know) processes sometimes running. Some people say it’s not as secure as Ubuntu, but I think it’s mostly FUD.

Ubuntu MATE pros: The most polished Ubuntu-member. Ubuntu MATE welcome/boutique is definitely a very strong feature. Ubuntu MATE is free, no artificial lock-downs. Ubuntu MATE has a very nice community (this one) with genuinely helpful people. Ubuntu MATE is true Ubuntu which ensures full compatibility with Ubuntu.

Ubuntu MATE cons: The updater is bad just like Ubuntu. I don’t know how PPAs are handled in Ubuntu MATE 16.04, but it’s an area that could be improved. Ubuntu MATE 16.04 has slightly less focus from devs because they have to focus on non-LTS releases.


Thank you, what I’m reading in short, but correct me if I’m wrong, the user part is more careful in Linux Mint, while the system itself is better UM.

Hi Juanjo,

If you mean Mint Cinnamon vs Ubuntu Mate, then it depends on your hardware, and on which “feels” like the best fit. But if you mean Ubuntu Mate vs Mint Mate, then it’s just a matter of personal preference. There is no best between the two, just which of the two you prefer.

I use Mint 17.3 Cinnamon as well as Ubuntu Mate 16.04… Ubuntu Mate is more responsive on my hardware, but I won’t delete Mint, because I don’t have to… it’s Linux, it’s free, and I can use as many Distros as I wish :wink:


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when the change of Gnome 2 to Gnome 3 tried several different versions, Linux Mint for a while, all very nice and caring but has certain things you can not change them as well as Ubuntu, maybe I’m wrong but I think there are certain blocks in the system. I ended up in Unity, some things I like and others not, switch to Ubuntu Mate the best idea. Regards…


I have move over to linux full time this year on all my workstations. I had a laptop running ubuntu mate 15.10 but when 16.04 was released I upgraded all of my machines to it. No more windows or os x. I have been running linux mint 18 beta in virtualbox the past couple days ever since it was released. Don’t get me wrong it is a nice distro but I just feel more comfortable using ubuntu mate also on top of it the ubuntu mate community is amazing.

This is just my opinion.


Thank you all for your answers, I understand I’m asking in a forum Ubunu Mate, if my question was a forum for Linux Mint, I guess that answers would be different, right ?.
As I said in a previous post I used Ubuntu (started with version 8.04), and have had no major problems. The reason for the change was the Unity desktop, which made me change to Linux Mint.
I think I’ve already made a decision, I will change to Ubuntu Mate, it’s not a big change, Julio waited to have a more stable version (16.4.1). The only thing I will miss will be formatting USB drives in Linux Mint is very comfortable, but can be done from the gnome-disks application. And I’ll have to install the multimedia codecs, although in Linux Mint 18 and are not by default.
Again, thank you all for your answers, if someone else want to answer, I’m open to suggestions.

P.S. If you read my English is bad, I’m using the Google translator.


Regarding the codecs, I never understood the issue installing them, just enable them while installing Ubuntu. And this is now also the way Mint will do it.

I think why many people love Ubuntu Mate including me, is because it looks exactly how Ubuntu used to be before Unity came. It is somehow a nostalgic feeling, especially when Ubuntu with Gnome 2 was your first Linux experience.


I would say Ubuntu MATE is the spiritual successor to original Ubuntu. Ubuntu MATE is “spirit of ubuntu” and “Linux for human beings”, more so than any other distro.
I recognize the contributions made by Linux Mint, but not being able to create my own live-usb is a deal-breaker for me. It’s also somewhat disturbing that Mint cares more about its brand than user freedom/convenience.

I think Ubuntu MATE is the better system except for the inherited Ubuntu system tools.

What worries me is the top-down control that Red Hat has over desktop Linux. Systemd, PulseAudio, GTK3 and Gnome, Plymouth and Wayland are technologies that are tied to Red Hat.

MATE is better than Gnome 2 ever was. Linux graphics drivers are better than ever. But overall I don’t think Linux desktop is in a good shape. The amount of complicated/bloated software from Red Hat is a bit overwhelming. When Slackware adopted PulseAudio it was a sad day indeed. What I am saying is that Linux is less about choice than it once was. I think competing technologies is good thing.

