Running Steam on Ubuntu MATE

A couple of weeks ago Phoronix published an article comparing the Steam performance on various flavours of Ubuntu 16.04. This article made me very sad because, using the default settings, Ubuntu MATE didn’t appear to fair that well. I was also somewhat surprised, what with Ubuntu MATE sharing a good deal in common with the other flavours and being a fairly light-weight operating system. While I’m not a big gamer, I’ve always been very satisfied with Steam performance on Ubuntu MATE.

What we need here is a gamer. A gaming enthusiast who knows how to run a benchmark. A Linux gamer. Enter Pedro Mateus from Linux Game Cast.

Steam on Ubuntu MATE

Pedro ran the benchmarks he is most familar with on his Steam Box by simply replacing the SSD with one that had Ubuntu MATE 16.04 installed. Pedro also tested all the available compositor options available in Ubuntu MATE, afterall, we’ve included a number of compositor options to suit different use cases. This is the hardware, software and configuration used:

All benchmarks were run at 1920x1080. The table below shows the average frames per second for each benchmark. The colouring of the average frames per second denotes how much, if any, screen tearing was visible.

  • Bad tearing

  • Noticeable tearing

  • No noticeable tearing

Benchmark No compositor Software compositor Compton Compiz
Unigine HeavenExtreme 25.5 25.1 25.0 24.9
Unigine HeavenBasic 88.1 84.6 84.4 84.0
The Talos PrincipleOpenGL 70.4 68.5 70.3 69.8
The Talos PrincipleVulkan 97.1 89.9 96.9 95.1


Conclusions

So what do we learn from the benchmarks above?

  • The Ubuntu MATE default Window Manager is Marco (Software compositor). This explains why the Phoronix benchmarks didn’t show Ubuntu MATE in the best light, since it can be the lowest performing option for gaming.
    • Perhaps Marco needs some logic to Unredirect Fullscreen Windows.
  • Using Compton or Compiz provides tear free gaming.
  • Compton (slightly) out performs Compiz.
  • Perdro tells me that when running Ubuntu MATE with Compton the average frames per second is about 2 FPS lower than SteamOS on the same hardware.
    • This seems reasonable given that Ubuntu MATE is a general purpose desktop operating system and SteamOS is purpose built for gaming.
  • Vulkan is the cat’s pyjamas!

From the benchmarks Pedro Mateus conducted we can recommend that to get the optimum gaming experience on Ubuntu MATE you should use Compton, which can be enable via MATE Tweak, and that Ubuntu MATE gaming performance is just about on par with SteamOS.

Ubuntu MATE April 2016 supporters

We are completely overwhelmed with the generostiy you’ve shown the Ubuntu MATE project following the 16.04 LTS release. It is humbling indeed!

Many thanks to everyone who donated to the Ubuntu MATE project this month. You have been generous as always and ensured that we can meet all the costs associated with running the Ubuntu MATE project and the community site. In fact, this month we are able to reward some developers for working on Ubuntu MATE projects.

Thank you!

How will these donations be spent?

These donations will be used to pay for:

  • All Ubuntu MATE hosting and server costs for April 2016.
  • All the Ubuntu MATE CDN, bandwidth and email charges for April 2016.
  • Spent £62.90 on 2x Raspberry Pi 3 Mobel B for development and testing.
  • Spent £52.00 on 20x 4GB USB 2.0 memory sticks and 10x 2GB USB 2.0 memory sticks
    • These were flashed with Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (amd64 and i386) and handed out to visitors to the 11th Egham Raspberry Jam.
  • Donated €690 (taking into account currency variations) to 4 Open Source developers working on Ubuntu MATE and MATE Desktop projects.
  • This brings Ubuntu MATEs total donations to other Open Source projects and developers to approximately $5310.90 (taking into account currency variations).
  • We will be reviewing how we can put the surplus of donations from April to good use and expand our contributor rewards to fund some additional development activities.

Although Ubuntu MATE 15.04 onward is an official member of the Ubuntu family, and new Ubuntu MATE releases are now distributed via the Canonical mirror network, we are serving ~2000 downloads per day for Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 and another ~170 downloads per day for Ubuntu MATE 14.04.

Thank you!

