During the Ubuntu MATE 14.10 development cycle the main objective was to produce an Ubuntu distribution with a pure MATE desktop experience, that (mostly) worked and anyone could use. I think we just about delivered on that and even excelled in some areas, particularly what the artwork team produced.
But this was our first attempt at putting a desktop operating system together. Other Ubuntu flavours have had many years head start and therefore been able to refine what they offer, we need to play catch up.
This page outlines some of the activities the Ubuntu MATE team will research, and possibly implement, in future development cycles to improve and refine our operating system.
I am reliably informed that everything is a user experience these days. User interfaces are, apparently, passé.
The MATE desktop offers a traditional desktop metaphor but it is also extremely customisable. When combined with some 3rd party applications Ubuntu MATE can be augmented to provide an “experience” similar to what other contemporary desktop environments offer while retaining its classic desktop paradigm.
Launchers and Docks
We will evaluate 3rd party launchers, such as Slingscold, Synapse, The Duck Launcher and 3rd party docks, such as Plank, to see how they can be integrated with Ubuntu MATE to make user interaction with the desktop more efficient.
Launchers and docks are not to everyone’s tastes so we will conduct community polls (just as we have done in the past) to determine if the selected 3rd party tools should be integrated as defaults or optional extras.
There are some hardcore Compiz addicts in the MATE community. That said Compiz will never be enabled by default in Ubuntu MATE, but we do want to cater for those people who want it. Compiz does include some features that are of real benefit, such as the Enhanced Zoom plug-in which is useful for individuals with low vision.
The Ubuntu MATE team will create a simple way for Compiz to be installed and enabled for those users who want it.
- Implemented since Ubuntu MATE 15.04
Ubuntu MATE Tweak
There are a plethora of options behind MATE that are not yet exposed via control centre applets. The Ubuntu MATE team have already provided a simple tool to tweak your MATE configuration called MATE Tweak and over time that tool be be enhanced and improved.
A number of different panel layouts are already available in Ubuntu MATE. Panel layouts that offer a pure MATE desktop will continue to be made available and others added that may also rely on 3rd party launchers, docks or even Compiz. We will provide a tool to switch between these different desktop layouts that also enables/disables the appropriate launchers and docks where required.
- Implemented since Ubuntu MATE 15.04 via MATE Tweak
The artwork team have only just got warmed up. We can’t wait to see where they are going to take Ubuntu MATE in the future.
Making an accessible operating system was a key priority when the Ubuntu MATE founders initially set out the goals of the project.
Ubuntu MATE is never going to be able to offer the comprehensive integration of assistive technologies that Sonar GNU/Linux provides. But we will continue to follow their lead so that Ubuntu MATE is a viable desktop solution where computer access is shared within a household or business where individual needs differ.
Complex input methods
We’ve received feedback that complex input method support in Ubuntu MATE could be better.
MATE does have support for complex input methods right now, but having spoken to some users in China and Japan, we now better understand their requirements. To that end we’ve documented how to install and enable IBus and fcitx on the download page. That was just the first step in ensuring everyone is catered for and in the future we will integrate either IBus or fcitx into Ubuntu MATE to address this short coming.
- Implemented since Ubuntu MATE 15.10
Translation of Ubuntu and MATE desktop is handled upstream thanks to the tireless efforts of many translators, therefore the Ubuntu MATE operating system is available in many languages. However, this website is currently available in English only and we will work with the community to make it available other languages too.
Doing more, finding more.
Installing Ubuntu MATE is just the beginning. By making applications and content easily discoverable we hope that it will promote greater community engagement and broaden our awareness of the free culture movement and the quality of the content the free culture community produces.
Application web install
Users new to Linux are often overwhelmed by the vast choice of software on offer. The Ubuntu MATE team will create a curated selection of applications suitable for use with Ubuntu MATE that can be installed via one click from our website.
The Ubuntu MATE community will select one application (at most two) that is more suitable for a given task or activity so that new users can quickly turn their Ubuntu MATE workstation into a productive tool.
- Implemented since Ubuntu MATE 15.10 via Ubuntu MATE Welcome
The free culture movement is a hot bed of creativity and produces some amazing content that is free of DRM and other usage restrictions. The Ubuntu MATE website will add a content discovery mini site that will help the Ubuntu MATE community to discover the best in free music, books, TV, comics, art, podcasts that the world has to offer.
Media casting and streaming
Seamless integration with home media server content and media casting devices is essential in order for Ubuntu MATE to remain relevant for many home users. We will try to deliver on that.
Similarly being able to access popular subscription-based streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Spotify is also an expectation for many users. While the Ubuntu MATE team can do little to deliver the technologies to make this happen, we can provide simple installation options to enable access to these services, and where possible, ship the required software by default.
- Implemented since Ubuntu MATE 15.10 by using Ubuntu MATE Welcome to install Google Chrome, Spotify or Pithos
Mobile device integration
Currently Ubuntu MATE has the essential mobile device support you’d expect. You can plug in a phone or a media player and the device is automatically detected and mounted, you can then access the files on it.
- Implemented since Ubuntu MATE 15.10
But we’d like to go futher by providing a way for mobile device notifications to be wirelessly mirrored to your Ubuntu MATE desktop and for you to be able to send files or links wirelessly between your mobile devices and Ubuntu MATE.