MATE SlackBuilds

I have been following the development of the MATE SlackBuilds (MSB) project for quite some time. Finally, I decided to give MATE a try. I wanted to have a relatively clean system before I install, since some of the packages provided by MSB are also available at SlackBuilds.org. I say “relatively”, because I wanted to keep the -multilib packages from AlienBob and sbopkg. So, I did

slackpkg clean-system

and removed anything that had the _SBo extension. Then, I run sbopkg and went to the Packages menu, just to make sure… I also removed the XFCE series, since I do not need two GTK based desktops:

slackpkg remove xfce

I am using the slackpkg+ extension, so I opened and modified /etc/slackpkg/slackpkgplus.conf, as suggested at the MSB howto:

# List repositories you want to use (defined below)
# remember to launch 'slackpkg update' if you modify that row.
REPOPLUS=( slackpkgplus restricted alienbob multilib msb )

Add this, too on some empty line:

# MATE SlackBuilds
MIRRORPLUS['msb']=http://slackware.org.uk/msb/14.1/1.8/x86_64/

Then just run:

slackpkg update gpg
slackpkg update
slackpkg install msb

It installed like a breeze! I then selected it as the default desktop for my user from xwmconfig:
Screenshot

There are many reasons to like MATE. It is visually appealing, uncluttered and overall feels complete out-of-the-box. Here is an excerpt from the ChangeLog (Sun May 4 07:32:09 CEST 2014) of Microlinux:

The MATE desktop environment has proven to be as rock-solid as Xfce. The Caja file manager offers more functionality than Thunar while being visually more appealing. Basic desktop applications like a simple text editor, a document viewer or an archive manager are already shipping with the base desktop. Multimedia hotkey support is perfect, as well as a number of tiny details. With all this, MATE stays light on system resources and runs perfectly even on very old hardware.

One problem that I encountered was that playing with the icon sizes of the file manager is a bit buggy. I had to log off and back in for the changes to take effect. Otherwise, the desktop is very responsive. Many thanks to Willy Sudiarto Raharjo and Chess Griffin for their work!

There are many already enough screenshots at the MATE and MSB web-pages, but here we go:
Screenshot2

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