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Revision as of 21:41, 15 January 2014 by Kaede (Talk | contribs) (LightDM)

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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.


MATE is not packaged in the Official Repositories. MATE can either be installed from an unofficial repository or from the AUR. Please see the MATE wiki for instructions on adding the repository and signing the developer key.

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 separately if desired.


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.


The MATE team recommends LightDM as the display manager with the lightdm-gtk2-greeter greeter.


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.


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 GNOME 3. 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

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.

# 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

You can also use:

# pacman -R $(pacman -Qtdq)

to remove any orphaned packages. Packages which are not orphaned are probably still required.

Note: The command to remove orphaned packages will need to be executed multiple times to ensure that all packages are cleaned up.
Warning: When removing the deprecated libraries take care to not remove other important packages as well.

Bluetooth applet

The MATE bluetooth applet currently requires Bluez4 which has been deprecated. If you need a bluetooth applet in MATE you will have to install mate-bluetoothAUR and bluez4AUR from the AUR. If you want to enable Personal File Sharing over Bluetooth you will also need to install mate-user-share-bluez4AUR because the packaged version of mate-user-shareAUR has had the bluetooth component removed.

Tip: It may be advisable to install bluez version 5 instead and access bluetooth functionality from the command line. For more information please consult the Bluetooth article.

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 individual icons

$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/computer-icon-visible false
$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/home-icon-visible false
$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/network-icon-visible false
$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/trash-icon-visible false
$ dconf write /org/mate/caja/desktop/volumes-visible false

Replace "false" with "true" for the icons to reappear.

Hide all desktop icons

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

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.

  • 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 mywindowmanager

and replace "mywindowmanager" with the name of the window manager of your choice.

Note: This method is relevant only for those who start the MATE session using the startx command. Users of display managers will need to use one of the previous two methods.

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 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">
      <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.

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]

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