Ubuntu – Will I be able to get an interface that is like Gnome Classic in Ubuntu 14.04


For a while I departed from Ubuntu to use Linux Mint because I really don't like Unity, or Gnome 3's most recent interface.

I was fine with what was called "Gnome Classic", but I feared it was being neglected because there were some significant bugs that lingered without improvement for a while.

Unfortunately, while I like the MATE interface in Linux Mint, Mint itself lacks the level of community support that Ubuntu has. Mint has development and support issues. Not to disparage their efforts, I think they've done great work, but it's tough making a UI, and unfortunately it's just not working for me.

I'm thinking of returning to Ubuntu with the 14.04 release, but not if it means using Unity. I have looked into the current situation, and I'm a little confused about the terms being thrown around. I have seen referens to "fallback", "flashback", and "classic", without any clear idea of which is available and what they offer.

Is there still an option to get an interface that resembles the way Gnome used to look?

Can I get an interface that looks like what I have with Mint, but with the support and features of Ubuntu? Can I get something close to that?

Best Answer

MATE is a lightweight desktop environment that uses the traditional panel desktop layout used in pre-Unity Ubuntu. The MATE desktop environment can be configured to have either one or two panels. Starting with mate-desktop-environment 1.20 MATE desktop environment has true high DPI support. High DPI will be supported by default in Ubuntu MATE 18.04 and later.

For more information about the MATE desktop environment visit the official MATE website MATE 1.8 Screenshot Tour or the Ubuntu MATE screenshot tour.

From the official MATE wiki.

How to install MATE in Ubuntu 14.04

Open the terminal, and complete the following steps to enable the appropriate PPAs and install MATE 1.8.1 on Ubuntu 14.04.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends ubuntu-mate-core ubuntu-mate-desktop

Instead of lightdm use lightdm-gtk-greeter for the login display manager as recommended by the MATE team:

sudo apt-get install lightdm-gtk-greeter  
sudo reboot  

How to install MATE in Ubuntu 14.10 and later

sudo apt-get update

To install MATE choose 1 of the 3 apt-get lines below.

  1. This will install the base packages required for a minimal MATE desktop.

    sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-core
  2. This will install the complete MATE desktop.

    sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment
  3. This will install the complete MATE desktop including a few extras.

    sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-extras

Ubuntu MATE

Alternatively you may choose to install the official Ubuntu MATE release in 15.04 and later.

Ubuntu MATE is a more comprehensive option that offers a slightly tweaked layout, configuration, and themes to integrate into Ubuntu in a more seamless fashion. This will install the complete MATE desktop environment as well as LightDM and numerous other applications to provide a full and well rounded desktop.

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