MATE is an open source desktop environment, a fork of the GNOME 2 window manager, specifically designed to be used by Linux OS developers who want to create lightweight, yet usable distributions that run on low-end computers.
Similar to GNOME Classic
Just like the GNOME desktop environment, MATE is comprised of several independent packages, which means that users can install the base and then add as many packages as they want.
When taking a peek inside the desktop environment, we can immediately notice the Caja file manager forked from Nautilus, Pluma text editor forked from Gedit, Eye of MATE image viewer forked from Eye of GNOME, and Atril document viewer forked from Evince.
Additionally, the Engrampa compression utility is a fork of File Roller, the terminal emulator app is called MATE Terminal and it’s a fork of GNOME Terminal, and the Marco window manager has been forked from Metacity.
Under the hood
The project also comprises of a screensaver, the main MATE desktop library, a panel, a control center, and a collection of applets that will expand its default functionality. At the moment, it supports only the GTK+ 2 toolkit, but future releases will definitely introduce support for the modern GTK+ 3 framework, making the project fully compatible with both.
An alternative to popular desktop environments
In only two years, the project proved to be mature enough to compete with consecrated desktop environments, such as Xfce, LXDE and even the fallback session provided in GNOME 3.
Numerous GNU/Linux distributions run on MATE
MATE is known to work (officially) on many Linux operating systems, including Linux Mint, Fedora, Mageia, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Point Linux, Sabayon and Salix. Unofficially, MATE is supported on Arch Linux, Debian, Gentoo, Slackware and Ubuntu Linux distributions, as well as on the FreeBSD, GhostBSD and PC-BSD distributions.
Designed for Linux nostalgics
If you’re a nostalgic and you miss the classic user interface of the GNOME desktop environment, than we have some good news for your: try MATE today!