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.
In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install the MATE Desktop environment on CentOS 8 Stream.
- Recommended OS: Any current CentOS 8 Stream.
- User account: root access
Updating Operating System
Update your CentOS Stream operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:
sudo dnf upgrade --refresh -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@centos-stream ~]$ sudo whoami root
To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on adding a User to Sudoers on CentOS Stream.
To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.
The tutorial will utilize the terminal, which can be found in your show applications menu.
Important Notice Before Installation
Before installing the MATE desktop, create backups or plans if you do not like it and want to roll back. Removing any Desktop 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 the packages were installed, especially for the new and average user.
Unless you have minimal system resources, having multiple desktop environments won’t hinder your system. Often people have several and switch in between.
Install EPEL Repository
The first task is to install the EPEL (Extra Package for Enterprise Linux) repository. This repository has packages maintained on Red Hat Enterprise (RHEL).
Open your terminal, and use the following command.
sudo dnf install epel-release -y
Enable Power Tools Repository
The second task before installing MATE is to enable the power tools repository. This allows the use of your standard Linux package management tools, yum for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and zypper for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, to automatically install the packages you need in the order that is required by the system.
In your terminal, copy and use the following command.
sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled powertools
Next, confirm the repository is enabled using the dnf repolist command.
sudo dnf repolist
Now proceed to the next part of the tutorial and install MATE.
Install MATE on CentOS
Install LightDM for MATE
Before proceeding with the MATE DE installation, it should be advised GDM can sometimes cause issues with logging in with MATE Desktop installed on your CentOS 8 Stream system. However, LightDM works flawlessly and should be installed if any issues persist.
First, enable the Copr repository stenstorp/lightdm.
sudo dnf copr enable stenstorp/lightdm -y
Next, install LightDM support for MATE.
sudo dnf install slick-greeter-mate lightdm-settings -y
Once installed, disable GDM.
sudo systemctl disable gdm
Lastly, enable LightDM.
sudo systemctl enable lightdm
DO NOT RESTART YOUR MACHINE AT THIS POINT.
Install MATE DE
Now with LightDM installed, enable the Copr repository stenstorp/MATE. In your terminal, use the following command.
sudo dnf copr enable stenstorp/MATE -y
Now proceed to install MATE packages.
sudo dnf install NetworkManager-adsl NetworkManager-bluetooth NetworkManager-libreswan-gnome NetworkManager-openvpn-gnome NetworkManager-ovs NetworkManager-ppp NetworkManager-team NetworkManager-wifi NetworkManager-wwan abrt-desktop abrt-java-connector adwaita-gtk2-theme alsa-plugins-pulseaudio atril atril-caja atril-thumbnailer caja caja-actions caja-image-converter caja-open-terminal caja-sendto caja-wallpaper caja-xattr-tags dconf-editor engrampa eom firewall-config gnome-disk-utility gnome-epub-thumbnailer gstreamer1-plugins-ugly-free gtk2-engines gucharmap gvfs-afc gvfs-afp gvfs-archive gvfs-fuse gvfs-gphoto2 gvfs-mtp gvfs-smb initial-setup-gui libmatekbd libmatemixer libmateweather libsecret lm_sensors marco mate-applets mate-backgrounds mate-calc mate-control-center mate-desktop mate-dictionary mate-disk-usage-analyzer mate-icon-theme mate-media mate-menus mate-menus-preferences-category-menu mate-notification-daemon mate-panel mate-polkit mate-power-manager mate-screensaver mate-screenshot mate-search-tool mate-session-manager mate-settings-daemon mate-system-log mate-system-monitor mate-terminal mate-themes mate-user-admin mate-user-guide mozo network-manager-applet nm-connection-editor p7zip p7zip-plugins pluma seahorse seahorse-caja xdg-user-dirs-gtk brisk-menu
Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the installation.
Note, during the installation you will be prompted to import the GPG key to verify the authenticity of the packages.
Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to complete the installation.
Once complete, reboot your system which you can do immediately in your terminal using the following command.
First Look & Verifying MATE Desktop
Once you have restarted your desktop, you will arrive at your login screen.
DO NOT LOG IN STRAIGHT AWAY.
First, you need to verify the desktop environment. This is done by clicking the configuration button next to the sign-in button.
Example (Click Image Expand):
Next, make sure “MATE” is selected as the desktop environment. By default, this should be enabled.
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 but now is running by default along the top however intergrations do exist along the bottom.
You will also find additional MATE applications installed, such as MATE Terminal, MATE System Monitor amongst many others.
Example (Click Image Expand):
To confirm the installation, a handy package to install is Neofetch, and this comes in the EPEL repository that you installed earlier.
To install this package, use the following command in your terminal.
sudo dnf install neofetch -y
Once installed, run the following command in your terminal.
Example output (Click Image Expand):
And that is it, and you have successfully installed the MATE desktop environment on your CentOS 8 Stream operating system.
How to Keep Mate Desktop Environment Updated
Run the standard dnf upgrade command for future updates for the MATE desktop environment and any default packages from the App Stream.
sudo dnf upgrade --refresh
When updates are available, it is the same process to upgrade.
Comments and Conclusion
In the tutorial, you have learned how to install the MATE desktop environment on your CentOS 8 Stream operating system. Overall, it’s a solid option and is generally up to date with the latest releases from MATE.
Ideally, you can install this package and switch around depending on your mood if you have a decent system. If you prefer desktop jumping, it’s worth checking out if the looks appeal to you. I would suggest installing a VM first, then on your main machine if unsure.
For more information on using the MATE desktop environment, visit the official documentation guide.