People blame Canonical for creating Mir. I think it was good for Wayland development.


Hi David,

I think they are stopping codecs installation with Mint 18 but like you say, tick the box when installing or there is a one-click-installer for those that want it!:;


See also:

I’m not expert on the desktops but my evaluations since Ubuntu 10.04 I think Ubuntu-Mate 16.04 is the best thing since Ubuntu 10.04.

I don’t really care about pulse audio, systemd, wayland, etc. these “under the hood” things shouldn’t matter if they just work out of the box, unfortunately systmed & pulse audio certainly have been less than smooth roll outs and caused lots of issues (I minimize by staying with LTS releases) and I suspect wayland to be even more disruptive.

But I see lots of backsliding in the core apps, things like nautilus, gedit and totem are IMHO far inferior to what was in 10.04, and except for Totem the Mate forks have mostly saved the day.

My take on Mint18 Mate vs Mate 16.04 is with Mint you lose Gnome Main Menu which is to me the heart and soul of the 10.04 “look” as far as I can tell. I never warmed up to Mint Gnome3 Main Menu which is a double-wide box in the lower left corner like Windows7, Apparently Gnome Main Menu goes away in Ubuntu-Mate 16.10 so it’ll soon be moot :frowning:

I was going to try Mint 18 mate in a vm today to see what it get a look and feel on it. One thing mint has going for it is the lts 5 year support instead of the 3.

For me the choice of Ubuntu Mate was completely aesthetic. From early on I have never liked the looks of Mint, even with what modifications I was capable of doing. I do love the Mate desktop though.


I’ll throw my hat in here; Ubuntu MATE doesn’t force you to make a choice of file manager at the expense of the rest of the desktop. I’ve written a guide about using Nemo in UM if you’re interested in following that to the letter. The only caveat is that nemo-preview isn’t something you can install into it, but a bunch of other, more capable tools exist for this purpose.

Linux Mint, on the other hand has a better OOTB experience, and as mentioned before, has some pretty impressive system tools. synaptic is pre-installed, as well apt-xapian-index so that’s a big bonus for first-time users who want to get their hands a bit dirtier, but this is just an illusion as installing certain things can cause other, different things to break. You have to be careful about 32-bit libs especially as some common ones that work fine in Ubuntu may want to rip half your system out. I’m not kidding! Here’s the response when trying to install some 32-bit libs I needed for a game;

