How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

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, which may entice users to switch from Ubuntu altogether.

Ubuntu’s MATE Desktop edition is famous for being lightweight, fast, and stable, a community-driven project, and a great alternative to Ubuntu’s stock Gnome. At the end of the tutorial, you will have learned how to install Ubuntu MATE on your Ubuntu 20.04 system.

Prerequisites

  • Recommended OS: Ubuntu 20.04 or higher
  • 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:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@ubuntu ~]$ sudo whoami
root

If you have not set up a sudo user account and would like to, visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Ubuntu.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su

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.

Example output:

How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

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

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

During the installation, you will see the following prompt window.

Example:

How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

As the above output has stated, this message informs you about which display manager to choose. For Ubuntu MATE, this will be “lightdm”. Press the “TAB” key to select <Ok> and press your “ENTER KEY” to proceed.

Example:

How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

Once complete, you will need to reboot your system for the new changes to take effect.

Restart by typing the following command:

reboot

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.

Example:

How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

DO NOT LOG IN STRAIGHT AWAY. First, you need to change 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)”.

Example:

How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

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.

Example:

How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

To confirm the installation, a handy package to install is Screenfetch. To install this package, use the following command in your terminal.

sudo apt install screenfetch -y

Once installed, run the following command in your terminal.

screenfetch

Example output:

How to Install MATE Desktop on Ubuntu 20.04

As the above output has shown, you have successfully installed MATE 1.24.0 on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa.

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have successfully learned how to install the MATE Desktop Environment on Ubuntu 20.04. 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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