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I just recently upgraded to Ubuntu 11.10. Not a fan of Unity, so I decided to try out the MATE desktop from Linux Mint. I added the Mint repository, grabbed and installed the MATE packages, and got rid of the repo so I wouldn't be downloading any other Mint packages. I did have some glitches with the packages (missing dependency stuff), but I fixed it.

As other users have reported, installing MATE temporarily breaks the Ubuntu Software Center because lsb_release shows the machine as Linux Mint rather than Ubuntu. I can fix it as noted in this answer by editing /etc/*release and /etc/*issue.

Problem is, this only works until I reboot the machine. Every time I reboot, /etc/lsb-release and /etc/issue revert to Linux Mint, breaking Software Center again until I edit them, again.

Can anyone help me pin down what keeps changing these files? Much appreciated, thanks.

Rephrasing the crux of the problem: where do /etc/lsb-release and /etc/issue get their info from? What would cause them to be revised on reboot?

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Ubuntu 11.10 has the classic desktop. There are very few changes since the classic desktop in 10.10. You have to press Super+Alt when customizing the panels, and the default look is different, but it's all easily customizable. It's the combination of the Super+Alt thing and the default theme that caused people to think it was something else. I'm saying this in case you end up reinstalling Ubuntu. I'm very confident you'll be at least as confortable with classic Ubuntu as with MATE. The package is called "gnome-panel", or "gnome-session-fallback". They're the same thing. Good luck! :) –  Jo-Erlend Schinstad Mar 15 '12 at 15:39
    
I'm using the classic desktop now, since MATE proved to be a bit too glitchy for my tastes. I am still having the issue with lsb_release reverting and breaking Software Center every time I reboot. –  user51560 Mar 21 '12 at 22:17

2 Answers 2

I had the same problem, and decided to run it into the ground (by doing grep -r until I found the script changing those files!).

The culprit is /usr/lib/linuxmint/mintSystem/mint-adjust.py , which is installed by the package mintsystem (on which MATE depends). Apparently it runs at startup, and keeps changing those files to provide Mint-based info.

As you noted, you can recover normal Ubuntu Software Center behavior by putting the correct info in the files:

/etc/issue 
/etc/lsb-release
/etc/issue.net 

(Fixing issue.net is not really needed to fix Software Center, but here for completeness. It holds system info that's displayed at the beginning of telnet sessions, and Mint writes its system info there, too).

Conveniently, Ubuntu also writes the correct, current system info in a separate set of matching files which Mint doesn't touch, so you just have to copy them over:

/etc/issue.dpkg-dist 
/etc/lsb-release.dpkg-dist
/etc/issue.net.dpkg-dist 

I've given up on MATE since I'm happy with Cinnamon running on Ubuntu 12.04, but one fix would be to just comment out the offending lines in this script (you don't have to be a python geek to figure out which section is the problem!)

A more polished fix would be to use the LinuxMint overwrite system (explained in the file /etc/linuxmint/adjustments/README ) to manage the corrections - but I imagine that either of these solutions will be borked once the relevant files are updated (or you update Ubuntu base).

The best solution would be to convince the mintsystem package maintainers that Mint is a victim of its own success - now that many people are installing MATE, even on Ubuntu, it shouldn't be calling mintsystem scripts which assume a LinuxMint base install.

But I will leave that battle to someone else. As far as I can tell, Cinnamon doesn't trigger this behavior, so hopefully I won't run into this problem again. :).

EDIT: For those of you who are interested in trying MATE on Ubuntu, these instructions seem to avoid this problem:

How to install MATE on Ubuntu

The mistake I made is going to the Mint repository (rather than the specific MATE repository) and installing a bunch of packages labeled 'mate', eventually pulling in the mintsystem package, which caused the problem.

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Ubuntu 11.10 has the classic desktop. There are very few changes since the classic desktop in 10.10. You have to press Super+Alt when customizing the panels, and the default look is different, but it's all easily customizable.

It's the combination of the Super+Alt thing and the default theme that caused people to think it was something else. I'm saying this in case you end up reinstalling Ubuntu. I'm very confident you'll be at least as confortable with classic Ubuntu as with MATE. The package is called "gnome-panel", or "gnome-session-fallback". They're the same thing. Good luck! :) – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Mar 15 at 15:39

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