MATE Desktop Environment

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Tip: MATE is present in the Manjaro repositories and can be installed by running 'sudo pacman -S mate mate-extras'


Tip: This desktop environment is provided through a Manjaro Community Edition or the offical Manjaro repositories and you can find support at the Manjaro Forums. Install and use at your own risk - there will likely be file conflicts to resolve during the installation process.

MATE (pronounced 'Mah-tay') is best known for its use in the popular Linux Mint distribution. Similar to the XFCE desktop environment, a 64 bit installation of Manjaro running MATE uses about 200MB of memory. MATE itself was developed to appease users of the Gnome 2 desktop after the radical transformation of Gnome 3 into a tablet-like interface.

The MATE desktop environment is available from the official Manjaro repositories, there is one alternative repository available for the unstable branch provided by the Mate offical repository.


1. The Offical Manjaro Repository: The advantage of this option is that new users may find using pacman easier than having to go through the process of adding a new repository. The offical Manjaro repository has the current stable release of the MATE Desktop.

2. The Official Unstable MATE Repository: The advantage of this option is that it is from the offical source and has the most bleeding edge features and enhancements, for example built upon GTK3. The dissadvantage is you may have issues with stability and is recommended for advanced users.

Option 1: The Offical Manjaro Repository

Install the MATE Desktop Environment


To install the MATE desktop environment, enter the following command:

sudo pacman -S mate

To additionally install extra MATE-related themes and software applications, then add the command:

sudo pacman -S mate-extra

You will be able to select individual components of the desktop and extras to install or ignore as desired. To do so in either instance, simply enter the number(s) of the corresponding package(s) to install. Otherwise, to install everything (particularly as far as the desktop environment is concerned), just press <enter> when prompted. Once installed, the MATE desktop will be immediately selectable from the login screen. The only exception is if using the SLiM display manager, which will require additional configuration (see below).

Option 2: The Official Unstable MATE Repository

The development version of MATE desktop environment itself can also be downloaded and installed from the official unstable MATE repository. In this instance, it will first be necessary to edit the pacman configuration file in order to add the name and server address of the MATE repository to it. This will allow pacman - Manjaro's package manager - to find, download, and install software packages from the new MATE repository, just like the official Manjaro repositories.

Open the Pacman Configuration File

The syntax of the command to edit the pacman configuration file is:

sudo [text editor] /etc/pacman.conf

For example, if you wish to edit the file within the terminal using nano (a standard terminal-based text editor) then enter:

sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf

Otherwise - if you have installed the full version of Manjaro (i.e. not the NET-Edition) - you may find it easier to use the pre-installed gedit text editor instead. This will open the configuration file up as a document, making it easier to read and edit. To use gedit instead, the command is:

sudo gedit /etc/pacman.conf

Once the pacman configuration file has been opened, don't worry if the contents of this file seem complex and intimidating. It is a very simple process to add the new repository.

Add the Unstable MATE Repository

The MATE repository must be added to /etc/pacman.conf, it must be the first enabled repository in pacman.conf.


SigLevel = Optional TrustAll

Server =$arch

Once your amendments have been completed, save the changes and close the configuration file by:

  • nano: Press CTRL and 'x' to exit, 'y' to save, and <enter> to finish, or
  • gedit: Select the 'save' option and then close the window.

Synchronise the Pacman Database

Once the pacman configuration file has been amended, it will be necessary to synchronise with the newly enabled unstable MATE repository in order to install software from it. To do so, enter the command:

sudo pacman -Syy

Install the Mint Menu (optional)


Unfortunately, perhaps the most popular and distinguishing feature of the MATE desktop - the so-called Mint Menu - is not pre-installed by default. Users will instead encounter a typical (though entirely functional) drop-down menu. As it is not currently possible to install the Mint Menu from the official MATE repository, it must instead be obtained from the Arch User Repository (AUR). To install the Mint Menu - and assuming the necessary software to access the AUR has been installed - enter the following command in to the terminal:

yaourt mintmenu

As illustrated, the appropriate option should be the second one, which is the only Mint Menu version listed specifically for the MATE desktop environment.


Once the Mint Menu has been installed, it will be necessary to log out and then log back in before being able to add it to the MATE panel for use. After logging back in, to add the Mint Menu:

1. Right-click the MATE Panel to bring up the available options

2. Select Add to Panel...

3. Locate the MintMenu (e.g. by scrolling down or by typing mint into the search bar)

4. Highlight the MintMenu and then click the Add Button.

5. Optionally remove the old menu and/or move the MintMenu to the desired position by right-clicking on them, respectively.

Configuring Slim (Where Appropriate)


Tip: If you are not sure whether or not you are using SLiM, then the chances are you are not. SLiM is not currently pre-installed in any Manjaro flavour, and as such, must be installed, enabled, and configured manually.

As illustrated with the LXDM display manager, your existing login screen / display manager will automatically list the MATE desktop environment for selection. The only exception to this is the SLiM display manager, which must be manually configured to do so. In this instance, please see the SLiM Configuration guide in order to use the MATE desktop with it.

See Also