sudo apt-get -s install libsdl2-2.0-0:i386 libglew1.10:i386 libalure1:i386 libdumb1:i386 libmodplug1:i386
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libegl1-mesa:i386 libgbm1 libgbm1:i386 libwayland-client0:i386
  libwayland-cursor0:i386 libwayland-egl1-mesa:i386 libwayland-server0:i386
  libxcb-xfixes0:i386 libxkbcommon0:i386
Suggested packages:
Recommended packages:
The following packages will be REMOVED:
  gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad libmodplug1
  mint-meta-codecs vlc vlc-nox vlc-plugin-notify vlc-plugin-pulse
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libalure1:i386 libdumb1:i386 libegl1-mesa:i386 libgbm1:i386 libglew1.10:i386
  libmodplug1:i386 libsdl2-2.0-0:i386 libwayland-client0:i386
  libwayland-cursor0:i386 libwayland-egl1-mesa:i386 libwayland-server0:i386
  libxcb-xfixes0:i386 libxkbcommon0:i386
The following packages will be upgraded:
1 upgraded, 13 newly installed, 8 to remove and 27 not upgraded.
Remv mint-meta-codecs [2014.06.02]
Remv gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad [0.10.23-7.2ubuntu1.1]
Remv gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad [1.2.4-1~ubuntu1]
Remv vlc-plugin-pulse [2.1.6-0ubuntu14.04.1]
Remv vlc-plugin-notify [2.1.6-0ubuntu14.04.1]Ubuntu
Remv vlc-nox [2.1.6-0ubuntu14.04.1] [vlc:amd64 ]
Remv libmodplug1 [1:] [vlc:amd64 ]
Remv vlc [2.1.6-0ubuntu14.04.1]
Inst libalure1:i386 (1.2-6 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libdumb1:i386 (1:0.9.3-6 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libgbm1 [10.1.3-0ubuntu0.1] (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [amd64])
Inst libwayland-client0:i386 (1.4.0-1ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libwayland-server0:i386 (1.4.0-1ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libgbm1:i386 (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Inst libxcb-xfixes0:i386 (1.10-2ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libegl1-mesa:i386 (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Inst libglew1.10:i386 (1.10.0-3 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libwayland-cursor0:i386 (1.4.0-1ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libwayland-egl1-mesa:i386 (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Inst libxkbcommon0:i386 (0.4.1-0ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Inst libsdl2-2.0-0:i386 (2.0.2+dfsg1-3ubuntu1.1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Inst libmodplug1:i386 (1: Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libalure1:i386 (1.2-6 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libdumb1:i386 (1:0.9.3-6 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libgbm1 (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [amd64])
Conf libwayland-client0:i386 (1.4.0-1ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libwayland-server0:i386 (1.4.0-1ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libgbm1:i386 (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Conf libxcb-xfixes0:i386 (1.10-2ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libegl1-mesa:i386 (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Conf libglew1.10:i386 (1.10.0-3 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libwayland-cursor0:i386 (1.4.0-1ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libwayland-egl1-mesa:i386 (10.1.3-0ubuntu0.4 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Conf libxkbcommon0:i386 (0.4.1-0ubuntu1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])
Conf libsdl2-2.0-0:i386 (2.0.2+dfsg1-3ubuntu1.1 Ubuntu:14.04/trusty-updates [i386])
Conf libmodplug1:i386 (1: Ubuntu:14.04/trusty [i386])

Why did all of that removal stuff need to happen? That made no sense. And UM agrees.

Mint MATE is still better for first-time Linux users because of the OOTB experience, if you have said user stick with 64-bit software. For everyone else, there’s us. :slight_smile:


I switched from Mint after using it for years, and was excited about Ubuntu Mate about a year ago. A mix of Mint feeling like it was trying to force me to use its branded searches, etc for revenue was sort of annoying in the past, and it suddenly had some bugs that were not treating my machine kindly, so I tried out Ubuntu Mate. It worked better and I liked going back to something that was updated with the regular relaease of Ubuntu. Well Ubuntu Mate 16.04 was a little buggy on my machine, so I tried Mint 18 beta. It has been flawless even though it is in beta. My driver issue with my printer disappeared. I noticed that they now have some of those old screensavers available. I may be showing my age, but I consider those fun whether you need them or not. I like being able to hit the search box for the name of a program and have the option to install it come up (pretty sure that was not available in Ubuntu Mate). It feels more integrated to me and does the things I expect. I know the software boutique was supposed to be a plus on UM, but I just felt it was too limited. So I guess I am currently a fan of Mint…until I go back to UM for some reason perhaps.

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Different strokes for different folks. I prefer more control over certain utilities, and despite Mint MATE Menu not having the option of a separate software manager button, I’m still inclined to use Ubuntu MATE because I can install certain things without it malfunctioning, and there’s the guarantee of updates alongside Ubuntu, so things don’t act funky due to outdated software and libraries being used.

Linux Mint aims to provide a very stable experience, even at the expense of potential security updates which some people do not mind. Though, with custom software, custom libraries or custom revisions of libraries to make Mint’s own software usable, that may interfere with some other software as defined in package conflicts. Though with the recent development of Ubuntu Snap packages, as well Flatpak and AppImage, we may see a future where it doesn’t matter much for the end user how they begin, and the end user can choose freely how they end up.


Uh, what? Why is that interface option being removed? @wimpy what are your plans for 16.10’s default UI?

I’m a big fan of “If it’s not broken why fix it?” Why not try both with live installs?
Both have major advantages and disadvantages an you are the sole person to make the determination.
If there are aspects of Ubuntu MATE that don’t fit in your workflow post here for possibilities for customization to meet your needs.