The developers from the Ubuntu community who made this distribution possible have teased users for quite some time with a new MATE flavor, but it’s now possible to run and test the new distribution.
Many Ubuntu users are still pining away after the GNOME 2 interface and Unity still has a lot of adversaries. The MATE desktop environment tries to capture that GNOME 2 feel, and now the conservative Ubuntu users can no longer complain.
The first alpha of the new Ubuntu MATE 14.10 was released on July 4 and it came as a surprise for the people who thought that it would remain only a promise. Now, the second Alpha is available for download and it looks like the developers mean business.
“Ubuntu MATE is a stable, easy-to-use operating system with a configurable desktop environment. Ideal for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops and netbooks and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor. With modest hardware requirements it is suitable for modern workstations and older hardware alike,” reads the official website.
According to the changelog, EFI support has been added, “out of the box” accessibility for blind or visually impaired individuals has been implemented, an Ubuntu-like panel layout has been added, the Ambiance and Radiance themes have been added to Pluma, Rhythmbox and Totem plugins are now available, the Release Notes are now available in Ubquity (the installer), Metacity has been replaced with Marco for the live session installer, and the Network Manager applet should now work as intended.
Also, the default icons in LibreOffice have been fixed, a custom livecd-rootfs package that tracks upstream has been created, the seeds and meta packages have been improved, the Ambiance and Radiance themes are now much better, the font rendering has been improved, and a number of packages have been removed.
This is not a stable release and users can expect some problems as well. For example, it’s not possible to upgrade from Alpha 1 to Alpha 2 with apt-get, the Shotwell plugins don’t work, and even if EFI support has been added, it’s still not 100% certain that it will work.