Linux desktop environments have come a long way in the last few years. Once upon a time the KDE user interface looked a lot like Windows while GNOME provided a simple UI with panels at the top and bottom of the screen. Now the two most popular desktop environments offer custom interfaces complete with custom app launchers, menus, and eye candy.
But if you prefer the simple look of GNOME 2 over the latest GNOME 3.4 desktop environment, there’s a way to bring it back to your favorite Linux-based operating system.
MATE is a fork of GNOME 2 which not only maintains the look and feel of the older version of GNOME, but also offers a suite of applications designed to work with the desktop environment. That’s important because most newer GNOME packages won’t run on GNOME 2 anymore.
The desktop environment is designed so that you can install it on a PC that also has GNOME installed and choose which you want to use from the login screen.
You can find instructions for installing MATE on popular Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, and Archlinux at the MATE website.