Linux Mint – Using the MATE Edition of Linux Mint

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While the Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint is often considered the default (due to its popularity), by no means is it the only edition worth trying out. Cinnamon is a very appealing and functional desktop, but it may not run well on older machines that lack the hardware resources to run a desktop with as much eye candy as Cinnamon. In this appendix, we’ll discuss the MATE edition of Mint, which runs better on older hardware. Despite the fact that it runs better on older computers, many people will often run the MATE edition on newer computers too, so you may want to give it a try even if your computer is a beast.

In this appendix, we will discuss the following topics:

  • Introducing MATE
  • Understanding the differences between MATE and Cinnamon
  • Launching applications
  • Customizing MATE

Introducing MATE

MATE (pronounced Mah-Tay) is a desktop environment available for Linux. Although Mint ships a special release of their distributions which opts for MATE instead of Cinnamon, MATE is by no means limited to Linux Mint. It is what we refer to as a fork in the Linux world. Essentially, a fork is where a developer or group of developers takes an existing project and creates a different project from it. In some cases, a forked project may be very similar to the original, but over time, it becomes its own project altogether.

The origin of MATE goes back to when the third major version of GNOME was released. Although GNOME 3.x has come a long way since its inception, a lot of users were less than enthused with the changes in GNOME 3.x over that of GNOME 2.x. MATE is appealing to those who prefer the older 2.x releases of GNOME over the newer 3.x series. In addition, MATE generally runs better on older hardware, and may be appealing to users who don’t prefer a great deal of flashy effects with their environment and who want something that puts more focus onto the applications.

You can read more about the MATE project at the following URL:

http://mate-desktop.org

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