Difference between revisions of "MATE"

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* {{Pkg|mate-disk-utility}} - Disk management application for MATE.
* {{Pkg|mate-disk-utility}} - Disk management application for MATE.
* {{Pkg|mate-mplayer}} - mplayer frontend for MATE
* {{Pkg|mate-mplayer}} - mplayer frontend for MATE
* {{Pkg|mate-nettool}} - MATE interface for various networking tools.
* {{AUR|mate-nettool}} - MATE interface for various networking tools.
* {{Pkg|mate-themes-extras}} - Collection of GTK2/3 desktop themes for MATE.
* {{Pkg|mate-themes-extras}} - Collection of GTK2/3 desktop themes for MATE.
* {{Pkg|gnome-main-menu}} - A mate-panel applet similar to the traditional main-menu, but with a few additions.
* {{Pkg|gnome-main-menu}} - A mate-panel applet similar to the traditional main-menu, but with a few additions.

Revision as of 16:39, 11 October 2014


From MATE homepage:

The MATE Desktop Environment is the continuation of GNOME 2. It provides an intuitive and attractive desktop environment using traditional metaphors for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems. MATE is under active development to add support for new technologies while preserving a traditional desktop experience.

MATE Applications

MATE is largely composed of GNOME 2 applications and utilities, forked and renamed to avoid conflicting with their GNOME 3 counterparts. Below is a list of common GNOME applications which have been renamed in MATE.

  • Alacarte is renamed Mozo;
  • Nautilus is renamed Caja;
  • Metacity is renamed Marco;
  • Gedit is renamed Pluma;
  • Eye of GNOME is renamed Eye of MATE;
  • Evince is renamed Atril;
  • File Roller is renamed Engrampa.

Other applications and core components prefixed with GNOME (such as GNOME Terminal, GNOME Panel, GNOME Menus, etc.) have had the prefix changed to MATE so they become MATE Panel, MATE Menus etc.


MATE is available in the official repositories and can be installed with one of the following:

  • The mate-panel package provides a minimal desktop shell.
  • The mate group contains the core desktop environment required for the standard MATE experience.
  • The mate-extra group contains additional utilities and applications that integrate well with the MATE desktop. Installing just the mate-extra group will not pull in the whole mate group via dependencies. If you want to install all MATE packages then you will need to explicitly install both groups.

Additional MATE packages

There is an additional package not included in the mate or mate-extra because it is not neccessarily useful to everyone.

  • The mate-netbook package provides a MATE panel applet that might be useful to owners of small screen devices, such as a Netbook. The applet will automatically maximize all windows and provides an application switcher applet.

There are also a number of other MATE applications that are contributed and maintained by the MATE community and therefore not included in the mate or mate-extra groups.

  • mate-applet-lockkeys - A MATE panel applet that shows which of the CapsLock, NumLock and ScrollLock keys are on and which are off.
  • mate-applet-softupd - A MATE panel applet to notify when software updates become available.
  • mate-applet-streamer - A MATE panel applet to let you play your favourite online radio station with a single click.
  • mate-color-manager - Color management application for MATE.
  • mate-accountsdialog - An application to view and modify user accounts information for MATE.
  • mate-disk-utility - Disk management application for MATE.
  • mate-mplayer - mplayer frontend for MATE
  • mate-nettoolAUR - MATE interface for various networking tools.
  • mate-themes-extras - Collection of GTK2/3 desktop themes for MATE.
  • gnome-main-menu - A mate-panel applet similar to the traditional main-menu, but with a few additions.
  • variety - Variety changes the wallpaper on a regular interval using user-specified or automatically downloaded images.

The following is also available via the AUR and integrates with MATE but the package is not maintained by the MATE team.

Starting MATE

MATE can be started via a display manager or manually.

Graphical log-in

Choose MATE from the menu in a display manager of choice. The MATE team recommends LightDM as the display manager with the GTK+ (2) greeter, which can be installed with the lightdm-gtk2-greeter package.


If you prefer to start MATE manually from the console, add the following line to your ~/.xinitrc file:

exec mate-session

Then MATE can be launched by typing startx.

See xinitrc for details, such as preserving the logind session.


MATE is well suited for use by individuals with sight or mobility impairment. First install orca and espeak (Screen reader for individuals who are blind or visually impaired) and onboard (On-screen keyboard useful for mobility impaired users)

pacman -Syyu orca espeak onboard 

Now, before starting MATE for the first time, enter the following command as the user who needs accessibility features:

gsettings set org.mate.interface accessibility true

Once you start MATE, you can configure the accessibility applications via System -> Preferences -> Assistive Technologies, although if you need Orca, you will need to run it from the Alt-F2 run window in order to start getting speech.

Network Management

It is recommended that you use Network Manager for managing networks in MATE. Please see the wiki page for more details on installing and configuring it.


Since version 1.8, Bluetooth support in MATE is provided by Blueman.

PulseAudio and GStreamer

MATE supports two audio backends, PulseAudio and GStreamer. By default, the PulseAudio backend is installed but if you want to switch to the GStreamer backend, do the following:

# pacman -S mate-settings-daemon-gstreamer mate-media-gstreamer

Tips and tricks

Enabling compositing

Compositing is not be enabled by default. To enable it navigate to run System -> Preferences -> Windows and click the tick box alongside Enable software compositing window manager in the General tab. Alternatively, you can run the following from the terminal:

$ dconf write /org/mate/marco/general/compositing-manager true

Toggling compositing

Some software, may have issues rendering images when working on an environment using the nvidia proprietary drivers and a compositing window manager.

