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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Could MATE Be the Savior of the GNOME 2 Linux Interface? | The VAR Guy

Right or wrong, plenty of Linux users — such as this guy — have been less than happy with the interface changes wrought by the advent of Unity and GNOME 3. Lucky for these people, there’s hope in the form of MATE, a fork of GNOME 2 that bills itself as “a non-intuitive and unattractive desktop for users.” Curious what MATE was all about — and pretty fed up myself with Unity — I recently gave it a spin. Here’s what I found.

It’s true: Try as I have, I just can’t learn to love Unity. The concept itself is fine and I can even live with its biting lack of customizability, but I just can’t take the bugginess anymore. Random things happen when I try to switch between applications — trying to open recently used files via the dash launches Nautilus instead, and the whole thing just generally doesn’t work the way I need it to on a production machine.

True, these may be bugs related to my particular configuration. Also, I should be a good open source citizen by filing reports on Launchpad and all that. But I tend to neglect my civic duties, and I’m tired of blaming myself for the shortcomings of software that I didn’t engineer. I just need stuff to work — like it did in GNOME 2 — and Unity doesn’t.

Since I’ve fared little better with GNOME Shell, even after attempting to use it on both Ubuntu and Fedora, and neither Xfce nor KDE appeals to me very much, I figured I’d see what MATE could do by installing it on my Ubuntu 11.10 system.

Running MATE

There are some PPAs available for MATE, but because the one for Ubuntu is not complete and my CPU needed a workout, I compiled it from the GIT source by following instructions on the Ubuntu forums. They were pretty straightforward, even for a decidedly non-elite hacker such as myself, and all but a couple of non-essential components built successfully.

After compiling and installing, I selected MATE in Ubuntu’s lightdm login screen and was relieved to be presented with a desktop environment that actually conforms to the conventions that have dominated computer interfaces for two decades:


Hello everyone. I've made a GNOME2 fork. I've called it "Mate"...

Well, I was all set to install Mate ( But then I got to reading on the Various Pages for Mate. And I realized that it is going to take a bit more time than I thought. It also looks like I will have to do a bit more reading of the instructions before I do the installation. Then there's the fact that I don't actually need Mate, since I am still running Fedora 14... And I don't plan on switching to Fedora 15 or 16 unless I begin having problems with my Beloved Fedora 14 System or start getting left behind on Security Updates and things like that. Things that matter to me... Also, I noticed that there is a bit of a controversy over the "Proprietary License" the is used for Mate ( I tried to view the License and the page just gave me an Error message, saying "Content not found". See this page for the info and link, Still, I hope that they get it all worked out. Because I am really hoping for an alternative to Gnome 3, KDE, LXDE or XFCE. When the time comes that I have to give up, Gnome 2:(

Also, there is "Project BlueBubble, which aims to bring Gnome 2.32 packages in a Fedora-15 compatible way, breaking the least amount of packages possible. It’ll be a repository you can set up, and just “yum install gnome-desktop-classic”to get up and running. The only catch? It’s either Shell or Classic, a lot of packages conflict, but I’m trying my best to allow Gnome-Classic with Gnome 3.0 packages like gedit and totem. The final goal? To provide installable media (32 and 64bit DVDs and CDs) that will allow you to install a straight up “Fedora Classic” experience.This will be a remix though, which means we’ll have to shed the cool branding, replacing it with blue, empty circles." I'll be looking into this too...

GNOME2 fork - I've called it Mate
Could MATE Be the Savior of the GNOME 2 Linux Interface? | The VAR Guy
Unity | Unity
Mate Desktop Environment - GNOME2 fork - Ubuntu Forums
Mate Desktop Environment - GNOME2 fork (Page 1) / Community Contributions / Arch Linux Forums
MATE - ArchWiki
AUR (en) - mate-desktop-environment
perberos/Mate-Desktop-Environment - GitHub
MATE Desktop Environment
Mate Desktop Environment - Browse Files at
Mate Desktop Environment
Club-Mate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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