Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Press Kit

With Ubuntu MATE 16.04 due for release on April 21st 2016 this page will help you better understand what Ubuntu MATE is and how it’s been improved since the 15.10 release.

Achievement Unlocked!

Ubuntu MATE is an official member of the Ubuntu family and this 16.04 release is our first official LTS!

Ubuntu MATE


Ubuntu MATE is a community developed Ubuntu based operating system that beautifully integrates the MATE Desktop and offers a stable, easy-to-use operating system with a configurable desktop environment. Ideal for those who want the most out of their computers and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor. With modest hardware requirements it is suitable for modern desktops, laptops, single board computers and older hardware alike. Ubuntu MATE makes new computers fast and older computers usable.


Ubuntu MATE has a number of guiding objectives and goals.

  • Accessible to all, regardless of language and physical ability.
  • Increase both Ubuntu and MATE Desktop user adoption.
  • Ubuntu alternative for computers that aren’t powerful enough to run a composited desktop.
  • First choice Ubuntu platform for remote workstation solutions such as X2Go.
  • Recreate the halcyon days of Ubuntu for users who prefer a traditional desktop metaphor.
  • Use themes and artwork similar to Ubuntu so that Ubuntu MATE is immediately familiar.
  • When possible contribute to Debian so both the Debian and Ubuntu communities benefit.
  • Software selection will favour functionality and stability over lightness and whimsy.

New in Ubuntu MATE 16.04

Here is a run down of the headline features in Ubuntu MATE 16.04:

  • MATE Desktop 1.12.1
    • Touchpad support is significantly improved and now features multi touch and natural scrolling.
    • Multi monitor support has been improved so the display settings use output names and the revised UI lets you set the primary monitor.
    • The power applet now displays model and vendor information so you can distinguish between multiple battery powered devices.
    • Improved session management which now includes screensaver inhibition while playing media.
    • Extended systemd support.
    • Long standing bugs and many little usability paper-cuts were fixed.
    • Consistent categorisation of the Control Center and System menus.
    • See the MATE Desktop 1.12 release announcement for more details.
    • CPU resource requirements have been reduced across the board.
  • Complete overhaul of Ubuntu MATE Welcome
    • Incorporates Ubuntu MATE Software Boutique with one-click installs for nearly 150 best in class Linux desktop applications.
    • One-click install for popular applications that are not in the official Ubuntu archive, such as Google Chrome, InSync, Minecraft, Opera, Spotify, Steam, Skype, Syncthing, Telegram, TorBrowser and Vivaldi via the Software Boutique.
    • Pre-installation documentation and assistant.
    • System Information and Diagnostics.
    • Post-install setup and configuration assistant.
    • Added one-click enablement of the LibreOffice Fresh PPA to continually track stable LibreOffice releases.
    • One-click install of Drivers, Firmware and Codecs.
    • Includes Raspberry Pi specific documentation and features.
    • Translated in 20 languages.
  • Cross tooklit integration and theming
    • QT applications will inherit GTK theming.
    • Client Side Decorated and Header Bar applications render correctly in all supported window managers, even without compositing enabled in all shipped themes.
    • The default Ubuntu MATE themes have been refined to minimise differences between GTK3 and GTK2.
    • Deeper Compiz integration, gtk-window-manager now sources settings directly from MATE when Compiz is running in a MATE session.
  • Supports Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3
    • Including the Raspberry Pi 3 integrated Bluetooth and WiFi. Also includes Raspberry Pi accelerated versions of VLC, ffmpeg and Kodi.
    • Option to enable experimental hardware accelerated OpenGL rendering.
  • MATE Tweak capabilities have been extended.
    • Option to enable Keyboard LED to show a Caps Lock and Num Lock status indicator for modern laptops and wireless keyboards that no longer have built-in status LEDs.
    • Added Compton GPU accelerated compositing, as an alternative to Compiz, for those seeking tear free video playback.
    • Displays a confirmation after changing the compositor to either Compton or Compiz.
  • Added MATE Dock Applet developed by Robin Thompson.
    • A configurable dock applet that can be placed on any panel, in any orientation.
  • Added Topmenu Applet developed by Javier S. Pedro
    • A GTK+ module that allows placing a global menu in MATE panel applets.
    • The Ubuntu MATE team also added lxpanel-plugin-topmenu and xfce4-topmenu-plugin to the Debian and Ubuntu archives so those desktops can benefit too.
  • Added Mutiny panel layout which showcases mate-dock-applet and topmenu-gtk.
    • The traditional GNOME2 style two panel layout is, and will continue to be, the default.
    • The Mutiny layout is a Unity-like interface, designed to showcase MATE Dock Applet and Topmenu Applet.
  • Added Synapse which also includes complete MATE integration.
    • Synapse is a graphical launcher enabling you to start applications and also to quickly find and access relevant documents and files (by making use of the Zeitgeist engine).
    • The Synapse Launcher can be enabled via MATE Tweak.
  • Updated to Plank 0.11 and includes a new theme for Ubuntu MATE contributed by Holger Rueckershaeuser.
  • DVD and BluRay libraries are pre-installed
    • This doesn’t mean encrypted DVD and BluRay will play out-of-the-box, but they can be fully enabled via Ubuntu MATE Welcome.
  • Vastly expanded language support, the full rationale on how we choose the languages and what we install is available from https://launchpad.net/bugs/1520278.
    • Including this wider language support has added ~400MB to the size of the .iso images.
  • Improved support for braille displays and a new indicator for changing accessibility profiles in Ubiquity.
  • Added an assortment of new community contributed background wallpapers, more consistent icons and icon rendering in menus is optimised.
  • …and many other minor improvements and hundreds of bug fixes.