Supporting Open Source

Ubuntu MATE is comprised of many Open Source projects, we recognise that. Each month that Ubuntu MATE has a surplus of funds we will make a contribution to an Open Source project or developer that Ubuntu MATE directly benefits from.

For April 2016 Ubuntu MATE have donated to several Open Source developers who’ve worked on Ubuntu MATE or MATE Desktop projects.

  • Developer of (Ubuntu MATE) - £150 for developing Ubuntu MATE Welcome and updating the Ubuntu MATE website.
  • Developer of (Fedora) - €150 for porting MATE Desktop to GTK3 and preparing MATE 1.14 for release.
  • Developer of (Linux Mint) - €150 for porting MATE Desktop to GTK3 and preparing MATE 1.14 for release.
  • Developer of (Debian) €150 for packaging MATE Desktop in Debian.
  • Developer of (Debian) - €100 for packaging for packaging MATE Desktop in Debian.

Thank you to everyone who has donated, you are really making a difference to the development of Ubuntu MATE and the MATE Desktop.

Please Donate

We have setup a number of payment options that should hopefully suit everyone. If you haven’t already, be brilliant, help grow our community.

Grow your community

Become a full Ubuntu MATE community member by helping to grow and sustain it. Warm and fuzzy sensations guaranteed.

Donate

Patrons

Many thanks to the Ubuntu MATE patrons who collectively donated $947.5 this month.

Monthly supporter

Become a monthly supporter at Patreon. Patrons get exclusive project updates, invites to live video conferences with the Ubuntu MATE developers and discounts on some Ubuntu MATE merchandise.

Become a Patron
  • A total of $3814.65 was donated via PayPal, which after processing fees amounted to $3473.43, of which $2795.69 was received as Download Tips.
  • A total of €411.5 was donated via PayPal, which after processing fees amounted to €385.63.
  • A total of £85.0 was donated via PayPal, which after processing fees amounted to £80.31.
  • A total of 0.110557349 BTC was donated.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 for Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 images for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 are now available for download.

Download

Download Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

Download

The image is built from the regular Ubuntu armhf base, not the new Snappy Ubuntu, which means that the installation procedure for applications is the same as that for the regular desktop versions ie using apt-get. However, since Ubuntu MATE 16.04 snap packages can be installed alongside classic deb packages.

We have done what we can to optimise the build for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3, you can comfortably use applications such as LibreOffice and Firefox. Ubuntu MATE 16.04 also has fully working Bluetooth and Wifi on the Raspberry Pi 3. You’ll need a microSD card which is 8GB or greater, the file system can be automatically resized to use the unallocated space of the microSD card via Ubuntu MATE Welcome. But the microSDHC I/O throughput is a bottleneck so we highly recommend that you use a Class 6 or Class 10 microSDHC card. The 16.04 release is also the first to feature hardware accelerated video playback in VLC and ffmpeg.


Ubuntu MATE 16.04 running on the Raspberry Pi 3.


Changes

2016-04-24 - 16.04 Final Release for Raspbery Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3

  • Added OpemMAX IL hardware accelerated video playback to VLC.
    • To enable hardware accelerated video playback go to Tools -> Preferences -> Video and select OpenMax IL.
  • Added MMAL hardware accelerated video playback to ffmpeg.
    • To use hardware accelerated video playback with ffplay you must specify the h264_mmal codec - ffplay -vcodec h264_mmal video.mp4
  • Increased the minimum microSDHC card size to 8GB.
  • Removed tboplayer.

2016-04-05 - 16.04 Beta 2 for Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3

  • Updated to Ubuntu MATE 16.04 including the new Welcome which comes with Raspberry Pi specific features.
  • Updated BlueZ 5.37 with patches to support the Raspberry Pi 3 integrated Bluetooth.
    • Ubuntu MATE 16.04 now supports the on-board Raspberry Pi 3 Bluetooth and Wifi.
  • Updated to Linux 4.1.19.
  • Updated to raspberrypi-firmware 1.20160315-1.
  • Updated to omx-player 0.3.7~git20160206~cb91001.
  • Updated to wiringpi 2.32.
  • Updated to nuscratch 20160115.
  • Updated to sonic-pi 2.9.0.
  • Migrated configuration tweaks to raspberrypi-general-mods and raspberrypi-sys-mods.
  • Experimental hardware accelerated OpenGL can be enabled, if you know how ;-)

Known Issues

  • During first boot configuration Ubiquity does not prompt to join available WiFi networks.
  • Upon completion of the first boot setup WiFi doesn’t work, at all. Reboot and WiFi will be available.

