The 22.04 beta release allows Ubuntu Mate users to test the system with added features but a reduced installation image size.
The Ubuntu MATE project has announced the beta release of the upcoming 22.04 update of the Long Term Support (LTS) to interested users. The new version offers a number of interface and performance improvements, along with AI-generated wallpapers.
“A Fresh Coat of Paint”
Project lead Martin Wimpress announced the beta in a post on the official Ubunti Mate blog.
As is tradition, the LTS development cycle has a keen focus on eliminating paper cuts but we’ve jammed in some new features and a fresh coat of paint too.
Wimpress included emoji of a happy face, a roll of toilet paper, a knife, and a paintbrush to illustrate the sentence.
Ubuntu MATE is a variant of Ubuntu that uses the MATE desktop environment instead of the mainline Ubuntu that uses the GNOME desktop. MATE is an offshoot of the old GNOME 2 codebase.
Like the parent distribution, Ubuntu MATE follows the convention of numbering releases by the year and the month of release. The upcoming full version, 22.04, is slated for release in April 2022. Also following the tradition of Ubuntu’s alliterative animal names, it’s dubbed “Jammy Jellyfish.”
The beta is being offered to users eager to try out the new system and help fix bugs before the final release. The new version will be a Long Term Support release, or LTS, receiving five years of updates from its release.
The beta release is targeted toward users who want to help the project by finding bugs as well as toward the project’s developers, as well as upstream MATE and Yaru theme developers.
Anyone eager to download the new system can do so from the project’s download page by clicking on “22.04 LTS (Pre-release).”
What’s New in Ubuntu Mate 22.04?
The new release will feature a number of performance improvements in the MATE Desktop itself. Wimpress said that considerable effort had gone into fixing bugs and tracking down “memory leaks” where programs use memory and forget to return it to the operating system when done with it. The community has also fixed bugs in the Plank and Brisk Menu, as well as added a screen reader for visually impaired users.
One major new feature touted for the Ubuntu Mate release is deeper integration of the Yaru theme into the system, which was first introduced in Ubuntu Mate 21.04. It’s an adaptation of the Yaru theme used in the mainline Ubuntu release but adapted to the MATE desktop. A striking feature in the new system is the addition of AI-generated wallpapers with a jellyfish theme, matching the name of the Ubuntu release.
Despite adding new features, the new version has managed to shrink the installation image by removing proprietary NVIDIA drivers. “We put Ubuntu MATE on a strict diet,” Wimpress said. Users who need the drivers can check a box to download them on installation. The move was taken out of consideration of users who live in areas that lack access to reliable broadband internet.
The Diversity of Ubuntu Variants
The beta shows that the strength of the Linux community is its diversity. Even a major distribution like Ubuntu has variants that cater to different userbases. This has led to a high number of variants based on the core Ubuntu release. The upcoming release of Ubuntu Mate 22.04 looks like it will carry on that tradition.