I hope you all had an enjoyable start to the New Year :-)
This is just a quick post to let you know how Ubuntu MATE 17.04 is progressing. But before we get into that, here's some news about Ubuntu MATE 16.04.
I'm just putting the finishing touches to MATE Desktop 1.16.1 for Ubuntu MATE 16.04, which will be available via our xenial-mate PPA soon.
This has taken longer than I'd hoped because I've been helping get MATE Desktop 1.16 in good shape for the upcoming release of Debain 9 (Stretch). But the good news is, these packages are well tested as a result.
If you're running Ubuntu MATE 16.04 you can upgrade the MATE Desktop 1.14 via our xenial-mate PPA now and when MATE Desktop 1.16 lands the updates will be waiting for you. See the blog post below for upgrade intructions, the process is the same for MATE Desktop 1.14 and MATE Desktop 1.16.
I'm friends with Ikey Doherty, whose name you might recognise from the Solus project. Brisk Menu is an efficient menu for the MATE Desktop developed by Solus and funded by this Patreon! :-) You can find out more about Brisk Menu here:
I've packaged Brisk Menu for Debian and it is currently in the NEW queue awaiting upload to Debian unstable and Ubuntu 17.04. I'm hoping it will land soon. For those of you on Ubuntu MATE 16.10 you can test it now using this PPA:
Brisk Menu will replace the MATE Menu in due course.
Ubuntu MATE 17.04 will feature new icons in the Ambiant-MATE and Radiant-MATE icon themes. These icons were designed by my friend Daniel Foré , the project lead for elementary. Again this Patreon funded the work :-)
This Patreon also funded another graphic designer, Michael Tunnel, to retouch all the assets in the Ambiant-MATE and Radiant-MATE themes so that LowDPI and HiDPI variants are now available. I've updated the themes to support GTK+ 3.22 which is default in Ubuntu 17.04 and use the appropriate DPI assets.
MATE Desktop 1.17 is the development snapshot series that will lead up to the next stable release, which would typically be MATE Desktop 1.18. I've packaged and tested MATE Desktop 1.17 for Debian and Ubuntu and uploaded all the packages to the official Ubuntu archive earlier this evening.
You won't hear about this anywhere else, but it is likely that the version number for the next stable release of MATE Desktop will be 2.0.
The reason for this jump is that MATE Desktop is now GTK3+ only. As in all the legacy GTK2+ code has been completely removed from the entire project.
As of the current MATE Desktop 1.17 development snapshots (what will become 2.0), MATE Desktop can only be built against GTK3+. We feel this achievement warrants the 2.0 version bump. And, you guessed it, this Patreon has funded the upstream developers who've been working on this.
In addition, MATE Desktop 1.17 (and therefore 2.0) also features full support for libinput, a modern library to handle input devices such as mice, trackpads and touch screens for Wayland and X11.
Speaking of Wayland, the first baby steps towards Wayland support have landed. Don't get too excited, the MATE Desktop can't run on Wayland yet.
But MATE applications such as Caja, Eye of MATE, MATE Terminal and the others do now work on Wayland by way of the X11 backend. Pluma (the text editor) support Wayland natively. This is just the start, but we are that road now and you Patrons are making it happen!
Other improvements in MATE Desktop 2.0 include interactive notifications, desktop actions, Eye of MATE and Pluma have been ported to libpeas (meaning all the plugins are back), themes and code support GTK+ 3.22 and lots of legacy code has been axed resulting in a smaller memory foot print and improved performance.
The release date is (hopefully) February 28th 2017.
Ubuntu MATE 17.04 Alpha 1 was due on December 29th 2016. But none of the Ubuntu flavours participated in Alpha 1, the timing was far from ideal. That said I did knock Ubuntu MATE into shape over the holiday period so the Ubuntu MATE 17.04 iso image is 150MB smaller than 16.10 and Ubuntu MATE Welcome and Software Boutique are ready :-)
Alpha 2 is scheduled for release on January 26th. It ship with MATE Desktop 1.17 and all that good stuff you read about earlier. Development in Ubuntu MATE itself is limited to refinement and bug fixing.
And that just about sums up what we've been working on. There are a couple of other projects in the works, but I'll tell you about those after the Alpha 2 release :-)
Thanks for your contrinued support!
Best regards, Martin.