Showing posts with label MATE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MATE. Show all posts

Monday, March 8, 2021

Installing Ubuntu Mate on a Virtual Machine

If you're looking for a lightweight and robust Linux distribution, check Ubuntu Mate. A lighter version of Ubuntu but not not less powerful
Ubuntu MATE's default desktop

Before switching to Linux permanently, it's recommended to test it first on a virtual machine so that you can feel the experience before making permanent changes on your system.

On this tutorial, we will continue revisiting the best lightweight distributions of 2021 and learn how to install Ubuntu MATE on VirtualBox in Windows 10.

This process should be pretty similar to accomplish in either VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation player.

About Ubuntu MATE

Ubuntu MATE is a lightweight and simplified Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It's stable, easy-to-use and comes with the lightweight (and familiar) MATE desktop environment. It is ideal for those who want the most out of their computers and prefer a traditional. Another advantage is that it requires modest hardware requirements.

Another advantage of Ubuntu MATE is that it runs from modern workstations, to single board computers and IoT. Ubuntu MATE makes modern computers fast and old computers usable.

Downloading Ubuntu MATE

Head to Ubuntu Mate download page an grab the ISO by clicking on 64-bit PCs/Macs > 20.04.1 LTS Focal Fossa. For this tutorial we'll use Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS which's the a version supported until April 2023. The file should be around 2.5 Gb in size so go grab a coffee while it downloads.

An ISO is simply an image of the installer containing all the files needed to boot and install that distribution in your system.

Installing Mate

With the ISO downloaded, let's start the process. Open VirtualBox:

VirtualBox's main screen

Click New, enter the name of the VM, set Type = Linux and Version = Ubuntu (64-bit) and specify its save location:

Choose the memory size (4Gb or more is recommended):

Create a Virtual Hard Disk:

As Hard disk file type, Choose VDI (VirtualBox's default format):

Set it to Dynamically Allocated (slower) if you don't have much disk space or Fixed Size (faster) if you do:

Specify file location and size (recommended: 20GB), click Review > Create:

After clicking Create, you should see a summary of your new VM:

Booting the VM

Okay, so it's now time to boot (load) our VM so we can install it in the virtual hard drive. On the screen above click on Start to have your VM initialized. We'll first need to attach our ISO as if it were a virtual CD-ROM. Click Add and select your downloaded ISO from your Downloads folder and click Create to set it:

Installing Ubuntu

Once your VM boots, you will be asked to choose a language in the very first screen:

And will be prompted with this pleasant menu:

For our setup, choose the third (3) option: Install Ubuntu MATE. A few seconds later, you should see the loaded installer where you'll again be able to choose your language:

Select your keyboard:

Choose what/how to install and if you would like to download updates during installation:

On the Installation type screen, choose Erase disk and install Ubuntu MATE (don't worry, none of your files will be deleted):

Select your time zone:

And the installation begins. Give it 10 minutes or so and have fun with the information provided:

Installation Begins

You'll see nice progress, tips and tricks during the install

Once it ends, you'll be asked to reboot:

First Login

With the installation done, let's login the first time. Enter your password as specified during the installation on the login screen:

Default Desktop

After login, you should see Ubuntu MATE's beautiful desktop:

Ubuntu MATE's default desktop

Next Steps

There you are! Feel free to have fun with your new Ubuntu VM! We will cover some more interesting topics in the future but we recommend that you play with it in the meanwhile.


On this tutorial we learned how to install Ubuntu MATE in a VirtualBox virtual machine (VM). Installing Linux on a VM is the first step you need to explore Linux in its multiple variations. The next step is obviously, replacing your Windows or Mac. But take your time!

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Monday, March 1, 2021

The best lightweight Linux distributions of 2021

Looking for a lightweight Linux distribution to install on that old PC? Check our top picks for 2021
Photo by Naman Porwal on Unsplash

On a previous post we discussed the best Linux distributions for new users in 2021. While those distributions are fantastic, they demand moderately powerful hardware and a decent amount of storage. Today, let's discuss the best lightweight Linux distributions in 2021.

What's a lightweight Linux distribution?

As you probably expect, a lightweight Linux distribution is a distribution that does not require super-recent hardware and, as much as possible is friendly on storage and energy consumption.

What should you expect from these distributions

All of the presented distributions were chosen not only because they're stable and secure but because they're easy-to-use, powerful (with no compromises) and require modest hardware requirements. As a bonus, running on single board computers and IoT would be a plus.

So let's get started and review what are the best most recommended lightweight Linux distributions in 2021.

Ubuntu MATE

Ubuntu MATE is a lightweight and simplified Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It's stable, easy-to-use and comes with the lightweight (and familiar) MATE desktop environment. It is ideal for those who want the most out of their computers and prefer a traditional. Another advantage is that it requires modest hardware requirements, running on modern workstations, to single board computers and IoT. Ubuntu MATE makes modern computers fast and old computers awesome again 😊.

Ubuntu MATE's default desktop

elementary OS

We ❤ elementary OS and pretty much anyone in the community. elementary (lowercase e please) was select as one of our best distros in 2021 an still shows up in this list. It's installation is super quick and its Pantheon desktop environment certainly offers a very polished experience while still being lightweight! Being also based on Ubuntu makes it a solid choice for your old PC.

The beautiful elementary OS desktop


Solus is another of the fast and lightweight Linux distros that we love. Built by community by passionate developers, the Solus OS is a beautiful, lightweight, innovative and rolling-release operating system that everyone should try at least once. Sure, it's not backed up by the likes of Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company but is built on strong (and innovative) technologies. Definitely worth trying out.

Source: Solus Project 

Fedora XFCE

Fedora XFCE is another of our favorite lightweight distros of 2021. Built by the an awesome of independent and (RH)-dependent Fedora developers, Fedora XFCE is definitely a distro for those working (or willing to) in the Enterprise Linux space since it shares roots with RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) and many of its forks (including CentOS, Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux). And as happens with every Fedora spin, you'll get as vanilla as possible from XFCE's original experience

Source: Fedora Project

Manjaro XFCE

If  you're looking for a little more action than why not try Manjaro XFCE? Running the XFCE desktop environment, the same desktop environment as the Fedora spin listed in this article, Manjaro is based on the venerable Arch Linux but presents a less steep learning curve and counts with a thriving and ever-growing community. Manjaro XFCE presents a very polished and fast experience that would suit well to new and experienced Linux users on modern and old hardware.

Manjaro's beautiful XFCE desktop environment


On this article we presented the lightweight Linux distributions in 2021. Lightweight Linux distros usually run super-well on old PCs or Macs guaranteeing you some good years of use still. Another idea would be spinning them up in less resourceful virtual machines so you can practice your Linux skills. More on that later.

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