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The GNOME 2 Fork ‘Mate’

Whether it’s Unity in Ubuntu, GNOME Shell in Fedora, or the number 4 suffixing KDE, there are some users who don’t welcome change with open arms.

For those people not united behind Unity, remain unsure about GNOME Shell, and couldn’t care less about KDE listen up: the GNOME 2 desktop has been forked.

Some might say it was forked a long time ago. Ho ho ho. (Enough of that – ‘the world’)

The fork is called ‘Mate’ and is described by its developers as “a non-intuitive and unattractive desktop for users, using traditional computing desktop metaphor.” Not exactly the best selling point, but most folk seeking out the fork will already be familiar with its pros and cons.

The emphasis seems to be on maintaining existing GNOME 2.x packages rather than adding new features or fixing bugs, and ‘Mate’ is currently only packaged for Arch Linux users.

Further details, downloads and instructions on setting it up were available on the Mate web-site. However, since writing this post the site has gone down.

SRSLY? YA.

With Xubuntu and Lubuntu both offering similar desktop set-ups to that found in GNOME 2, requiring less hardware resources and boasting larger developer bases, the likely-hood of ‘Mate’ successfully maintaining the GNOME 2.x desktop is looking tough.The developers will certainly need to have passion and commitment in order to manage such a vast desktop environment.

But you know what? Even if it fails, Mate shows the power and versatility of Linux: don’t like the way something is heading? Fork it.