Ubuntu MATE 14.04 from Scratch

We are getting a lot of requests for Ubuntu MATE 14.04 .iso images but we won’t be in a position to make them until after Ubuntu MATE 14.10 is released. So, as an interim measure here are some instructions for creating your own Ubuntu MATE 14.04 from scratch.

The basic steps are:

  • Install Ubuntu from a netboot .iso
  • Add the Ubuntu MATE PPAs
  • Install the required packages
  • Tweak the configuration

Download Ubuntu 14.04 netboot .iso image

Visit the URL below and download either the i386 or amd64 mini.iso.

Burn the .iso to CD or dd it to a USB stick.

UEFI and Wireless! While the `mini.iso` is handy, there are some limitations.
  • It can’t boot or install UEFI computers that you want to run in UEFI mode because it lacks the required files for booting the computer in UEFI mode. Therefore, if you have a UEFI computer you need to enable “Legacy BIOS Mode”.
  • If you have a wireless card that requires firmware or a proprietary driver then you will have to connect via ethernet cable to complete the initial installation.

Install a minimal Ubuntu 14.04

Installing from mini.iso is straight forward, here is an overview of what to do.

  • When mini.iso boots select Install by pressing ENTER.
  • Select your language.
  • Select your location.
  • Configure your keyboard layout.
  • Enter the hostname for the computer.
  • Choose a mirror location for the Ubuntu archive.
  • Configure the HTTP proxy to use (if required).
  • Create your user account.
  • Decide if you want your home directory encrypted or not.
  • Select your time zone.
  • Partition the disk(s).

The base system packages will now be downloaded and installed, this is a good time for a cup of tea. Or, if your Internet connection is like mine, then it is time for a pot of tea while you bake a cake.

  • Select your preferred update management policy.
  • When the ‘Software selection’ menu is displayed make sure nothing is selected then choose <Continue>.
  • Install the GRUB boot loader.
USB and GRUB Using the netboot .iso from the USB may need special attention.

As Jon notes in the comments, when using mini.iso from a USB stick the installer often sees the USB as /dev/sda and the disk you are installing to as /dev/sdb. This is apparent during the partitioning.

When it’s time for the installer to write the bootloader to a drive, it defaults to /dev/sda. Since /dev/sda is the USB stick, bad things will happen. So, select the No option that’s offered at that point and manually identify where the bootloader should actually go, very likely /dev/sdb.

  • Set the system time to UTC or local time.

The minimal Ubuntu installation is complete, choose <Continue> to reboot.

Configure Ubuntu

Login using the user account you created earlier. A few packages need to be installed so that the Ubuntu MATE PPAs can be added easily.

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties software-properties-common

Add the Ubuntu MATE PPAs

Now add the Ubuntu MATE PPAs.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
sudo apt-get update

Install Ubuntu MATE

Execute the following to install Ubuntu MATE.

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-mate-core ubuntu-mate-desktop linux-firmware-nonfree

Remember that cake you baked earlier? Now is a good time to eat it.

Post-install configuration

When the install is complete some post-install configuration is required.

During the mini.iso install a user account was created, which is missing a couple of files that make Network Manager work and correct the default icons for LibreOffice. Therefore these Ubuntu MATE configuration files need to be manually overlayed.

rsync -av /etc/skel/.config/ ~/.config/
rsync -av /etc/skel/.local/ ~/.local/

This last tweak is required to get NetworkManager fully working. Edit /etc/network/interfaces to remove any extra lines so that it looks exactly like this:

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

Audio and Video Codecs?

If you’d like some additional audio/video codecs and Adobe Flash then install the following package.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-addons


If you are doing this in a Virtualbox guest then you’ll want to install these additional packages.

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-x11 virtualbox-guest-dkms

All done!

You can now reboot into your shiny new Ubuntu MATE 14.04.



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