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Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS was released today and it includes some interesting changes, like a complete overhaul of the MATE Welcome user interface, a new panel layout option in Ubuntu MATE Tweak, which mimics Unity with a dock-like panel and global menu setup, and more.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS video

Below you can watch a quick video which shows some of the new features / changes in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to the WebUpd8 YouTube channel)

Changes in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

Ubuntu MATE, the Ubuntu flavor that became official with its 15.04 release, uses MATE, a GNOME 2 fork that lets you use the old GNOME 2 desktop interface, with support for both old (like the old Gedit 2 which was forked as Pluma, or Nautilus 2, which was forked as Caja) and new (header bar) applications.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 ships with MATE 1.12, which includes changes such as:
  • fixes and improvements for GTK3 support across the entire MATE Desktop including GTK 3.18 support;
  • significantly improved touchpad support, which now supports natural scrolling, 2 finger and 3 finger clicks;
  • improved multi monitor support;
  • the power applet now displays model and vendor information;
  • improved session management which now includes screensaver inhibition while playing media;
  • extended systemd support.

Those are just the changes in MATE desktop. Ubuntu MATE 16.04 ships with quite a few other improvements. For instance, Synapse, a popular quick application launcher, is now installed by default but it's not active (it can be enabled using MATE Tweak, under Interface > Enable launcher):

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Another new default package is MATE Dock Applet, a configurable MATE Panel applet that can display open windows as icons:

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

TopMenu Applet, the applet that can be used to add a global menu on the MATE panel, is now installed by default. It's not used by default though so if you want to use it, right click the panel, select "Add to panel" and add "TopMenu" or use the new Mutiny panel layout from MATE Tweak:

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

This global menu implementation supports GTK2 and GTK3 applications only (it doesn't work with Qt applications, among others).

Probably the most important applications user experience-wise in this Ubuntu flavor, MATE Welcome and Ubuntu MATE Tweak have received significant improvements.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

MATE Welcome:
  • complete overhaul of the user interface, with applications separated in a "Software Boutique" section. It includes a expandable/collapsible "More Details" section for each application, which provides screenshots, source (repository), website, platform and license information;
  • added System Specifications page;
  • added detection of graphics card (including VirtualBox) including one-click enablement of the graphics-drivers PPA if Nvidia is detected;
  • added one-click enablement of the LibreOffice Fresh PPA to continually track stable LibreOffice releases;
  • added multiple new applications, including Kodi, Nuvola Player, Pinta, Vivaldi, SparkleShare, GNOME Software, OBS Studio and many others.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Xenial Xerus screenshots

Ubuntu MATE Tweak:
  • added keyboard led indicator option;
  • added launcher (Synapse) option;
  • added capability to enable/disable animations;
  • added support for Compton hardware compositing for Marco and Metacity;
  • added Mutiny panel layout which includes Mate Dock Applet and TopMenu Applet.

Other changes in Ubuntu MATE 16.04:
  • improved client-side decoration app theming, with resize area and shadows, minimal style for CSD windows running without a compositor, etc.
  • Plank dock was updated to version 0.11 which adds docklets, option (available via Dconf Editor / gsettings) to use multiple docks, and there's also a new Plank theme for Ubuntu MATE;
  • MATE Desktop CPU resource requirements have been reduced across the board;
  • Google Chrome and Chromium windows are now considered Compiz windows in fullscreen to avoid tearing;
  • much more.

Under the hood, Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS ships with Mesa 11.2.0, Xorg server 1.18.3 and the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 4.4.0-18.34, based on the upstream 4.4.6 Linux Kernel.

Also see: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Available For Download, See What`s New

Download Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus)

Also see the official release announcement.

You can now use Ubuntu MATE on Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. For more information and download links, see THIS page.