You can access the complete Ubuntu MATE 16.04 release notes from the URLs below:


Here are a few screenshots of Ubuntu MATE to give you a feel for how it looks. You can access full resolution screenshot images from the gallery.


Ubuntu MATE has a hardware partnership with Entroware, who offer a selection of laptops and desktops that can be purchased pre-installed with Ubuntu MATE.


Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 is also available for the Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3.

We are also delighted to provide a ready-to-run image for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 that includes experimental OpenGL hardware acceleration and full support for the integrated Raspberry Pi 3 Bluetooth and Wifi. You can grab the download and find out more from the Ubuntu MATE Raspberry Pi page.

Since the introduction of Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 is downloaded more than all the other supported architectures combined! We’ve also created an Ubuntu MATE generic root file system and example build scripts for OEMs and ARM hackers who’d like bring Ubuntu MATE to their ARMv7 devices.


The Ubuntu MATE project was founded in June 2014 and the website has had over 3.2 million unique visitors resulting in 12.1 million page views since its inception.

  • Ubuntu MATE has been downloaded ~2 million times times and the Raspberry Pi 2 image has been downloaded ~700,000 times since its introduction in April 2015.
    • These are conversative numbers based on downloads initiated via the Ubuntu MATE website. We can’t track downloads initiated via the Ubuntu mirror network or via Torrent trackers and magnets.
  • Current monthly downloads are ~70,000 for the Raspberry Pi images and ~60,000 for all other architectures.
  • ~5,000 members of Ubuntu MATE on Google+
  • ~5,000 members of Ubuntu MATE on Facebook
  • ~2,200 followers of Ubuntu MATE on Twitter
  • ~150 Patrons and ~4500 donations via PayPal.

Ubuntu MATE is made by these fine people.


Ubuntu MATE is proud of the community that has grown around the project. The Ubuntu MATE community fully funds the hosting and bandwidth costs of the project, including our dedicated community site.

Supporting Open Source

The donations contributed by the community started to generate a surplus which we use to support other Open Source projects and developers. Ubuntu MATE has donated $4513.87 to other Open Source projects and developers (taking currency variations into account), the folowing projects have benefitted:

Summary of donations

We post an overview of how the donations were used each month.