Thoughts on Ubuntu 14.04 and the Mate Desktop Environment

The next release of Ubuntu will be out in April of this year – version 14.04.  The 14.04 release (code named Trusty Tahr) will be a Long Term Support release, which will be supported for 5 years.  

One of the interesting things about this release is the inclusion of the Mate desktop environment in the Trusty Tahr repositories. Mate is a fork of the gnome 2 desktop environment, which was one of the most popular desktops for Ubuntu. When gnome came out with version 3 of their desktop environment and Ubuntu switched to Unity a lot of people got upset with those decisions and looked to other desktops like XFCE and KDE to name a few.

I like both Unity and Gnome 3 and think that they are maturing quite nicely with every release.  I tend to favor the XFCE desktop for being more lightweight than Unity and Gnome 3 and also like KDE for its customization. Gnome 3 now has extensions that you can install to make it more usable than it was and with a little work you can make it look more like the old gnome 2 desktop.  However it can seem a little bloated on my Dell 1545 laptop with 4 GB of ram.  The more my fans start to run the more I look for ways to make the distro lighter.  

The one thing I don’t like about Unity, Gnome 3, and even windows now is that they are trying to have one desktop experience for PCs, laptops, tablets, and phones.   With the popularity of tablets and smart phones computers are changing, but I think having one desktop to rule them all is the wrong way to go.   At least for right now anyway.   For now the traditional desktop isn’t dead.

It will be interesting to see what effect the inclusion of the Mate desktop will have on Ubuntu and Unity.

Will people switch from Unity to Mate? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. 

2 Replies to “Thoughts on Ubuntu 14.04 and the Mate Desktop Environment”

  1. I have used Ubuntu since 2009 and I despise Unity. I run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS w/ MATE on my HP G7 laptop, full time. I am waiting for the release of 14.04 w/ MATE 1.6 to run on my dual-boot desktop AMD system. I am glad to see that the Ubuntu team has finally figured out that forcing Unity down the end users throat is not an ideal course of action.

    1. I like both unity and gnome 3, but feel that they both need more work and the users should be able to customize them more than they can. I don’t agree with the “one desktop to rule them all” way of thinking.

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