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Unity 7 user? Join our Mutiny!

  • Slick Greeter? - Check!
  • Global Menus? - Check!
  • Heads-up Display (HUD)? - Check!
  • Super key to active menu launchers? - Check!
  • Functional alternative to Unity 7 for those that want it and a traditional desktop for those that don’t? - Check!
  • Read on to find out more…

We mean it, keep reading! Don’t just go hunting for the download button and skip over our most glorious release notes.

#systemau may be gone but they’re not forgotten. Ubuntu MATE will continue with our unusual, sometimes witty, opening statements in our release notes in the hope that it inspires release note authors everywhere to drop the usual dull offerings in favour of something more interesting!

We are preparing Ubuntu MATE 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) for distribution on October 19th, 2017 With this Beta pre-release, you can see what we are trying out in preparation for our next (stable) version.

Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Beta 1

What works?

People tell us that Ubuntu MATE is stable. You may, or may not, agree.

Ubuntu MATE Beta Releases are NOT recommended for:

  • Regular users who are not aware of pre-release issues
  • Anyone who needs a stable system
  • Anyone uncomfortable running a possibly frequently broken system
  • Anyone in a production environment with data or workflows that need to be reliable

Ubuntu MATE Beta Releases are recommended for:

  • Regular users who want to help us test by finding, reporting, and/or fixing bugs
  • Ubuntu MATE, MATE, and GTK+ developers

What changed since the Ubuntu MATE 17.04 final release?

We’ve really been burning the midnight oil for the last four months. This is what has been updated or added.

Panel Layouts

We surveyed our community about potentially changing the default UI. The feedback was mixed when factoring in the results from Twitter, Google+ and Straw Poll.

But it was the comments from our users that were most compelling. We decided to leave the default alone, a personally difficult decision, and turned our attention to rationalising the panel layouts and thoughtfully reconfiguring them. Each panel layout is distinctive and now provides a different desktop workflow:

  • Mutiny mimics the Unity 7 interface
  • Cupertino provides something similar to macOS
  • Redmond will be familiar to Windows users
  • Pantheon a hybrid for long time desktop Linux users who want some modern conveniences
  • Contemporary a blend of the best of the old and the sprinkle of the new
  • Netbook people still use them and this layout is for them
  • Traditional just like your Dad remembers it, and still the default

Here are a few screenshots to give you a feel for how things look.

Global Menu support is now much improved, even compared to 17.10 Alpha 2, and available via the Contemporary, Cupertino and Mutiny layouts which can be activated via MATE Tweak. Fully functional with GTK, Qt, LibreOffice, Firefox/Thunderbird, Google Chrome, Electron and others. You can now make more of your available screen space while using Ubuntu MATE.

Global Menu

NEW in 17.10 Beta 1 - Thanks to the excellent testing feedback we’ve had since 17.10 Alpha 2 we’ve made the Global Menu far more reliable and now operate correctly regardless of whether the application was launched from the terminal, menu or launcher.

Super key

Super Key

Complete Super key support is available from several of the panel layouts. We’re thrilled to welcome Victor Kareh to the team who has been busy patching MATE Settings Daemon, MATE Menu, Brisk Menu and MATE Dock Applet to make the Super key work the way you’d all expect. This means Super can be used to activate the menus/launchers and any other key-bindings that include the Super key also continue to function correctly.

MATE Dock Applet, used in the Mutiny layout, also includes launching or switching to docked items based on their position using in the dock using Super + 1, Super + 2 which will be familiar to Unity 7 users. Super + L is also recognised as a screen lock key-binding along with the usual Ctrl + Alt + L that MATE Desktop users expect.

Heads-Up Display

This is something we started during Ubuntu MATE 16.10 and never perfected, but is now ready for prime time. A favourite of Unity 7 users is the Heads-Up Display (HUD) which provides a way to search for and run menu-bar commands without your fingers ever leaving the keyboard.

So if you’re trying to find that single filter in Gimp but can’t remember which filter category it fits into or if you can’t recall if preferences sits under File, Edit or Tools on your favourite browser, you can just search for it rather than hunting through the menus.

Just like Global Menus the HUD is currently only available via the Contemporary, Cupertino and Mutiny.

HUD improvements since 17.10 Alpha 2

We’ve improved the HUD significantly since Alpha 2 thank to all the great testing feedback.

  • NEW in 17.10 Beta 1 - The HUD is now activated by just pressing Alt, as you would expect in Unity 7.
  • The HUD is now reliably activated. In Alpha 2 is only responded to about one third of requests.
  • NEW in 17.10 Beta 1 - The HUD is now locally integrated, so that it overlays on top of the activate application.

The Locally integrated Heads-Up Display (HUD)

Locally integrated rationale

The purpose of the HUD is to keep your fingers on the keyboard and improve the efficiency in driving the menus for keyboard centric users. We’ve locally integrated the HUD for similar reasons, if you’re looking at an application why move the HUD to the top of screen away from where your eyes are already focused. Keeping the HUD within the context of the active application eliminates refocusing your attention to a different part of the screen, particularly helpful for users with high resolution or multi-display workstations.


