MATE (software)

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A typical MATE desktop environment
Developer(s)Clement Lefebvre, Perberos, Stefano Karapetsas, et al.[1]
Initial releaseAugust 19, 2011; 10 years ago (2011-08-19)
Stable release
1.26[2][3][4] Edit this on Wikidata / 3 August 2021
Written inC, C++, Python[5]
Operating systemUnix-like
TypeDesktop environment
LicenseGPLv2, LGPLv2

MATE (/ˈmɑːt/) is a desktop environment composed of free and open-source software that runs on Linux, BSD, and illumos operating systems.[6]


MATE is named after the South American plant yerba mate and tea made from the herb, mate.[7] The name was originally all capital letters to follow the nomenclature of other Free Software desktop environments like KDE and LXDE. The recursive backronym "MATE Advanced Traditional Environment" was subsequently adopted by most of the MATE community, again in the spirit of Free Software like GNU ("GNU's Not Unix!"). The use of a new name, instead of GNOME, avoids naming conflicts with GNOME 3 components.


An Argentine user of Arch Linux, named Perberos started the MATE project[8] to fork and continue GNOME 2 in response to the negative reception of GNOME 3, which had replaced its traditional taskbar (GNOME Panel) with GNOME Shell. MATE aims to maintain and continue the latest GNOME 2 code base, frameworks, and core applications.[9][10][11]

MATE was initially announced for Debian on November 8, 2013 at its official website.[12]

MATE became an official Arch Linux community package in January 2014.

Component applications[edit]

Showing a main component of "Caja" file-manager

MATE has forked a number of applications which originated as GNOME Core Applications, and developers have written several other applications from scratch. The forked applications have new names, most of them from Spanish.[13] MATE applications include:


screenshot of Caja file manager: v.1.26
Caja-about, version 1.26

Caja, which means "box" in Spanish, is a file manager forked from GNOME Files, formerly known as Nautilus. Caja functions as one of the core component of MATE desktop environment. Ever since the fork Caja has been developed and added new features.


Caja has many functions such as generating a folder and document, displaying file and folders, searching and managing files and installation or uninstallation of fonts. Caja can handle various kinds of file formats.

Caja added improvements at the recent release of MATE 1.26.[14] Some of them are:

  • In Caja, users can select a new Bookmarks sidebar.
  • Caja gained support for formatting drives from the context menu.

Caja also provides many extensions like:

  • Python:caja-rename
  • Python:caja-admin
  • libcaja:seahorse
  • atril
  • engrampa

and so on, still now under development.


Caja is a popular file manager in Linux. One reason for this is that the Caja script extension allows users to add scripts easily.[15]


This is a text editor, which is a fork from Gedit. Pluma means "pen" in Spanish. See Pluma for details.


This is a document viewer, which is a fork of Evince. Atril means "lectern" in Spanish. For example, unlike Evince, Atril has a unique feature, which can handle EPUB document formats. It also equipped with caret navigation.[16]


This is a file archiver from File Roller, later named as Archive Manager. Engrampa means "to staple" in Spanish.

Eye of MATE[edit]

This is a image viewer, also known as "eom".

MATE Calculator[edit]

This is a calculator, also known as mate-calc.

MATE Control Center[edit]

This is a main graphical preferences of MATE desktop environment.

MATE System Monitor[edit]

This is a graphical system monitor on the user's desktop.

MATE Terminal[edit]

This is a terminal emulator (from GNOME Terminal).


A window manager, fork from Metacity. It means "frame" in Spanish.


A menu item editor, which is a fork from Alacarte. It means "waiter" in Spanish.


Screenshot of MATE 1.10, GTK3 version, on Manjaro Linux

MATE fully supports the GTK 3 application framework. The project is supported by Ubuntu MATE lead developer Martin Wimpress and by the Linux Mint development team:

We consider MATE yet another desktop, just like KDE, Gnome 3, Xfce etc... and based on the popularity of Gnome 2 in previous releases of Linux Mint, we are dedicated to support it and to help it improve. The most popular Linux desktop was, and arguably is, Gnome 2.[17]

New features have been added to Caja such as undo/redo[18] and diff viewing for file replacements.[19] MATE 1.6 removes some deprecated libraries, moving from mate-conf (a fork of GConf) to GSettings, and from mate-corba (a fork of GNOME's Bonobo) to D-Bus.