To easily toggle the compositing feature, save the following script somewhere within the Home directory, e.g. ~/.scripts/compositing.sh:

if $(dconf read /org/mate/marco/general/compositing-manager) == "true"
		dconf write /org/mate/marco/general/compositing-manager false
		dconf write /org/mate/marco/general/compositing-manager true

and then create a custom keyboard shortcut that executes the file, e.g. Ctrl+Alt+C, to sh ~/.scripts/compositing.sh.

Enabling new window centering

By default, new windows are placed in the top-left corner. To center new windows on creation navigate to run System -> Preferences -> Windows and click the tick box alongside Center new windows in the Placement tab. Alternatively, you can run the following from the terminal:

$ dconf write /org/mate/marco/general/center-new-windows true

Enabling window snapping

Window snapping is not be enabled by default, to enable it navigate to run System -> Preferences -> Windows and click the tick box alongside Enable side by side tiling in the Placement tab.

Show or hide desktop icons

By default, MATE shows multiple icons on the desktop: The content of your desktop directory, computer, home and network directories, the trash and mounted drives. You can show or hide them individually or all at once using dconf.

Hide all desktop icons

$ dconf write /org/mate/desktop/background/show-desktop-icons false

Hide individual icons

Hide computer icon:

$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/computer-icon-visible false

Hide user directory icon:

$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/home-icon-visible false

Hide network icon:

$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/network-icon-visible false

Hide trash icon:

$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/trash-icon-visible false

Hide mounted volumes:

$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/volumes-visible false

Replace false with true for the icons to reappear.

Use a different window manager with MATE

The default window manager in MATE is called marco, a fork of the GNOME 2 window manager metacity. You can replace marco with another window manager via a number of different methods:

  • The easiest way to change the window manager is to autostart it using mate-session-properties. Open the System menu, navigate to the Preferences menu and click on Startup Applications. In the dialog click Add. Enter a name and comment in the name and comment sections and in the command section add a command of the following syntax: "name of window manager" "--replace"

For example: for openbox you would use the command openbox --replace.

Log out and log in again and marco should be replaced by the window manager of your choice. To revert to marco simply delete the entry you created in Startup Applications.

  • Alternatively you can specify the desired window manager in dconf:
$ dconf write /org/mate/desktop/session/required-components/windowmanager "'mywindowmanager'"

replace "mywindowmanager" with the name of the window manager of your choice e.g. openbox or metacity.

Change window decoration button order

You can change the button using dconf. The key is in org.mate.marco.general.button-layout. Use the graphical dconf-editor or the dconf command line tool to change it:

$ dconf write /org/mate/marco/general/button-layout "'close,maximize,minimize:'"

and put menu, close, minimize and maximize in your desired order, separated by commas. The colon is the window title (it is necessary for the changes to apply).

Auto open file manager after drive mount

By default, MATE automatically opens a new file manager window when a drive is mounted. To disable this, change the following key in dconf:

$ dconf write /org/mate/desktop/media-handling/automount-open false


MATE uses mate-screensaver to lock your session. By default there are a limited number of lock-screens available. To make more lock-screens available, install the mate-screensaver-hacks package. This will allow you to use Xscreensaver lock-screens with mate-screensaver.

Lock screen & default background image

The full list of configuration options can be found in /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.mate.background.gschema.xml, they are overridden by creating the file /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/mate-background.gschema.override.

Note: The values on the right must be enclosed in single quotes ('') otherwise an error will occur during re-compile.

Example #1: Change the background image of the lock screen:


Example #2: Change the lock screen to use a gradient:


Re-compile the schemas:

# glib-compile-schemas /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/

Finally, restart your X session for the change to effect.

Styling Qt applications

To make Qt4 applications inherit the MATE theme, do the following:

* Navigate to System -> Preferences -> Qt4 Config or execute qtconfig-qt4 from a shell.
* Change GUI Style to GTK+.
* File --> Save.

See Uniform Look for Qt and GTK Applications for more details.

Consistent cursor theme

You may find that the cursor theme used in MATE is not consistent. For example, it may change when moving the cursor across different application windows. To fix this problem, set the cursor theme by creating an index.theme file which defines the cursor theme according to the XDG icon theme specification. See the following section of the Cursor Themes article: Cursor_Themes#Using_an_index.theme_file_.28recommended.29.

Use of gradient backgrounds with LightDM

If you wish to use the default MATE (1.8) Stripes background as the LightDM background as well so as to make for seamless transition from LightDM to MATE, you will find that it is runtime-constructed from a grayscale PNG upon which MATE layers a vertical blue-to-green gradient, something which LightDM does not currently support. If insistent, you can work around this by temporarily setting /org/mate/desktop/background/show-desktop-icons to false, either through the dconf Editor tool available from the System Tools menu or by running

dconf write /org/mate/desktop/background/show-desktop-icons false

from the Alt-F2 Run Application dialog, then running killall mate-panel from said dialog and hitting Print Screen before the panel reappears. You are then presented with a Save As dialog for exactly that fully rendered, screen-sized PNG that you need for LightDM. Run

dconf reset /org/mate/desktop/background/show-desktop-icons

to have your desktop icons reappear.

See also