The new virtual machine was made so that I can evaluate something interesting that came to my attention lately:
- Ubuntu MATE ↓ ↓ ↓
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I'm the last guy you want to talk to about what's going on in the Linux community, but I do run across some interesting tid bits of information on occasion. The people over at the Ubuntu project decided that they wanted to make a credible MS Windows competitor. They dipped into the Debian pool of distributions to came up with Ubuntu. It was pretty slick back in '08 but it wasn't exactly what they had in mind. So, the Ubuntu developers created something more consistent with their goals in what we have come to know as the Unity desktop. Unity obviously is targeted at mobile devices and there is a concerted effort as I write this to make it the OS of choice on mobile devices. Well, they have as much a chance at doing that as does Microsoft. Both groups went off on a tangent as far as I'm concerned.
But, Ubuntu has it's good points, even if Unity isn't one of them. I happen to like Unity but long time Linux users never did accept the concept and have been wailing and gnashing teeth ever since. One group of dissatisfied customers decided to address the discontent and create a retrograde desktop environment that looks and feels like the old Debian used to be. Well, why not? I see that somebody has also devised a desktop environment to emulate Windows XP, but that's not the subject here. Bringing back the old time religion is what Ubuntu MATE is all about.
This post is just to make you aware that salvation for Ubuntu might be at hand. I have less than 24 hours experience with it so that I can't give it a fair review. I can say that MATE takes the user so far back that it's uncomfortable for anyone like me who has taken a liking for the way Unity does things. In unity you open the launcher, type in what you want, and voila. You get a choice of all the installed packages that match your criteria. With MATE, you have those drop down menus shown in the picture, which is how life used to be back in 2008. I had to pull down quite a few menus and second guess how things were organized in order to find a simple text editor. That was way too much navigation for somebody (like me) who is used to having the system do all the searching for you.
The MATE desktop is highly customizable which is nothing new to Linux distributions. However quite a few themes come already packaged. There are oodles and oodles of GUI's to set every parameter you have ever thought of and quite a few you didn't know exist. Since MATE is built upon Ubuntu, all the Ubuntu system controls and package managers are available. Given that I'm using a virtual machine for this round of testing, I can't really say much about the drivers. I'm assuming that if it's available in Ubuntu, you can get at them from MATE as well.
All things considered, I am thinking that the traditionalists among us will eventually like MATE. At the moment it's not quite as stable as Ubuntu (so says the linked article), but it does have everything you learned to love and use from back in the good ol' days. If you try it out, feel free to say a few words here. If you already have Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, it couldn't be easier to install MATE. They have their own PPA repository that you just add to the existing Ubuntu standards.
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/08/inst ... -14-04-lts