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Ubuntu MATE 24.04 LTS is More Ubuntu Now

Ubuntu MATE 24.04 LTS may not be an exciting release. But, it's here!

Over the past few hours, we've seen a number of Ubuntu flavor LTS releases with varying degrees of improvements, features, and bug fixes. But one flavor in particular caught my attention: Ubuntu MATE.

You see, its development has been slowing down since the past few releases. I know that there have been some difficulties that the lead developer, Martin Wimpress, has had to go through.

But, the recent Ubuntu MATE 24.04 LTS release also follows a similar approach to its previous 23.10 release, where we see a few modest upgrades.

Ubuntu MATE 24.04 LTS: What's Going On?

a screenshot of ubuntu mate 24.04 lts installer and neofetch output

Like most recent LTS flavor releases, Ubuntu MATE 24.04 LTS also features the reliable Linux kernel 6.8, which brings about improved hardware support and an experimental Intel DRM driver for Intel Lunar Lake GPUs.

For the desktop environment, we now have MATE Desktop 1.26.2 (released in September 2023), which offers some important bug fixes and a few improvements here and there.

Starting with this release, Ubuntu MATE has switched to Ubuntu's Flutter-based installer (Snap), uses GNOME Firmware instead of Firmware Updater, and ditches Software Boutique in favor of the App Center (Snap).

They also retired the Ubuntu MATE Welcome app and included a few updated apps, such as Firefox 125, Celluloid 0.26, Evolution 3.52, and LibreOffice 24.2.2.

By now, you must have realized that there's not much on offer with this LTS release. The changes we saw are mostly what the Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release offers.

The Much-Awaited Ubuntu 24.04 LTS Release Is Here!
Canonical’s next big LTS release is here, with exciting changes.

A new Ubuntu MATE release usually comes equipped with many newer tools and upgrades that make its users choose it over the other flavors. However, this one seems to just adopt what its parent release already offers while also removing a few things.

One would expect more from such a major release, but that's not the case.

Just a few weeks ago, many were unsure that we would see a 24.04 LTS release for Ubuntu MATE. Even Alex Murray from Canonical asked Martin whether he was planning to apply for an LTS status for Ubuntu MATE 24.04.

Someone also shared in the same thread linked above that Martin was focusing more on NixOS (I mean, who can blame him?, NixOS is cool!).

But, luckily, he was able to get this Ubuntu MATE release ready with the help of community members, with special thanks to Erich Eickmeyer of Ubuntu Studio, Simon Quigley of Lubuntu, and David Muhammed of Ubuntu Budgie.

I understand that maintaining a distro release is a daunting task, more so if you have a popular one like Ubuntu MATE. But if things continue like this, then Ubuntu MATE is bound to fall behind the other Ubuntu flavors in terms of feature parity.

I sincerely hope that other people step up to take Ubuntu MATE forward, making it as exciting it was a few years back. If you are interested in contributing to Ubuntu MATE, then you can head to its Get Involved page or GitHub repo.

If you would like to learn more about this release, then you can go through the official release notes.

📥 Getting Ubuntu MATE 24.04 LTS

The best place for that is the official website. You can also source this release from the Ubuntu image repository.

For existing users, they can refer to the official upgrade guide to get started with the upgrade process.

💬 What do you think? Will Ubuntu MATE bounce back from this developmental slump?

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