MATE

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From MATE homepage:

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.

Installation

MATE is not packaged in the Official Repositories. MATE can either be installed from an unofficial repository or from the AUR. See Unofficial User Repositories#mate for details on adding the MATE repository to /etc/pacman.conf.

Once the repository has been added you can install the core MATE components by installing the mate group. You can also install the mate-extra group which contains additional MATE utilities and applications.

Tip: 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 maximise all windows and provides an application switcher applet. It is not part of the mate or mate-extra groups but can be installed seperately if desired.

Starting

MATE can be started via a display manager or manually.

Graphical log-in

Just select MATE from the Sessions list of you favorite Display Manager.

LightDM

The recommended display manager for MATE 1.6, by the MATE team, on Arch Linux is [LightDM].

GDM-old

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.

KDM

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:

SessionsDirs=/usr/share/config/kdm/sessions,/usr/share/apps/kdm/sessions,/usr/share/xsessions

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

Manually

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.

GNOME 2 Applications

MATE is largely composed of GNOME 2 applications and utilities, forked and renamed to avoid conflicting with GNOME3. 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.
  • GNOME Terminal is renamed MATE Terminal.

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

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.

Tips & Tricks

MATE's Control Center doesn't offer as many options as other desktop environments, but several preferences can be controlled in dconf or gsettings. Changes in dconf and gsettings are applied immediately.

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

...to 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

Enabling bluetooth

MATE 1.6 requires bluez4AUR which is only available in the AUR. To enable the Bluetooth stack in MATE 1.6 install mate-bluetoothAUR from the AUR using your favourite AUR package manager. If you want to enable Personal File Sharing over Bluetooth you'll also need to install mate-user-share-bluez4AUR because mate-user-share (in the package repository) disables Bluetooth completely:

Also make sure the the bluetooth service is enabled and started.

sudo systemctl start bluetooth
sudo systemctl enable bluetooth

You will need to log out and back in again for the Bluetooth applet to show up.

Use a different window manager with MATE

The window manager is changeable in two ways:

  • Killing MATE's window manager (marco) and starting your prefered one (this method is not recommended!)

Edit your .xinitrc as follow:

exec mate-session
killall marco
exec awesome

and replace "awesome" with the window manager of your choice.

  • Specifying the desired window manager in dconf:
$ dconf write /org/mate/desktop/session/required-components/windowmanager "'awesome'"

and replace "awesome" with the window manager of your choice.

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).

Change window placement of new windows

By default, new windows are placed in the top-left corner. To center new windows on creation, edit the org.mate.marco.general.center-new-windows key:

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

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">
      <default>'/usr/share/archlinux/wallpaper/archlinux-underground.jpg'</default>
      <summary>Picture Filename</summary>   
      <description>File to use for the background image.</description>
    </key>

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.

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

To ensure a consistent cursor theme edit ~/.icons/default/index.theme to include:

[Icon Theme]
Inherits=mate

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