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.

As WebUpd8 points out, MATE 1.2 was released this week. It includes new artwork, bug fixes, and fixes for conflicts with GNOME.

You can find instructions for installing MATE on popular Linux distributions including Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Fedora, and Archlinux at the MATE website.

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7 replies on “MATE Linux desktop environment is for anyone that hates GNOME 3”

  1. As a Debian/Wheezy user and visiually impaired , I got the the pleasure to install Mate yesterday. I finally could use a productive UI since the disappearing of Gnome2 in Debian.
    Unhappily funny bugs like (randomly changing keyboard layout°
    WTF is Gnome 3 ?
    Sorry, I am french speaking and using (at this time) Terminal Mate.


  2.  MATE was a good idea a few months ago, but now there is Cinnamon I don’t see the point of MATE.

  3. jedibeeftrix, how is it a development dead end? they even plan to port it to gtk3, as seen in the roadmap from the website linked from this article. they are adding new features, such as undo/redo in the file manager which is long missing in nautilus. it also has the support of mint, one of the most popular distros, as its default desktop, so development is guaranteed to continue for as long as there are people using mint.

  4. Unity and gnome3 are such confused interfaces. it seems like they want to be touch screen interfaces, but then you need to type and keyboard shortcuts to actually get by day to day. So why the huge icons launchers and multi leveled launch pages? Plus they have that zeitgeist service running in the background cataloguing everything you do, to just launch applications and favorite files. Your computer usage history is then stashed it as unencrypted file hidden in my home folder. Sorry guys, that was the last straw.
    Xfce is so far behind where gnome2 and comoiz was at. I’ll give this a whirl. 

  5. I hope this stays around and gets properly maintained.

    I am not at all sure that Unity and Gnome3 turn out as successful desktops.

  6. Reading the title I thought the article was going to say use KDE, which IMHO is ugly and doesn’t deserve the time of day.

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