Introduction to Ubuntu MATE: A User-Friendly Linux Experience

Posted in Notes on 22 January 2019

This article was written in 2019, it provides a general overview of Ubuntu MATE, highlighting its key features and benefits, and why I decided to make it my main operating system (for a couple of years). Since 2020 I've been back on Windows + WSL for most development work.

As a PHP developers most of my time is spent working with Linux servers. When Microsoft introduced the Linux Sub-system for Windows I jumped at the chance to use the same server commands I was used to locally on my Windows PC.

Over time I realised that the majority of the software I was using (PhpStorm, MySQL Workbench, GIT, Keepass were all available on Linux. I decided to make the switch from Windows 10 for Linux.

Ubuntu MATE

In the vast ecosystem of Linux distributions, Ubuntu MATE stands out as a reliable and user-friendly option for both beginners and experienced users alike. Born out of the desire to revive the classic desktop computing experience, Ubuntu MATE combines the power of Ubuntu’s foundation with the traditional MATE desktop environment, offering a familiar yet modern computing environment.

Ubuntu MATE is an official derivative of Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions globally. It features the MATE desktop environment, a fork of the classic GNOME 2 desktop, known for its simplicity, efficiency, and configurability. The aim of Ubuntu MATE is to provide a stable, intuitive, and resource-efficient computing platform suitable for a wide range of users.

Key features

One of the defining features of Ubuntu MATE is its focus on user experience. The MATE desktop environment offers a traditional layout reminiscent of older versions of Windows or GNOME 2, making it easy for users transitioning from other operating systems to feel at home. With a familiar taskbar, application menu, and system tray, navigating Ubuntu MATE feels intuitive from the start.

Moreover, Ubuntu MATE is renowned for its performance and versatility. It can breathe new life into older hardware, allowing users to extend the lifespan of their computers without sacrificing usability or speed. Whether you’re using a modern laptop or a decade-old desktop, Ubuntu MATE runs smoothly and efficiently, catering to diverse hardware configurations.


As a derivative of Ubuntu, Ubuntu MATE inherits the vast software repositories of its parent distribution. Users have access to a vast array of open-source applications, ranging from productivity tools and multimedia software to development environments and system utilities. The Software Boutique, a curated software center included with Ubuntu MATE, simplifies the process of discovering and installing applications, ensuring that users can quickly find the tools they need to enhance their computing experience.

Community and support

Ubuntu MATE benefits from the vibrant and supportive Linux community. Users can seek assistance, share experiences, and contribute to the development of the distribution through forums, mailing lists, and online communities. Whether you’re a seasoned Linux enthusiast or a newcomer seeking guidance, there’s a wealth of resources available to help you make the most of Ubuntu MATE.

Download + Install

Download the appropriate version of Ubuntu MATE for your PC. 64-bit is the standard version and most likely the one you should down. Unless you’re running a very old machine which will require 32-bit, or you’ve got specialised hardware like a Raspberry Pi.

Ubuntu MATE offers a compelling blend of performance, usability, and community support, making it an excellent choice for users seeking a reliable and user-friendly Linux distribution.

With its traditional desktop environment, extensive software ecosystem, and dedicated community, Ubuntu MATE provides a welcoming environment for users of all backgrounds and skill levels. Whether you’re exploring Linux for the first time or looking for a dependable computing platform, Ubuntu MATE has something to offer.

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