One of the aims of the MATE developers is to provide a traditional user experience while using the newest technologies. In MATE 1.20, which was released in February 2018, support for HiDPI was added and the GTK+ version got increased to 3.22. The MATE 1.22 release migrated many programs from Python 2 to Python 3 and from dbus-glib to GDBus. In an upcoming version, support for Wayland will be added.[20]


MATE adopted the following philosophy as its project: Minimalism, KISS principle, Cowboy coding and Literate programming. This philosophy was seen on a page at the old official wiki site.[21]

Release history[edit]

Screenshot of a PC-BSD 10.1.2 desktop (MATE) with dual monitor (dual head, pivot). The running free and open-source (FOSS) programs are: GIMP, OpenShot Video Editor, file manager, Eric Python development IDE. Also shown: Minecraft 1.8.7 (with "Forge" mods).
Date Version
2011-06-18 Announced at Arch Linux forum[22]
2011-08-19 Initial release[citation needed]
2012-04-16 1.2
2012-07-30 1.4
2013-04-02 1.6
2014-03-04 1.8
2015-06-11 1.10
2015-11-05 1.12
2016-04-08 1.14
2016-09-21 1.16
2017-03-13 1.18
2018-02-07 1.20
2019-03-18 1.22
2020-02-10 1.24
2021-08-03 1.26

(Notice) There are an odd number of versions between each official release. They are treated as versions under development, and are not announced as official releases.


MATE is available in many Linux distributions and Unix-like operating systems. The official site lists over thirty, ranging from Arch Linux to Void Linux.[23] The below are several examples.

MATE is the default desktop environment for:

MATE is a desktop environment available for:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ MATE Developers
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "MATE 1.26 released"; author name string: Johannes Unruh; publication date: 10 August 2021.
  5. ^ "MATE". Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  6. ^ "MATE: Install". Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  7. ^ "MATE Desktop Environment - Where does the name come from?", MATE, retrieved 2015-07-03
  8. ^ "Mate Desktop Environment - GNOME2 fork (Page 1) / Community Contributions / Arch Linux Forums". 2014-08-21. Archived from the original on 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2021-10-01.
  9. ^ "A Gnome 2 Fork: The MATE Desktop Environment", ingeek, 2011-11-17, archived from the original on 2014-02-14, retrieved 2016-12-12
  10. ^ Larabel, Michael (2011-08-17), "A Fork Of GNOME 2: The Mate Desktop", Phoronix, retrieved 2011-12-04
  11. ^ Laishram, Ricky (2011-08-04), Linus Torvalds Ditches GNOME For Xfce, Digitizor, retrieved 2021-05-28, While you are at it, could you also fork gnome, and support a gnome-2 environment? – Linus Torvalds.
  12. ^ Karapetsas, Stefano (2013-11-08). "Debian MATE Packaging Team". MATE. Retrieved 2021-09-17.
  13. ^ "MATEwiki".
  14. ^ "MATE 1.26 released". 10 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Slant - Caja vs GNOME Files (Nautilus) detailed comparison as of 2022".
  16. ^ Wimpress, Martin (2018-02-07). "MATE 1.20 released". MATE. Retrieved 2021-09-25.
  17. ^ Lefebvre, Clem (2011-12-01), "Important fix for MATE – Feedback needed", The Linux Mint Blog, retrieved 2011-12-10
  18. ^ Karapetsas, Stefano (2012-01-03), "Undo/Redo in Caja", Stefano Karapetsas's Blog, retrieved 2014-04-15
  19. ^ Karapetsas, Stefano (2012-06-17), "What's new in next Caja", Stefano Karapetsas's Blog, retrieved 2014-04-15
  20. ^ "MATE: Wayland". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Home []". 2012-08-03. Archived from the original on 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2021-09-18.
  22. ^ "Mate Desktop Environment - GNOME2 fork / Community Contributions / Arch Linux Forums".
  23. ^ MATE Desktop Environment
  24. ^ " Parrot". 2022-03-31. Archived from the original on 2022-03-31. Retrieved 2022-04-01.
  25. ^ "Fedora MATE-Compiz Desktop".
  26. ^ "Linux Mint Debian 201303 released!". The Linux Mint Blog. 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  27. ^ "Linux Mint 13 MATE". Desktop Linux Reviews. May 24, 2012. Archived from the original on October 11, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  28. ^ "Linux Mint 14 MATE". Desktop Linux Reviews. January 2, 2013. Archived from the original on October 11, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
  29. ^ "Linux Mint 15 Olivia MATE review". Linux and Life. June 2, 2013. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-09.

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External links[edit]