Installing MATE Desktop Environment on Ubuntu

Screenshot tutorial to show you how to install MATE desktop in Ubuntu and other versions and how to completely remove it.
Warp Terminal

Recently, I wrote about installing Cinnamon in Ubuntu. In this tutorial, I'll share how to install MATE desktop in Ubuntu.

I think you might have already heard of MATE desktop environment. A fork of now-dead classic GNOME 2, MATE provides the classic desktop experience with the latest applications. Soon after its release, MATE started to be considered one of the best desktop environments for Linux.

You can guess the popularity of the MATE desktop from the fact that Ubuntu MATE is one of the official Ubuntu flavors. Even Linux Mint has a MATE version.

We will actually use the packages provided by Ubuntu Mate team to easily install MATE desktop environment in Ubuntu.

Please note that the same method MAY NOT be applicable for installing MATE in Linux Mint.

Install MATE desktop on Ubuntu

Before you go on with the MATE installation, I must tell you that sometimes the desktop environments conflict with each other. It’s possible that you may face a couple of compatibility issues if you come back to GNOME.

Okay, so you have been warned, let’s see how to install MATE in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu has the MATE Desktop in its repositories now, so there is no need to add any PPAs.

You should ensure that our system is fully updated before installing a new Desktop Environment.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt install ubuntu-mate-desktop

As the last step of installation, you’ll have the choice to choose between “lightdm” and “gdm3” which are the login screens for MATE and GNOME respectively. Choose lightdm for a full MATE experience.

Using MATE desktop in Ubuntu

Once you have installed the MATE desktop, log out of the system. On the login screen, click on the Ubuntu sign beside the username to choose a desktop environment.

Here, you’ll see plenty of options. Choose MATE to use the MATE desktop environment:

Select MATE desktop environment in Ubuntu
Select MATE here

Select that and enter your regular password and then you will be logged in to the MATE desktop environment. Here is how it looks on my laptop. I really liked the Ubuntu MATE background.

MATE homescreen
Ubuntu MATE desktop

In my brief testing, I found no visible issue with MATE. But then, I didn’t try a lot of things. The experience was smooth, and no glitches were seen.

I advise reading the MATE customization guide to learn how to change the appearance of the MATE desktop.

How to Customize Ubuntu MATE Desktop [Complete Guide]
This beginner’s guide shows you various ways to customize your MATE desktop environment to change its look and feel.

Going back to GNOME from Mate

If you want to switch between MATE and GNOME, log out of the system. Then using the same prompt we used to select MATE, select Ubuntu (Default).

back to gnome DE after installing MATE desktop on Ubuntu
Back to GNOME after installing MATE desktop on Ubuntu

Remove MATE desktop from Ubuntu

Okay! So you tried MATE and you did not like it. Now, how to uninstall MATE from Ubuntu? To do that, we shall be using the apt remove commands as follows:

sudo apt remove -y ubuntu-mate-desktop mate-* ubuntu-mate-* plymouth-theme-ubuntu-mate-* lightdm
sudo apt autoremove -y
sudo apt install --reinstall -y gdm3

This will uninstall (almost) all the MATE packages. So now you won’t even see the Ubuntu MATE background while logging out.

After this, we’ll reboot our system to fully restore it back to the default Ubuntu DE, i.e. GNOME.

More DEs can be installed on Ubuntu

The thing about Linux is that you can easily install any other desktop environment on top of your current system.

I already mentioned installing Cinnamon on Ubuntu.

How to Install Cinnamon Desktop on Ubuntu
This tutorial shows you how to install the Cinnamon desktop environment on Ubuntu. Cinnamon is the default desktop environment of Linux Mint. Unlike the GNOME desktop environment in Ubuntu, Cinnamon is a more traditional but elegant-looking desktop environment with a bottom panel, app menu, etc…

Similarly, you can also install KDE on Ubuntu.

How to Install KDE Desktop Environment on Ubuntu
This screenshot tutorial demonstrates the steps to install KDE Plasma desktop environment on Ubuntu Linux. In the world of Linux desktop environments, the ones that dominate are GNOME and KDE. There are several other desktop environments but these two are the leaders. Ubuntu used to have U…

Installing Budgie desktop on Ubuntu is equally simple.

Installing Budgie Desktop on Ubuntu [Quick Guide]
Brief: Learn how to install Budgie desktop on Ubuntu in this step-by-step tutorial. Among all the various Ubuntu versions, Ubuntu Budgie is the most underrated one. It looks elegant and it’s not heavy on resources. Read this Ubuntu Budgie review or simply watch this video to see what Ubunt…

🗨 Did you install MATE in Ubuntu? How is your experience with it? If you face any issues or have questions, feel free to drop a comment.

About the author
Abhishek Prakash

Abhishek Prakash

Created It's FOSS 11 years ago to share my Linux adventures. Have a Master's degree in Engineering and years of IT industry experience. Huge fan of Agatha Christie detective mysteries 🕵️‍♂️

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