Install MATE Desktop Environment on Debian 11 Bullseye

For those not familiar with MATE Desktop Environment, it continues 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.

In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install the MATE Desktop environment on Debian 11 Bullseye.

Update Debian System

Update your Debian operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Install MATE Desktop

By default, MATE comes in Debian repositories, making the installation relatively easy. There are two installation options, one classed as the basic installation and the other features all the extras, which may be more bloated for older hardware and systems with few resources to spare.

To install MATE, choose from one of the two options below.

Install MATE Desktop basic:

sudo apt install mate-desktop-environment

Install MATE Desktop with extras:

sudo apt install mate-desktop-environment-extras

Example output:

Type “Y,” then press the “ENTER KEY” to proceed with the installation.

The installation has many packages to download and install so that the time will vary on system hardware and especially internet connection.

Once complete, you will need to reboot your system for the new changes to take effect. This can be done quickly by using the following command in your terminal.


First Look & Verifying MATE Desktop

Once you have restarted your desktop, you will arrive at your login screen.


First, you need to verify the desktop environment. This is done by clicking the configuration button which is located in the bottom right-hand corner.

Next, select “MATE” instead of the default “GNOME.”

Example (Click Image Expand):

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 such as language changing, mail, system notifications, and power settings, to name just a few.

Example (Click Image Expand):

How to Install MATE Desktop Environment on Debian 11 BullseyePin
Install MATE Desktop Environment on Debian 11 Bullseye 6

To confirm the installation, a handy package to install is Neofetch which is featured in Debian’s repositories.

To install this package, use the following command in your terminal.

sudo apt install neofetch -y

Once installed, run the following command in your terminal.


Example output (Click Image Expand):

As above, you have successfully installed MATE Desktop on your Debian 11 Desktop.

Update/Upgrade MATE Desktop Packages

Run the standard apt update && upgrade commands for future updates for the MATE desktop environment and any default APT packages.

sudo apt update

When updates are available, run the standard upgrade command as you would with any other apt package.

sudo apt upgrade

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have successfully learned how to install the MATE Desktop Environment on Debian 11 Bullseye. 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.

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