How to Install MATE Desktop Environment on AlmaLinux 8

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 learn how to install the MATE Desktop environment on AlmaLinux 8 Workstation.

Update AlmaLinux System

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

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh -y

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

Now proceed to the next part of the tutorial and install MATE.

Install MATE Desktop Environment

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 system. However, LightDM works flawlessly and should be installed.

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


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 -y

Once complete, reboot your system, which you can do immediately in your terminal using the following command.


Login & First Look MATE Desktop Environment

Once you have restarted your desktop, you will arrive at your login screen. By default, MATE Desktop Environment should now be set as default over GNOME.

If, for some reason, this hasn’t occurred, click on the CLOG next to the sign-in button and change to “MATE”.

Example (Click Image Expand):

Install MATE Desktop Environment on AlmaLinux 8

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 is now running by default along the top; however, integrations exist along the bottom.

The first thing I would advise is to go to your themes/wallpaper and change the default colors as the default are not that pretty. Most users familiar with MATE know that they can customize this desktop environment quite a bit.

Example (Click Image Expand):

Install MATE Desktop Environment on AlmaLinux 8

You will also find additional MATE applications installed, such as MATE Terminal MATE System Monitor, amongst many others.

Example (Click Image Expand):

Install MATE Desktop Environment on AlmaLinux 8

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):

Install MATE Desktop Environment on AlmaLinux 8
Install MATE Desktop Environment on AlmaLinux 8

And that is it, and you have successfully installed the MATE desktop environment.

Update/Upgrade MATE Desktop Environment Packages

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 AlmaLinux 8 Workstation. 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. If unsure, I would suggest installing a VM first, then on your main machine.

For more information on using the MATE desktop environment, visit the official documentation guide.


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