We’ve been improving Indicator support from release to release for some time now. But with in Ubuntu MATE 17.10 many of the panel layouts offer a complete line up of Indicators, all of which are fully compatible with MATE. The default Indicators are:

  • Optimus (only available if you have nvidia prime capable hardware and drivers)
  • Bluetooth
  • Network
  • Power
  • Messages
  • Sound
  • Session


MATE Tweak

MATE Tweak is your gateway to activating different user interface layouts and exploring the contrasting ways you can run Ubuntu MATE. MATE Tweak has been given a coat of fresh paint and adds a couple of much requested features.

  • Saving your own custom panel layout using a name of your choosing.
  • Prompts before executing operations that could wipe your custom, but unsaved, tweaks.
  • NEW in 17.10 Beta 1 - You can also delete previously saved custom panel layouts.

MATE Tweak, more than just a tweak tool.

When activating the Compton compositor you should now experience an entirely tear free experience that is optimised for gaming. Thanks to Perdro Mateus from Linux Game Cast podcast for his help test the various GPU, IGP and driver combinations. #LGCCares

While we were tuning compositors we gave some love to Compiz, which now uses less RAM and fixes a number of niggles.

Community Wallpaper

The Ubuntu MATE community participated in a wallpaper competition and have already voted for their favourite. Congratulations to Richard van Liessum for creating the winning entry! You have to install Ubuntu MATE 17.10 to see the full line up of new artwork though ;-)

Slick Greeter

NEW in 17.10 Beta 1 - We’ve switched to Slick Greeter which still uses LightDM under the hood but has a much nicer look and feel.

Slick Greeter

The bit no one reads but probably should

  • Ubuntu MATE Welcome 17.10.11 has been stocked with even more new applications for you to discover and
    • The all new Software Boutique is not ready yet, so this is the Boutique you know and love. Just better stocked.
  • The Ubuntu MATE themes have been improved via the release of ubuntu-mate-artwork 17.10.9
    • Several improvements Plymouth splash screens, both text and graphical varieties.
    • Add missing panel-grid to Radiant-MATE.
    • Improve linked button styling for message dialogs.
    • Add syntax for panel-grid image to support MATE 1.20.
    • Improve clock-applet-button so it is consistent with other buttons.
    • Add top border-radius for .titlebar > headerbar - workaround for incorrect upstream use of the GTK API
    • Improved notebook (tab) styling.
    • Updated GtkSourceView themes (used by text editors).
    • Add bold style classes for Global Menu.
    • Fix color of grey-out arrows in menus.
    • Fix padding of primary/secondary image in GtkEntry.
    • Improve menu items by adding slightly more padding.
    • Add a minimal padding to na-tray-applets.
    • Add the Ubuntu MATE logo as the distributor-logo.
    • Fix incorrect CSS syntax for Caja.
    • Fix world-map border color in clock-applet.
    • Fix GtkScale slider mouse-selection if slider is out of range.
    • Fix height of headerbar for metacity-theme-viewer - workaround for incorrect upstream use of the GTK API
    • Fix border color of scrollbars.
    • Remove obsolete chrom{e ium} styling.
    • Remove unwanted backdrop states.
  • Many of the Ubuntu MATE defaults have been changed or updated
    • Replaced lightdm-gtk-greeter with slick-greeter.
    • Added keybindings for Shift + Print Screen to grab a screen area when taking a screenshot.
    • Added defaults for Chromium, which will show the Ubuntu MATE Start page, should you install it.
    • Added sane defaults and tookit integration for smplayer, should you install it.
  • New Ubiquity Slide Show
    • Completely redesigned to introduce users to more of the features unique to Ubuntu MATE.
    • Added Ubuntu MATE logo to Ubiquity.
  • Dropped caja-gksu and migrated gdebi to PolicyKit - Thanks Simon Quigley
    • gksu is being removed from Debian so we are aligning with that objective by removing gksu from Ubuntu MATE.
    • caja-admin will eventually replace caja-gksu.
  • Since the Ubuntu MATE 17.10 Alpha 2 release we’ve fixed lots of bugs and MATE Desktop 1.18 has seen many updates. Nothing new, just more stability.
    • atril 1.18.1-0ubuntu1
    • caja 1.18.4-0ubuntu1
    • marco 1.18.1-2
    • mate-notification-daemon 1.18.0-2
    • mate-power-manager 1.18.0-2ubuntu1
    • mate-session-manager 1.18.1-2ubuntu2
      • Some long standing bugs with systemd integration and DBus session activation have been fixed.
    • mate-tweak 17.10.15-0ubuntu1
    • ubuntu-mate-settings 17.10.23
  • Patched unity-gtk-module to fix ghosting artefacts when dragging and dropping icons.
  • Caja now includes the GtkHash extension
  • Experimental HiDPI support is a little less experimental.
    • It’s true, and that massive indicators image above is no accident ;-)
  • …and a whole lot of other little improvements and fixes.

Download Ubuntu MATE 17.10

We’ve even redesigned the download page so it’s even easier to get started.


Known Issues

Here are the known issues.

Ubuntu MATE

  • Nothing critical.

Ubuntu family issues

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

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.


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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