Both these issues will be addressed in Ubuntu MATE 16.04.1 for Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 which is due in late July.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS Final Release

Thank You!

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS has not just been in development for 6 months. Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS has been in development for nearly 2 years. Since the project started in June 2014 this release, this our first official LTS, is what we’ve been working towards. This was the goal we had firmly in our sights every step of the way.

I extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to Ubuntu MATE over the last 22 months. None of this would have been possible without the countless contributions from the amazing Ubuntu MATE community. I can’t thank you all enough for what you’ve helped create. I only hope this release makes you all proud.

Martin Wimpress, Ubuntu MATE Project Leader.

Download Ubuntu MATE 16.04

Join the fun and experience a retrospective future.

Download

What changed since the Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Beta 2 release?

Here is what changed Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS Final Release since Beta 2:

  • Added ubuntu-snappy-cli to the default install.
  • Updated Ubuntu MATE Welcome to 16.04.9.
    • Updated translations and assorted bugs fixes. #1566837
    • Updated to install Telegram from a PPA maintained by Martin Wimpress that has fixes Indicator icons.
    • Updated Vivaldi to the stable release.
    • Improved partition resizing for the Raspberry Pi.
  • Update MATE Menu 5.7.1
    • Fixed the menu being offset from the panel when using Compiz. #1559371
    • Fixed configuring a custom heading colour. #1560332
    • Fixed displaying the Software Boutique as package manager if it is available. #1568170
    • Fixed drawing the menu over existing windows. #1569563
  • Updated MATE Tweak to 3.5.10
    • Fixed aggressive setting of the xcursor theme. #1563087
    • Fixed psutil.AccessDenied crash. #1562843
    • Fixed handling of “unknown” window managers. #1563037
    • Fixed ordering of notebook entries. #1564957
    • Fixed toggling of menu bar features. #1564959
    • Modified composited window managers to use a phase delayed startup. #1553070
  • Updated Caja Dropbox to 1.12.0-3
    • Fixed the missing tray icon by executing via dbus-launch to ensure. #1559249
  • Updated Blueman to 2.0.4-1ubuntu2
    • Fixed blueman-applet crashing on startup. #1533206
  • Updated Ubuntu MATE Artwork to 16.04.6
    • Assorted bug fixes and refinements 1563971 #1563971
  • Updated to Ubuntu MATE Settings 16.04.5
    • Modified composited window managers to use a phase delayed startup. #1553070
  • Updated MATE Control Center to 1.12.1.
    • Fixes configuration of all Windows focus modes. #1382992
  • Updated MATE Session Manager to 1.12.2.
    • Minor bugs fixes.
  • Prepared the Ubuntu MATE 16.04 image for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 summary of changes

If you’re interested in a general overview of what change in Ubuntu MATE 16.04, take a look at our press kit.

Press Kit

Community contributors

Here are just a few of the people who contributed to Ubuntu MATE during the 16.04 development cycle that deserve a special mention:

A very special Thank you to Luke Horwell for taking Ubuntu MATE Welcome to the next level. Ubuntu MATE Welcome and the Software Boutique have become a central part of the Ubuntu MATE experience and it is Luke we need to thank for really making them standout features. Also thanks to Robin Thompson, author of MATE Dock Applet, who did the lions share of adding a translation framework to Ubuntu MATE Welcome which is now available in 20 languages.

Thanks to Mike Gabriel the Debian Developer heading up the Debian MATE Packaging team. The vast majority of Ubuntu MATE development actually happens in Debian and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Mike for his tireless efforts.

Thanks to Joe Ressington, Isaac Carter and Albert Hickey, from The Pi Podcast, for testing Ubuntu MATE 16.04 for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3. You really helped ironout some kinks and improved the release quality for everyone.

Thank you to Alexei Sorokin and Alberts Muktupāvels for their help improving MATE integration in Compiz.

Thanks Gunnar Hjalmarsson for his help making im-config and gnome-language-selector compatible with Ubuntu MATE and Rico Tzschichholz for his help completing MATE integration for Synapse and the new version of Plank.

