Ubuntu MATE, Not Just a Whim

I've stated for years how much I dislike Ubuntu's Unity interface. Yes, it's become more polished through the years, but it's just not an interface that thinks the same way I do. That's likely because I'm old and inflexible, but nevertheless, I've done everything I could to avoid using Unity, which usually means switching to Xubuntu. I actually really like Xubuntu, and the Xfce interface is close enough to the GNOME 2 look, that I hardly miss the way my laptop used to look before Unity.

I wasn't alone in my disdain for Ubuntu's flagship desktop manager switch, and many folks either switched to Xubuntu or moved to another Debian/Ubuntu-based distro like Linux Mint. The MATE desktop started as a hack, in fact, because GNOME 3 and Unity were such drastic changes. I never really got into MATE, however, because I thought it was going to be nothing more than a hack and eventually would be unusable due to old GNOME 2 libraries phasing out and so forth.

I was wrong.

I'm very happy I was wrong, and with the advent of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, I decided Ubuntu MATE (now officially in the Ubuntu family) was here to stay. It was the first version of 16.04 that I installed, and I've never looked back. Running Ubuntu MATE is like living in an alternate reality where GNOME 3 and Unity were never invented. Imagine if GNOME 2 was still king, and you could tweak your desktop to look exactly like it always looked when using GNOME. It's glorious.

Xubuntu, I still love you. You got me through a rough patch, and I'll forever be grateful. But I'm now an Ubuntu MATE man, and I have no plans of changing. And, if MATE 3.0 suddenly changes everything good about desktop computing again, I'll dust of my Xubuntu installer, and apologize for ever leaving!

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.

Load Disqus comments