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] Edit this on Wikidata / 3 August 2021
Written inC, C++, Python[3]
Operating systemUnix-like with X11 (X Window System)
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.[4]


MATE is named after the South American plant yerba mate and tea made from the herb, mate.[5] 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[6] 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.[7][8][9]

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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]


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 from 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.[13]


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.[14]

New features have been added to Caja such as undo/redo[15] and diff viewing for file replacements.[16] 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.[17]


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.[18]

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[19]
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 distributions. The official site lists over thirty, ranging from Arch Linux to Void Linux.[20] The below are several examples.

Arch Linux[edit]

MATE was initially announced on the Arch Linux forum on 18 June 2011,[21] and became an official community package in January 2014.

Debian GNU/Linux[edit]

MATE was initially announced on November 8, 2013 at its official website.[22] MATE Desktop is released as one of Live and installation iso images.


MATE-Compiz spin[23] is one among the different spins of Fedora. This Fedora Spin bundles MATE Desktop with Compiz Fusion.


MATE Desktop is the preferred default desktop of GhostBSD.

Linux Mint[edit]

MATE is one of the three major desktop environments on Linux Mint since version 12 "Lisa",[24][25] and Debian Edition from version 201303 until the release of LMDE 3,[26][27][28][29] with the other two being Xfce and Cinnamon.


MATE Desktop is the default desktop of the Illumos-based operating system OpenIndiana, which is the continuation the former GNOME 2, which was the default desktop of OpenSolaris.


Parabola is a popular Arch derivative and the first Linux distribution to use MATE as its default desktop environment.[30]


Since Flidas alpha (its version 8), Trisquel has begun to adopt MATE 1.18 instead of GNOME desktop environment.

Ubuntu MATE[edit]

In November 2014, the Ubuntu MATE team released version 14.04 LTS, which was supported until April 2019.[31][32] With Ubuntu MATE a dedicated distribution exists since Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.[33]

In March 2015, Ubuntu MATE was granted official Ubuntu flavour status from version 15.04 onwards.[34]


MATE is available in many Linux distributions. One of these recently notable is a Rocky Linux. Some people are not satisfied with the newer GNOME implementations or are a lot of users who simply prefer the older MATE GNOME 2 look and feel. For those people, getting MATE installed in Rocky Linux will provide a nice, stable alternative.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MATE Developers
  2. ^
  3. ^ "MATE". Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  4. ^ "MATE: Install". Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  5. ^ "MATE Desktop Environment - Where does the name come from?", MATE, retrieved 2015-07-03
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "A Gnome 2 Fork: The MATE Desktop Environment", ingeek, 2011-11-17, archived from the original on 2014-02-14, retrieved 2016-12-12
  8. ^ Larabel, Michael (2011-08-17), "A Fork Of GNOME 2: The Mate Desktop", Phoronix, retrieved 2011-12-04
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "MATEwiki".
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Wimpress, Martin (2018-02-07). "MATE 1.20 released". MATE. Retrieved 2021-09-25.
  14. ^ Lefebvre, Clem (2011-12-01), "Important fix for MATE – Feedback needed", The Linux Mint Blog, retrieved 2011-12-10
  15. ^ Karapetsas, Stefano (2012-01-03), "Undo/Redo in Caja", Stefano Karapetsas's Blog, retrieved 2014-04-15
  16. ^ Karapetsas, Stefano (2012-06-17), "What's new in next Caja", Stefano Karapetsas's Blog, retrieved 2014-04-15
  17. ^ "MATE: Wayland". Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Home []". 2012-08-03. Archived from the original on 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2021-09-18.
  19. ^
  20. ^ MATE Desktop Environment
  21. ^ "Mate Desktop Environment - GNOME2 fork". Perberos. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
  22. ^ Karapetsas, Stefano (2013-11-08). "Debian MATE Packaging Team". MATE. Retrieved 2021-09-17.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Lefebvre, Clem (2011-11-26), "Linux Mint 12 Release Notes", Linux Mint, retrieved 2011-12-04
  25. ^ Holwerda, Thom (2011-11-27), "Linux Mint 12 Released", OSNews, retrieved 2011-12-05
  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.
  30. ^ "Get Parabola". ParabolaWiki.
  31. ^ Sneddon, Joey-Elijah. "Ubuntu MATE 14.04 LTS Now Available to Download". Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  32. ^ "Ubuntu MATE Utopic final release/". Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  33. ^
  34. ^ Sneddon, Joey (1 March 2015). "Ubuntu 15.04 Beta Available to Download, Ubuntu MATE Is Now An Official Flavor". OMG Ubuntu. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  35. ^ "MATE Desktop Environment - Documentation". Retrieved 2021-10-02.

External links[edit]