Tag Archives: Mate

What is New in Ubuntu 17.10, the Artful Aardvark

The next release of Ubuntu, the most commonly used and thought of by normal people and a few others version of Linux, is set to be released on Thursday, October 19th. The exact set of changes and improvements is not known, but a few key ones are, and some can be guessed at from the multiple pre-release releases.

This is a momentous occasion because this will be the first version of Ubuntu’s main flavor that does NOT include Unity as its default desktop.

If you don’t know, Unity was a menu and control system for the desktop, your main interface when working with the computer other than, obviously, while using a particular application. It was the look and feel, the essence, of the operating system. Unity was supposed to unify things, like diverse features of a typical desktop, like Ubuntu running on a cell phone, a desktop, a laptop, a whatever.

Unity used a modus operendus that many other interfaces were shifting towards. I hear there are versions of Windows that looked a bit like this, and Gnome from version 3.0 onwards had this basic approach. Continue reading What is New in Ubuntu 17.10, the Artful Aardvark

10 or 20 things to do after installing Ubuntu Mate (14.10)

See here to see why you might want to install the Mate flavor of Ubuntu 14.10.

Then, install it and consider doing these things. Get your system up to date. Yes, yes, you just installed it but that install image was old(ish). Update and upgrade now:

First, you probably want to open the Software Center, to to Software and Updates, and enable all the Ubuntu Software Sourcews (other than source and the CDRom option). Then:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Go to Preferences/Additional Drivers and then allow additional drivers, and pick a proprietary driver for your graphics card if you like.

Install the Synaptic Package manager and if you like use it for some of the following updates. I like Synaptic package manager better than the Ubuntu software center.

sudo apt-get install synaptic

You might not need to install gdebi but make sure it is there. This is an application that installs .deb files.
sudo apt-get install gdebi

So now you have a better set of installation tools.

Go to the Google Website and install Chrome. Not Chromium Chrome. Chrome will run Netflix for you. Later, when you run it, it will ask if you want it to be your default browser. Your choice (I use Chrome as my default browser.)

Using Synaptic Package Manager (if you like) you may want to install vlc media player, and your favorite audio software.

I like emacs, you probably don’t, but if you do, this is a good time to install it, and consider updating your .emacs file.

Open up the control center and fiddle with stuff.

You then might want to head on over here and see if you want any of the suggested software for power management or other functionality.





Should you install Ubuntu Mate?

With Ubuntu’s release a few weeks ago of Ubuntu 14.10, Mate has now become an official flavor of Ubuntu.

There are two pieces of bad news that relate to this that we’ll get out of the way. First Ubuntu’s default distribution, which uses the Unity Desktop by default, broke a key Linux feature. If you install Ubuntu with Unity, you can’t easily change your desktop. Or, if you try, you’ll break your system. Ubuntu seems to want you to use Unity no matter what. Second, while at one time all flavors of Ubuntu were treated more or less alike (though the “Default” was gnome) now, the non-Unity distros are called “Older and other” and you have to dig around to find them. Apparently, Ubuntu wants you to use Unity no matter what. Where have I heard that before?

So, long term, don’t expect Mate, or KDE, or any of the other non-Unity distributions to remain as Ubuntu Flavors. I strongly suspect Ubuntu will eventually boot out all the non Unity distros. This will happen about the time Ubuntu gets past a certain percentage of the portable device market (which, at this time, it is not really part of) and it becomes in the interest of Ubunut’s backers to unify the look and feel, with Ubuntu Unityish being the operating system for the next generation of smart phones of which they will sell many. I assume. Or maybe not, we’ll see.

So, why should you install mate? Consider the following two reasons:

1) It isn’t Unity, it works better if you like the traditional Gnome 2.0 style of a desktop. This is really the only way to get that style desktop.

2) It isn’t Unity, and at this point as many of us as possible have to be using something other than Unity (unless of course you happen to like Unity in which case you’ve probably stormed off by now so good bye) in order to send the message that no, we won’t have the Linux Desktop broken by a big gorilla that first takes over the whole Linux thing by being so good at it then tells us what we have to eat for dinner every day thereafter. Thank you very much.

Beyond that, the reason to install the Ubuntu flavor of Mate instead of Mate on some other distro is that, like it or not, Ubuntu has the best distro if you don’t want to totally roll your own or fiddle a lot. You still have to fiddle (see here for example) but most will get their computer off the ground a lot faster and less painfully with Ubuntu.

I was not really happy with some of the earlier incarnations of Mate, partly because this Gnome fork seemed to have broken a lot of nice Gnome features, rather than just forking them. Now, however, either they have stopped doing that or I’ve forgotten what features Gnome had that I liked and don’t care any more. But seriously, Mate as implemented (version 17) on Ubuntu Linux (14.10) is a clean and nice installation.

To install go here, download the appropriate file, then make a bootable DVD or USB. The USB is easier. You can use the ddrescue command indicated here to make a bootable USB. Don’t make the mistake I did. I forgot that not all USB ports on your computer are created equal. Even if your bios is configured to allow you to boot from USB, that may refer to only some of the USB ports. Your computer might even be labeled to indicate this (mine was, but the labeling was tiny and criptic so I was unaware of it!) If you think you’ve got a working boot USB, and it does not work, move it to a different port.

Then, after you have installed Mate, you may want to mess around with it to make it work better.