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The MATE Desktop Environment is a fork of GNOME 2 that aims to provide an attractive and intuitive desktop to Linux users using traditional layouts and methods. For more information, see this forum thread.


MATE is currently developed on GitHub. Stable packages with release-based version numbering are hosted on


To install the stable version of MATE via pacman add the following lines to your /etc/pacman.conf:

SigLevel = Optional TrustAll
Server =$arch


# pacman -Syy

and then

# pacman -S mate

It might also be of interest to people to install certain packages from the mate-extras group (most being counterparts to packages in the gnome-extra group):

# pacman -S mate-extras


Lock screen & default background image

Edit /usr/share/glib-2.0/schemas/org.mate.background.gschema.xml under root and change the default in element, <key type="s" name="picture-filename">. For example:

    <key type="s" name="picture-filename">
      <summary>Picture Filename</summary>   
      <description>File to use for the background image.</description>

The original image used is /usr/share/backgrounds/mate/desktop/Stripes.png.

Then, re-compile the schemas:

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

Restart your X session for the change to effect.



In order to start MATE manually, you must add

exec mate-session

to your ~/.xinitrc file and then run

$ startx
Note: See xinitrc for details, such as preserving the logind session.

Automatically at boot time

See Display Manager and Start X at Boot for details.


If you are using gdm-oldAUR from the AUR, simply select the MATE session from the Sessions list. For your first time launching MATE, make sure to click "Just this session" when prompted.


Just select MATE from the Sessions list. Works well.

MATE Display Manager

The MATE Display Manager (MDM) is the MATE desktop's counterpart to the GNOME Display Manager (GDM). Its package 'mate-display-manager' has been found in the mate-extra group or in the AUR package mate-display-managerAUR. It has worked relatively the same as GDM does/did; unfortunately, the subproject is currently in flux, and MDM is not currently (as of 2012/07/01) available.


In order to be able to launch MATE from KDM, the KDE Display Manager, you have to edit the KDM configuration. As root, edit the /usr/share/config/kdm/kdmrc configuration file. Find the SessionsDir parameter and add /usr/share/xsessions to the list. It should then look like this:


Restart KDM and select the "MATE session" from the list.


Just fоllow the SLIM tutorial to know how to install and how to copy and use the .xinitrc file. And just add this line to the .xinitrc file :

exec mate-session


It is important to note that many GNOME core applications are rebranded for MATE, as per the licensing terms. Here is a simple Rosetta Stone of GNOME -> MATE applications.

  • Nautilus is renamed Caja.
  • Metacity is renamed Marco.
  • Gconf is renamed Mate-conf.
  • Gedit is renamed Pluma.
  • Eye of GNOME is renamed Eye of MATE.
  • Evince is renamed Atril.
  • File Roller is renamed Engrampa.
  • GNOME Terminal is renamed MATE Terminal.

Other applications and core components prefixed with GNOME (such as GNOME Panel, GNOME Menus etc) have simply had the prefix renamed "MATE" and become MATE Panel and MATE Menus.

Not all of the GNOME extra applications (built for GTK2) have been forked yet. The following extra applications are available in MATE:

  • Totem (mate-video-player)
  • GNOME Panel applets (mate-applets)

If you are using NetworkManager to connect to the internet, you can install network-manager-applet-gtk2AUR from the AUR for a GTK2 nm-applet. You will need to modify the PKGBUILD to depend on mate-bluetooth rather than gnome-bluetooth to prevent a recursive dependency on gnome-desktop.

Known issues

Qt applications are not styled

You may find that Qt4 applications are not inheriting the GTK2 theme like they should. See Uniform Look for Qt and GTK Applications for details.

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with Uniform Look for Qt and GTK Applications.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: The icon theme issue should be merged there. (Discuss in Talk:MATE#)

To fix the GUI style run:

$ qtconfig-qt4

And change it to GTK+. To fix the icon theme (in particular the cursor), you should edit your ~/.icons/default/index.theme to include:

[Icon Theme]

Evolution email not working

Please see Evolution#Using_Evolution_Outside_Of_Gnome.

GTK3 applications not properly styled

If you notice that applications such as Rhythmbox do not have styling applied to them, try Clearlooks Phenix theme.


User switch

You must use a Display Manager with support to switch sessions. Additionally, if you are not using MDM (Mate Display Manager), you have to create symbolic links for your display manager.

For LightDM, use the following command:

# ln -s /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm/gdmflexiserver /usr/bin/mdmflexiserver

For GDM, use the following command:

# ln -s /usr/bin/gdmflexiserver /usr/bin/mdmflexiserver

Empty panel after updating from 1.4 to 1.6

Starting with mate 1.6 several parts, including mate-panel, moved from gconf to gsettings. If you are updating from an older version you might end up with an empty panel. To resolve the issue reset the panel configuration to its defaults using "mate-panel --reset". Afterwards you can use mate-conf-import to restore most of your old settings.

See also

MATE official homepage

Arch Linux Forums