The Ubuntu distribution features numerous flavors, like KDE, Xfce, and LXDE, but not all the major desktop environments are used. It looks like a new one is brewing, based on MATE.
Ever since the introduction of Unity, some of the Ubuntu users have been pining after GNOME 2, the desktop environment in use until Ubuntu 11.04 arrives. It looks like it had a lot of fans and a part of the Linux community is still hoping that the good days will return.
It turns out that the GNOME 2 fans might be in luck. Martin Wimpress, a MATE Desktop team member, took it upon himself to make an Ubuntu prototype featuring MATE, which greatly resembles the old style used by Canonical until 2011.
This is just preliminary work and it's more like an experiment than anything else, but the developer had help from Canonical's Alan Pope and he left a message saying that something interesting might come out of this: “there's something cooking and it smells delicious. Thanks to Alan Pope for the help.”
The screenshot was posted on Google Plus and the first question was from a user who was curios whether Martin was proposing to build the official Ubuntu MATE flavor. Martin Wimpress didn't deny it, but he just wanted to get a feel for the idea and see where things will go from there.
Not many people remember this, but there was a proposition made for an Ubuntu MATE flavor back in November 2013, from a guy named Ben Tinner. He wanted to call the distribution Ubuntu MATE Remix and he was even aiming for a 14.04 release. Unfortunately, nothing seems to have come of it and there has been no word about it since.
If you think about it, there already is an Ubuntu distro out there based on MATE and called Linux Mint MATE. Granted, it's not an official flavor and it's only based on Ubuntu.
Users can install the MATE desktop environment in Ubuntu, but it won't be the same with a development team building the operating system. Also, the version proposed by Martin Wimpress has a custom look and it's aimed more at users who want the old GNOME 2 feeling back.
If you want to see Ubuntu MATE happen anytime soon, be sure to leave Martin a message and let him know that you are interested in this version. If he gets enough support, we might see a new flavor shortly in the Ubuntu family.