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Revision as of 17:51, 19 December 2013 by Flexiondotorg (talk | contribs) (Updated this page to better reflect the documentation from the MATE team. Removed some obsolete references.)
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The MATE Desktop Environment is a fork 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. For more information, see the MATE website.


To install MATE on Arch Linux edit /etc/pacman.conf and add the following:

SigLevel = PackageRequired
Server =$arch

The packages in the MATE repository are signed. Pull in and sign the package signing keys.

# pacman-key -r FFEE1E5C
# pacman-key --lsign-key FFEE1E5C

Install MATE core

To install the core MATE components simply install the mate group.

# pacman -Syy mate

Install MATE complete (recommended)

# pacman -Syy mate mate-extra

Install mate-netbook (optional)

mate-netbook provides a MATE panel applet that might be useful to owners of small screen devices, such as a Netbook. The mate-netbook applet will automatically maximise all windows and provides an application switcher applet. mate-netbook is not included in any of the MATE package groups but can be installed as follows:

# pacman -Syy mate-netbook

MATE in the AUR

MATE packages are also available in the AUR and are supported and maintained by the MATE team. They are the exact same packages that are used to generate the binary packages. If you need to modify a build option, then you are welcome to use the packages in the AUR and modify the PKGBUILD accordingly. However, the MATE team can only offer support for unmodified packages.


MATE can be started via a display manager or manually.

Graphical log-in

See Display Manager and Start X at Boot for details. The recommended display manager for MATE 1.6 on Arch Linux in lightdm.


Just select MATE from the Sessions list.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.
  • 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.


Since MATE 1,6 the default MATE themes support GTK3. Therefore, if you are using NetworkManager to connect to the internet, you can install and use network-manager-applet. Using network-manager-applet-gtk2AUR from the AUR is not recommended.


Evolution works just fine with MATE 1.6 thanks to mate-keyring.


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+.

Inconsistent cursor theme

To fix this you should edit your ~/.icons/default/index.theme to include:

[Icon Theme]
Upgrading from 1.4 to 1.6

MATE 1.6 migrated from gconf to gsettings. If you are updating from an MATE 1.4 you might end up with an empty panel. To resolve the issue reset the panel configuration to its defaults using

# mate-panel --reset

Then use...

# mate-conf-import restore most of your old settings. After upgrading from MATE 1.4 to MATE 1.6 you should remove the some of the old MATE 1.4 libraries that are not required by MATE 1.6, this can also improve the start-up time of MATE. NOTE! It is your responsibility to ensure that packages are not removed that might be required elsewhere.

# pacman -R ffmpegthumbnailer-caja libmate libmatecanvas libmatecomponent libmatecomponentui libmatenotify libmateui mate-conf mate-conf-editor mate-corba mate-mime-data mate-vfs python-corba python-mate python-mate-desktop

Where does the name come from?

The name "MATE", pronounced Ma-Tay, comes from yerba maté, a species of holly native to subtropical South America. Its leaves contain caffeine and are used to make infusions and a beverage called mate.

Useful references