Exploring Debian 12 with Mate Desktop: A User-Friendly Experience

Debian, one of the oldest and most respected Linux distributions, recently released its newest version – Debian 12 Bookworm. Debian has always been known for its stability, security, and commitment to free software principles. This post will focus on Debian 12 with my favorite desktop environment, Mate, a popular choice for its balance between performance and aesthetics.

The Mate Desktop Environment

Mate is a continuation of the GNOME 2 desktop environment, a classic and straightforward desktop that provides a familiar experience to users. It is lightweight, fast, and ideal for older hardware without compromising essential features. Mate aims to deliver a traditional desktop experience while incorporating modern functionality.

Debian 12 has a well-integrated Mate desktop, providing users with a polished and customizable interface. Although bland when first installed, it offers a wide range of themes, icons, and configuration options, allowing users to tailor the desktop to their liking.

Installation and Setup

Installing Debian 12 with the Mate desktop is a relatively straightforward process. After obtaining the Debian 12 ISO, you can either create a bootable USB drive or burn the ISO to a DVD. Boot from the installation media and follow the on-screen instructions to install Debian 12 with the Mate desktop.

During the installation, you’ll have the option to customize the desktop environment. Choose Mate from the list of available desktops and proceed with the installation. Once installed, you’ll have a functional Debian 12 system with the Mate desktop.

User Interface and Features

Mate desktop in Debian 12 offers a clean and intuitive interface. The traditional layout includes a top panel with a menu, system tray, and clock, reminiscent of classic desktop setups. The bottom panel hosts the window list, quick launchers, and a workspace switcher.

The Mate desktop is highly customizable, allowing users to tweak themes, icons, and applet placements. Users can personalize the desktop to match their preferences and workflow, making it a versatile choice for many users. As seen in the image below, I have replaced the bottom panel with the plank dock, creating a more Mac-like appearance. I also swapped the default Mate theme with Yaru-magenta-dark.

Performance and Speed

One of the standout features of the Mate desktop environment is its efficiency. It is well-optimized for performance, making it an excellent choice for modern and older hardware. Debian 12 with the Mate desktop runs smoothly, even on systems with limited resources, ensuring a snappy and responsive user experience.

Software and Applications

Debian 12, in combination with the Mate desktop, provides a comprehensive set of pre-installed applications for everyday use, including a web browser, office suite, file manager, email client, and more. Users can quickly expand the software repository to access a vast selection of additional software and packages through Debian’s package management system.

Security and Stability

Debian has a long-standing reputation for stability and security. Debian 12 is no exception, providing users with a robust and secure foundation. The Debian community addresses security vulnerabilities promptly, ensuring a safe computing environment for all users.


Debian 12 with the Mate desktop is a winning combination that brings together the best of both worlds: the stability and security of Debian and the user-friendly, efficient interface of the Mate desktop environment. Whether you’re a seasoned Linux user or a newcomer, Debian 12 with Mate offers a satisfying and enjoyable computing experience. Its blend of performance, customization, and security make it a top choice in the Linux world.

Day #3 of Fedora Silverblue

By the third day of using Fedora Silverblue, I already discovered it wasn’t as easy to customize Gnome as in Fedora Workstation, or any other distro with a Gnome Desktop Environment. No matter what desktop environment I’m running, the first thing I always do is install a dark theme, either Adwaita-Dark, Arc Dark, or Greybird Dark, and the second thing I do is install papirus icon. With Gnome, you need to install Gnome Tweaks, if it is not already installed by default. With Fedora Workstation it’s just a simple sudo dnf install gnome-tweaks papirus-icon-theme, but with Silverblue instilling these apps requires you to use rpm-ostree instead of dnf.

Once installed, I was able to customize Gnome the way I like it! I’m still installing apps on my laptop, but so far I’m linking Silverblue so much I’ve installed it on a second laptop. Before you go thinking I’ve already made up my mind, I doubt it will stay on the second laptop long since Pop os 21.04 beta was just released, and I’m very excited to check out Cosmic!

Debian 10 Released!

After just over 2 years of development, the Debian Project released the latest stable version of its operating system, code name “Buster” today.  

Debian 10 “Buster” ships with several different desktop environments including:

  • Cinnamon 3.8,
  • GNOME 3.30,
  • KDE Plasma 5.14,
  • LXDE 0.99.2,
  • LXQt 0.14,
  • MATE 1.20,
  • Xfce 4.12.

Running on the 4.19 LTS kernel, Buster also comes with UEFI Secure Boot and AppArmor enabled by default.  One of the biggest changes in this release is the GNOME desktop using the Wayland display server by default instead of Xorg. This seems like an odd choice for Debian considering their reputation for stability. Considering Wayland is not fully compatible with Nvidia graphics cards and doesn’t have all of the features of Xorg it will be interesting to see how this works out. 

More information can be found on Debian’s homepage along with links to download the iso image.