Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is out - we all know that. Ubuntu remains to be the most polished and out-of-the box most user friendly Linux distribution out there. Free with 5 years of support, so you can't beat the price either. Go grab your copy at Ubuntu.com.
Readers of this site also know that desktop Linux computing is in a state of boredomness. This has not changed during the last couple of years, meaning that the 16.04 is an extremely boring release. In practice it means that you get the same user experience you had with 14.04 (and 12.04 for the most parts), but with updated kernel and drivers for improved hardware support and some back-end enhancements. So no need to cover that part either.
Meet Ubuntu MATE 16.04
Since there is nothing to report with the main edition, I decided to highlight one of the lesser known official variants on Ubuntu, featuring the MATE desktop.
So the MATE is virtually identical to the old Gnome 2 desktop. It is an excellent choice if you want a classic (Linux) desktop interface or your hardware is slightly out of date. It is light on resources and snappy. Similar to XFCE, but perhaps providing a bit more features.
For my sofa laptop (old Thinkpad X301) I decided to end my Manjaro adventures (great distro!) for now and give the new Ubuntu a spin in the MATE flavour. It turns out that Ubuntu MATE 16,04 is fantastic and I love the exceptionally sane selection of default software.
- Libre Office for productivity.
- Pidgin for instant messaging.
- VLC for media playback!
- Firefox browser (get Chrome immediately after installation)
- Plank dock is included by default, if you like OSX style task bar.
TLP is included for power savings.
This is a 99% BS free out of the box experience, with just about ideal software selection for basic user needs. You are using it in no time, instead of fine tuning it. The default theme is dark, which suits me as I use this for sofa surfing in the late evenings.
Seriously, this is a very good default configuration and kudos to the Ubuntu MATE team! As it is a variant of Ubuntu, it comes only with 3 years of support, which is plenty to carry over to the 18.04 release. Seriously, check this out if your PC is not high end or you prefer a classic desktop experience.
Visit Ubuntu-MATE.org for more information and downloads.