New Ubuntu MATE Team Members

Please join me in welcoming Goce Mitevski, Ivan Pejić and Jack Mohegan to the Ubuntu MATE team! They have all graciously accepted positions on the Ubuntu MATE Artwork and Design team.

Goce, Ivan and Jack have been hard at work creating themes and artwork for Ubuntu MATE Beta1. Between them they have created a great selection of Ubuntu MATE wallpapers (both for desktop and LightDM), SYSLINUX theme, Plymouth themes and Ubiquity slides are currently in the final stages of preparation.

We’ve added a screen shot slideshow to the home page so you can see how Ubuntu MATE Beta1 is shaping up.

Thanks for your hard work and commitment guys, Ubuntu MATE Beta1 is looking really great for it’s August 28th release.

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

Virtualbox?

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.

References

Progressing towards Ubuntu MATE Beta1

A few days ago I was asked what is the current status of Ubuntu MATE, what is outstanding and what help do we require via our Ubuntu MATE Google+ community. I thought it best to reply here to reach a wide audience.

Ubuntu MATE as an official Ubuntu flavor

Towards the end of July the Ubuntu MATE team contacted the Ubuntu Technical Board to request official flavor status.

The Ubuntu MATE team made an Ubuntu 14.04 PPA for MATE 1.8.1 as a result of our initial communication with the Ubuntu Technical Board.

popey attended an Ubuntu Technical Board meeting in early August to find out what our next steps should be. During this meeting it was established that the Ubuntu Technical Board are supportive of Ubuntu MATE and the Ubuntu MATE team needs to complete some formalities before we can progress our request. The Ubuntu MATE team will complete the outstanding actions requested by the Ubuntu Technical Board in the coming days and I am confident Ubuntu MATE will achieve official status in due course.

Ubuntu MATE Beta1 progress

Ubuntu MATE Beta1 is progressing nicely and is mainly focused on tweaking the themes and adding Ubuntu MATE specific artwork. The Ubuntu MATE community have been brilliant in this regard and contributed Ubuntu MATE wallpapers, LightDM theme, Plymouth theme and new desktop themes. A SYSLINUX theme is currently in the works.

Some general improvements have also been made during the Beta1 cycle, such as desktop policy privilege fixes, meta package improvements and aligning the core packages with the other Ubuntu flavors.

I needed a few evenings break from for Ubuntu MATE, so I gave the bot in the Ubuntu MATE IRC channel a personality and modified the Ubuntu MATE webserver to only deliver content over HTTPS using HSTS, PFS (perfect forward secrecy) and SPDY.

Consequently the Ubuntu MATE website has an A+ rating from SSL Labs and we are doing our bit to Reset the Net.

Assistance required?

These are the areas where we could use some help.

Bugs

There are a couple of bugs, not show stoppers, that we could you some help with.

Plymouth

We’ve got a lovely Ubuntu MATE Plymouth theme but due to a recent plymouth update no Plymouth themes are displayed at boot. This is an upstream Ubuntu bug. If you have a Launchpad account please visit the bug reports below, mark them as affecting you and provide any additional information to assist in their resolution.

Minimizing Chrome or Chromium

Do you have an nVidia graphics card and dual screens? If so, could you please install Ubuntu MATE, install the proprietary nVidia driver, install Chrome or Chromium and see if you can reproduce the issue reported below.

If you can, please add as much information to the bug report as possible because right now we not sure if this is a MATE, Chrom(e|ium) or nVidia issue.

Ubiquity slides

When you install Ubuntu, or one of the flavours, a series of slides are shown during the installation. We need some Ubuntu MATE specific slides creating because we are currently using the official Ubuntu slides. If this is something you could help with, then please let us know.

Folder icons

Ubuntu MATE will come with two new themes, Ambiant-MATE (derived from Ambiance) and Radiant-MATE (derived from Radiance). I am considering replacing the folder icons in these new themes with ones that use MATE green (#87A752) as the base colour for the folders. I have reached out to the RAVEfinity project and they are willing to help the Ubuntu MATE team. I would like to off-load the task of collaborating with RAVEfinity to someone in the Ubuntu MATE community. If you are interested, then please let us know.

Test and report issues

This is where you can really make a difference to the quality of the Ubuntu MATE final release. We need people actually using Ubuntu MATE in order to uncover potential problems so we can fix them before the final release.

Please install Ubuntu MATE, either in a Virtual Machine (VM) or on real hardware and use it as much as possible. If you spot any issues please report them on the Ubuntu MATE bug tracker.

Artwork Team

We’d like to establish an Ubuntu MATE artwork team who can drive the artwork and design efforts. There are clearly several members of the Ubuntu MATE community who are already interested in this area. If you would like to join them then please let us know so we can formalise the team structure.

No show stoppers

At this point in the Beta1 cycle there are no show stoppers and we continue to get daily reports from new users saying how impressed they are with the stability of Ubuntu MATE, even at this early stage.

As of right now, we are on track for an August 28th release of Ubuntu MATE Beta1.

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 Alpha2

We are delighted to announce the release of Ubuntu MATE Alpha2.

Ubuntu MATE Alpha2 Download

Join the fun and experience a retrospective future.

Download

What works?

Most things, more than in Alpha1 at least.

The .iso image should boot (from DVD or USB), the Live session should work, the installer should work and the installed system should also work. Notice the heavy use of “should“, YMMV.

What changed since Alpha1?

  • Added support for booting UEFI computers. LP #1337604
  • Added “out of the box” accessibility for blind or visually impaired individuals. LP #1337824
  • Added language-selector-gnome as per community request.
  • Added ubuntu-mate-settings package to provide sane defaults.
  • Added an Ubuntu-like panel layout.
  • Added Ambiance and Radiance themes to Pluma.
  • Added Rhythmbox and Totem plugins.
  • Added Release Notes to Ubquity.
  • Added support for Marco to Ubiquity. MERGE #226114
  • Fixed Network Manager applet.
  • Fixed inconsistent theme in live session installer.
  • Fixed default icons in LibreOffice.
  • Created custom livecd-rootfs package that tracks upstream.
  • Improved the seeds and meta packages.
  • Improved Ambiance and Radiance themes.
  • Improved mono-icons to better integrate with MATE. LP #1337577
  • Improved font rendering.
  • Removed remmina as per community Remmina poll.
  • Removed caja-image-converter.
  • Removed caja-share. LP #1342206.
  • Removed mate-user-share.

Known Issues

Ubuntu MATE 14.10 is currently an alpha distribution and we are aware of the following issues:

  • Upgrading from Ubuntu MATE Alpha1 using apt-get is not supported.
    • We Recommend that you install a clean Alpha2.
  • Most Shotwell online publishing plugins do not work. LP #1314904
    • This can be resolved by installing unity-control-center-signon but doing so installs a number of Unity packages which add duplicate functionality to the MATE Control Centre.

Reporting issues

If you spot any other issues please report them on the project’s bug tracker.

Testing

Ubuntu MATE is in alpha and therefore we need people installing and using Ubuntu MATE and reporting any issues you may find on the project’s bug tracker.

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.

MATE. Say it!

OK pod casters enough!

Let’s stop with the “mait” and the “matey”. It is pronounced “mah-tay” and if you can’t start saying it right then we’ll send Jean Claude van Damme round to give you some elocution lessons ;-)

Thanks to Michael Tunnell for originally sharing this joke with the MATE developers a few months back.