For those not familiar with MATE Desktop Environment, it is the continuation of GNOME 2. It is famous for being lightweight, fast, and stable that runs on Linux and most BSD operating systems. MATE is also an excellent choice for a lower-end system or those looking to remain efficient on system resources. Also, a dedicated Ubuntu MATE edition exists for this desktop environment, enticing users to switch from Ubuntu altogether.
In Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indri, MATE desktop 1.26 is the default version that brings Wayland support extension, which reaches applications in the environment such as ATRIL, System Monitor, Pluma Text Editor, and Terminal Emulator amongst the top changes. For a complete list of changes, visit the changelog wiki.
In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install MATE Desktop 1.26 on your Ubuntu 21.10 operating system.
- Recommended OS: Ubuntu 21.10
- User account: A user account with sudo or root access.
Update Operating System
Update your Ubuntu operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.
To verify sudo status on your account:
Example output showing sudo status:
[joshua@ubuntu ~]$ sudo whoami root
To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on Adding to Add a User to Sudoers on Ubuntu.
To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.
Warning About Removal of MATE
Before installing MATE, create backups or plans if you do not like it and want to roll back to Ubuntu. Removing any DE environment is messy and will lead to system instabilities and random applications still installed. Overall, it is a painstaking process to revert to the original state before MATE was installed, especially for the new and average user.
Overall, removal can be done, but it is far better to re-install a fresh copy of Ubuntu and wipe the system clean as it will take far less time, so having a backup plan, especially when first trying out any alternative desktop environment such as MATE, is very important unless you do not care about wiping your system clean, to begin with.
Install MATE Desktop
By default, MATE comes in all Ubuntu repositories, and this makes the installation relatively easy.
To install MATE, open your terminal and type the following command:
sudo apt install ubuntu-mate-desktop
Note, using (CTRL+ALT+T) will on your keyboard instantly open a terminal instance on Ubuntu.
Type “Y”, then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation of MATE Desktop.
The installation has many packages to download and install, so that the time will vary on system hardware and especially internet connection. Overall, the downloadable size is roughly 700MB, and the extent required afterward in disk space is around 2.6GB.
During the installation, you will see the following prompt window.
As the above output has stated, this message informs you about which display manager to choose. For the MATE desktop environments, this will be “lightdm”. Press the “TAB” key to select <Ok> and press your “ENTER KEY” to proceed.
Once complete, you will need to reboot your system for the new changes to take effect.
Restart by typing the following command:
First Look & Verifying MATE Desktop
Once you have restarted your Ubuntu system, you will first come to a new login screen that is entirely different with a lovely green-looking theme.
DO NOT LOG IN STRAIGHT AWAY. First, you need to verify the desktop environment. This is done by clicking the configuration button in the top right-hand corner of the login window, to the right of your username, and selecting “MATE” instead of “Ubuntu (Default)”.
Once logged in, you will notice quite a few UI changes besides the apparent color and background changes. The taskbar is now similar to a more windows type of taskbar, along with more integrations in the top right-hand corner of services where the time display is.
Even Firefox that is the default browser of choice, has seen some nice improvements.
To confirm the installation, a handy package to install is Neofetch. By default, this should have been installed with MATE.
To install this package, use the following command in your terminal.
sudo apt install neonfetch -y
Once installed, run the following command in your terminal.
As the above output has shown, you have successfully installed MATE 1.24.0 on Ubuntu 21.10 Impish Indri.
How to Update MATE Desktop
Run the standard apt command for future updates for the MATE desktop environment and Ubuntu 21.10 default packages.
sudo apt update
When updates are available, it is the same process to upgrade.
sudo apt upgrade
Comments and Conclusion
In the tutorial, you have successfully learned how to install the MATE Desktop Environment on Ubuntu. Overall, MATE is a great community project for those wanting a more stable and Ideal for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops, and netbooks and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor.
For more information on using the MATE desktop environment, visit the official documentation guide.