August 26, 2014

How To Install Mate Desktop In Ubuntu 14.04

The other week we saw about installing Cinnamon in Ubuntu. This week we’ll see how to install Mate desktop in Ubuntu 14.04.
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 latest applications. Mate is an official flavor of Linux Mint. While there is also an unofficial flavor of Ubuntu named as Ubuntu Mate.
We will actually use the packages provided by Ubuntu Mate team to easily install Mate desktop environment in Ubuntu 14.04. Please note that the same method is NOT applicable for installing Mate in Linux Mint 17.

Install Mate desktop on Ubuntu 14.04

Before you go on with Mate installation, I must tell you that Mate messes with Unity a little (not a lot). So you may face couple of compatibility issue if you come back to Unity. So no prizes for guessing that you should not try it on production system of if you want a stable system.
The PPAs we are going to use install several third party applications while installing Mate 1.8. Total download size amounts to 350 MB so pay attention to your network connection, if you have data limit or speed constraints.
Okay, so you have been warned :) Now, to install Mate in Ubuntu, open a terminal and use the following commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-core ubuntu-mate-desktop

Using Mate desktop in Ubuntu 14.04

Once you have installed Mate, log out of the system. On the login screen, click on Ubuntu sign, besides the username, to choose a desktop environment:
Change desktop environment in Ubuntu 14.04
In here, you’ll see plenty of options. Choose Mate to use Mate desktop environment:
Using Mate desktop in Ubuntu 14.04
Select that and enter your password and then you will be logged in to Mate desktop environment. Here is how did it look on my notebook. I really liked the Ubuntu Mate background.
Install Mate Desktop in Ubuntu 14.04
In my brief testing, I did not find any visible issue with Mate. But then, I didn’t try a lot of things. Experience was smooth and no glitches were seen.

Going back to Unity from Mate

If you want to switch between Mate and Unity, restart the system (I did not see logout option in my brief testing). At login screen, you can switch between desktop from the right corner screen:
swicth between Unity and Mate in Ubuntu
You may find that there are two network indicator applets running when you switch back to Unity.

Remove Mate desktop from Ubuntu 14.04

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 PPA Purge. Install PPA Purge using the following command:
sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
Once you have installed PPA Purge, use the following commands to purge all the packages installed by those PPAs and revert the system back to what was before:
sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
It just doesn’t end there. Uninstall remaining Mate packages also:
sudo apt-get remove mate-*
sudo apt-get autoremove
This will uninstall (almost) all the Mate packages. So now you won’t even see the Ubuntu Mate background while logging out. Unfortunately, by the time I am writing this article, I still have two issues remaining, one is that I still have two network indicator applets and second is that Unity Greeter is still showing the Mate version. I’ll fix them tomorrow perhaps, as I need to take my “beauty sleep”.
Did you install Mate in Ubuntu 14.04? How is your experience with it? If you face any issues or have questions, feel free to drop a comment. Ciao :)