Strange behaviors in Ubuntu Maté (that troubled upgrade)

I am observing strange behavior in my troubled Ubuntu Maté upgrade. I suspect these are related but damn if I can figure out how. It would not surprise me if it stems from python, or maybe a malfunctioning file manager issue, but who knows?

In two browsers (Brave and Chrome), a procedure I do all the time has stopped working. It involves downloading an audio file from a list. The web page (NPR, All Things Considered) offers “Save link as…”. I usually right-click, which opens up the File Explorer. Now, the browser screen freezes after downloading a single file and I have to close the program.

Skype, a similar story. When teaching, I send lessons using the Skype chat, and it worked last week. Today, I clicked on “Attach files…”, found the file (in Files, BTW) opened it into the chat. But nothing could get the chat to send the attached file, not and not clicking the “Send” icon. Also, the mouse no longer did anything on the Skype window and the app was largely unresponsive (but the video still worked).

LibreOffice now takes at least 24 seconds to open an existing file. It had been nearly instantaneous until today.

Wise readers will ask, “OK, what did you do?” All I can remember is installing the Welcome window and enabling Software Boutique. Caja does not seem to be my default file manager anymore, but I cannot recall making any such change.

I would suggest you to stop using this operating system instantaneously.

Then, take a storage medium that is comparable to the one you just used.

Install the same operating system onto that new storage medium.

Repeat the same actions you did here.
Enable the software boutique, etc. then try downloading, saving and sending files.

Tell us how it went.

I just remembered something else I did. I switched compositor from Marco to picom/xrender. That would be an easy variable to switch back.

Just wondering, are you suggesting @cliffsloane might have disk or filesystem corruption?
Otherwise, I cant imagine why you would want him to duplicate the software on a new disk?

It might also be worthwhile running memtest

Either that or his system does not like Snaps, as Software Boutique and Mate Welcome are both Snap packages now. I liked it how Ubuntu Mate was so simple in 16.04, as everything was deb files not of this Snaps and all the other window compositor crap that it has seemed to of accumulated over the years. Why try to fix something, when it ain’t broke? Springs to mind, with all these Snap packages. I loved Mate 16.04, as it was the first OS to have simplescreenrecorder in it’s repos without the need of a PPA. Everything worked out of the box, it looked the spitting image of Gnome 2, apart from everything being the color green. To date Ubuntu 12.04 and 16.04 were my favorites. Now Ubuntu and it’s family of environments has all become one giant mess of Snap Packaged broken messes, in my opinion.

The only way to fix that is to leave Ubuntu and find an alternative that is snap- free, and, looks after its package dependencies properly.

That’s not a fix, because it would break more things than it would fix.

Ubuntu is still one of the most compatible distributions in existence. And, for the rare case, that something does not work, you can find millions of online resources and additionally post your issue on one of the variety of specifically Ubuntu focused fora.

So, Ubuntu is even with Snaps one of the easiest to use distributions out there.


I thought Mint was a snap-free Ubuntu derivative. Mint is ahead of Ubuntu on Distrowatch, and both are behind MX.
Distrowatch is not perfect, but at least it gives us some numbers.

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Some meaningless numbers are sometimes worse than no numbers, when people interpret them as meaningful, especially in the wrong way.

The numbers on Distrowatch are extremely & utterly meaningless, because it just shows a smudge of how popular distributions are based on how often their respective links were clicked. That’s it.

For example, if a terrible distribution would be featured in a Linux magazine article, then it would also get lots of clicks, because people would want to see how terrible it is.
Which again shows, how those clicks literally just talk about click rates and nothing about how the distribution works.

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exactly… I don’t think I’ve been over to distrowatch in maybe 10 years?

In that time I’ve probably downloaded 30-50 * different distros and releases - maybe more, but NEVER used Distrowatch by clicking on a link to go to a distro page… In 25 years of using Linux, never used Distrowatch

SNAPs bother me a tad, but not the point that I’ll go distro-hopping… Nearly always end up back at Ubuntu - like my last two attempts…

  • Garuda
  • elementary (I want to like it - but it’s TOO locked down)
  • Debian 11 (when I realised it wasn’t going to be easy to force it out of 640x480 on my QHD monitor - I gave up and “NEXT!”)
  • some others (Mint maybe about 2 years ago?)
  • fedora (still installed on my unused, powered off, Thinkpad)
  • Red Hat 8 (still using it on my Gigabyte Brix - nice to have my own RHEL playbox, as 70% of my job is doing support for RHEL)

Only to end up back with the most recent LTS release of Ubuntu - it just works…

SNAPs and FlatPaks and AppImage, like systemd, are here to stay… I’d hazard a guess that SNAP will outlast FlatPak and AppImage… I could be wrong…

My browser of choice doesn’t come as a SNAP : Brave, but I also use MS Edge for MS kinda crap…

* MUCH more than 50! I actually keep nearly every ISO I download on my NAS (VERY occasionally do some housekeeping) : I’ve got about 350 ISO and IMG (e.g. DietPi, Armbian, Raspbian) files - and I HAVE NEVER USED Distrowatch… I usually run 6-9 Linux machines at any one time, sometimes more…

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If a distro is consistently highly rated for over a year, that means something more than an ephemeral interest

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No. It depends on the community and how many people vote. The more people vote, the more precise the rating becomes. It’s also related to the voters’ mentality. In general, people tend to make negative reviews about a product, because if everything is fine, they have no reason to complain and people love complaining.
However, with huge distributions, there is a tipping point, where the fandom may become so huge, that people with a positive review gather in especially high numbers, because of the huge fan base, which is again distorting the rating into the positive direction, when in reality it is not that positive, if all users were counted in.

So, the votings are not very meaningful.

The click rates of Linux pages on Distrowatch are utterly useless. These are the ones I was initially addressing. The reviews and votings are slightly more useful.

Needs data from an independent sampling of installations.
Not easy to do .

Debian gives the option to opt into a minimal survey for statistical purposes.
However, it mainly tracks which packages are installed, etc.

Yes I always opt into that. It determines their priorities for packages. I has has some influence on wht r-cran packages they make into deb packages.

I think Distrowatch measures interest, not use.

Interest? Isn’t that useless? Interest just means interest. It doesn’t say anything about the distribution itself.

Zero interest would mean zero usage.
Interest measures the maximum possible amount of usage

You did not try Nitrux? Possibly the best Ubuntu alternative, after Mint

No - no longer interested, and not even remotely interested in “fringe” distros - I want the most “compatible” wth the most stuff and least fucking around distro - and keep coming back to Ubunto…

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While I am delighted that you gentlemen are having such an engaging time discussing DistroWatch (for me, a tad less useful than Rotten Tomatoes), I want to go back and report I found the problem. Spoiler alert: the welcome screen.
I followed the spirit of @Akito’s suggestion to systematically test each of the changes I made, and ideally in the order they were made.
First, I changed the theme from Yaru to Traditional. No change (and it was the least likely).
Second, I changed compositor from picom/xrender to Marco None. None.
Third, I returned to picom/xrender and removed the welcome from its snap installation. BINGO! All three of the described problems vanished.
Now I know none of y’all like to address this question, but I’ll ask it anyway. Why did the Welcome screen do this?

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