Thank you to the following people for creating the new wallpaper backgrounds for Ubuntu MATE 16.04:

Finally, thanks to everyone who installed the alphas and betas, reported issues, provided feedback or donated to Ubuntu MATE. Your feedback has been vital to understanding what improvements people most want to see. We do listen, so keep the feedback coming.

Canonical

In addition to the efforts of the Ubuntu MATE team and the Ubuntu MATE community, we are also extremely grateful for the help and support we’ve recieved from the following Canonical employees:

Known Issues

Here are the known issues.

Ubuntu family issues

This is our known list of bugs that affect all flavours.

  • Ubiquity does not prompt to join available WiFi networks.
  • Shutdown/Restart of the live session does not work in Virtualbox and VMWare guests.

PowerPC

  • No slides are displayed in Ubiquity Slideshow while installing Ubuntu MATE on PowerPC.
  • Running Linux on PowerPC can require some tinkering and the following are useful references.

You’ll also want to check the Ubuntu MATE bug tracker to see what has already been reported. These issues will be addressed in due course.

Feedback

Is there anything you can help with or want to be involved in? Maybe you just want to discuss your experiences or ask the maintainers some questions. Please come and talk to us.

Ubuntu MATE March 2016 supporters

Many thanks to everyone who donated to the Ubuntu MATE project this month. You have been generous as always and ensured that we can meet all the costs associated with running the Ubuntu MATE project and the community site. In fact, this month we are able to reward some developers for working on Ubuntu MATE projects.

How will these donations be spent?

These donations will be used to pay for:

  • All Ubuntu MATE hosting and server costs for March 2016.
  • All the Ubuntu MATE CDN, bandwidth and email charges for March 2016.
  • Spent £246.85 on domain renewals.
  • Donated €450 (taking into account currency variations) to 4 Open Source developers working on Ubuntu MATE and MATE Desktop projects.
  • This brings Ubuntu MATEs total donations to other Open Source projects and developers to approximately $4513.87 (taking into account currency variations).
  • We’re keeping some funds in reserve because Ubuntu MATE 16.04 for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 will be released soon and we anticipate a spike in bandwidth costs.

Although Ubuntu MATE 15.04 onward is an official member of the Ubuntu family, and new Ubuntu MATE releases are now distributed via the Canonical mirror network, we are serving ~2000 downloads per day for Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 and another ~170 downloads per day for Ubuntu MATE 14.04.

Thank you!

Supporting Open Source

Ubuntu MATE is comprised of many Open Source projects, we recognise that. Each month that Ubuntu MATE has a surplus of funds we will make a contribution to an Open Source project or developer that Ubuntu MATE directly benefits from.

For March 2016 Ubuntu MATE have donated to several Open Source developers who’ve worked on Ubuntu MATE or MATE Desktop projects.

  • Developer for (Ubuntu MATE) - £100 for working on Ubuntu MATE Welcome.
  • Developer for (Fedora) - €100 for porting MATE Desktop to GTK3 and preparing MATE 1.14 for release.
  • Developer for (Linux Mint) - €100 for porting MATE Desktop to GTK3 and preparing MATE 1.14 for release.
  • Developer for (Ubuntu MATE) - £100 for adding a translation framework to Ubuntu MATE Welcome and working on MATE Dock applet.

Thank you to everyone who has donated, you are really making a difference to the development of Ubuntu MATE and the MATE Desktop.

Please Donate

We have setup a number of payment options that should hopefully suit everyone. If you haven’t already, be brilliant, help grow our community.

Grow your community

Become a full Ubuntu MATE community member by helping to grow and sustain it. Warm and fuzzy sensations guaranteed.

Donate

Patrons

Many thanks to the Ubuntu MATE patrons who collectively donated $749.5 this month.

Monthly supporter

Become a monthly supporter at Patreon. Patrons get exclusive project updates, invites to live video conferences with the Ubuntu MATE developers and discounts on some Ubuntu MATE merchandise.

Become a Patron
  • A total of $2562.11 was donated via PayPal, which after processing fees amounted to $2324.95, of which $1827.43 was received as Download Tips.
  • A total of €256.62 was donated via PayPal, which after processing fees amounted to €237.35.
  • A total of £137.64 was donated via PayPal, which after processing fees amounted to £130.13.
  • A total of 0.066160139 BTC was donated.