MATE Desktop presentation at the openSUSE Conference 2013

July 28, 2013
linux open-source mate development

Stefano Karapetsas gave a fine presentation on MATE Desktop at the openSUSE Conference 2013.

MATE Desktop

I took the liberty to document his presentation here.

Stefano started with a brief introduction to the MATE Desktop. He explained how we should pronounce the word “MATE”. It’s actually derived from a species of holly called Yerba Mate (which originates from South America). So, the word is pronounced “maté” and not “mate” as in “mating“.

He goes on and elaborates on the transition of the Gnome desktop from Gnome 2.32 to Gnome 3. He quotes Gnome 3 as a nice desktop environment but also highlights the fact that it is very different from what Gnome 2 was. Shortly after Gnome 3 came out Perberos announced this on Arch Linux forum (June 2011):

Hello everyone, I’ve made a GNOME2 fork. I’ve called it “MATE”. MATE Desktop Environment, a non-intuitive and Unattractive Desktop for users, using traditional computing desktop metaphor.

Linux Mint and Salix were the first Linux distributions to release their main editions with MATE Desktop. First Colo GmbH, a German hosting company donated server to the MATE Desktop project and thereby started the website, wiki, forums and IRC etc. MATE mailing lists can be found at : and development files are shared on Github.

Next was a question: Why MATE?

Stefano explains the differences amongst desktop environments like Gnome 3, Classic, Flashback, LXDE & XFCE. He then highlights the reasons as to why the legacy of Gnome 2 was continued through MATE. He displays the main improvements brought in MATE 1.6 release (like removal of obsolete technologies, support for GTK3 etc).

MATE 1.6 is the result of 8 months of intense development and contains 1800 contributions by 39 people and more than 150 translators.

New features also include:

Option to center new windows New panel arguments (––reset, ––run–dialog) Close windows with the middle click on button New themes for notifications MPRIS2 support Support for compiz and metacity Stefano highlights new features & improvements brought in the file manager Caja. The success of MATE 1.6 is summarized as :

Included in some big distributions like Fedora, Linux Mint, Sabayon, Salix

Packages are available for many distributions Arch Linux, Debian, Gentoo, openSUSE, Slackware and Ubuntu.

A growing community ~ 70 people always on #mate
~ 10 active contributors
~ 1100+ members and 5000+ posts on official forum
~ 1400+ comments on website

MATE goals are explained as being a continuity of the traditional desktop and aiming to be the alternative for lower-end hardware. Stefano tells about the MATE University which comprises of documentation for developers of all levels.

The next slide in the presentation is a roadmap for the future of MATE. It is summarized as:

The roadmap is also available online at

Stefano talks about MATE for openSUSE which is currently available at He also highlights the availability of MATE for the Raspberry Pi and LTSP.

The last slide points out channels through which we can contribute to the MATE Project.

####Question time

One person asks if MATE will be available in SUSE Linux Enterprise. To this Stefano answers he hopes MATE will be included in openSUSE for now but can’t say for SUSE Enterprise.

My heartfelt gratitude to the MATE team and Stefano for contributing this presentation at the openSUSE Conference.

Video link:

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