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.

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