Linux Mint MATE is an operating system based on the world’s most popular free distribution of Linux, Ubuntu, and built around the traditional MATE desktop environment.

Availability, supported platforms and boot options

Linux Mint is distributed into two editions, one with the classic and low on resources MATE window manager and another one with the modern Cinnamon, a clone of the GNOME 3 desktop. Just like the Cinnamon edition, the MATE flavor described here is available for download as two Live DVD ISO images, one for each of the supported hardware platforms (64-bit and 32-bit).

Once again, the bootable medium are identical with the ones of the Cinnamon edition, engineered to run the live session in ten seconds from the moment they’re booted. If any key is pressed during this timeout, the boot loader will be revealed from where users can start the live environment in compatibility mode for better detection of some devices.

In additions, the user can start an existing operating system that is installed on the first disk drive, run a memory (RAM) diagnostic test using the Memtest86+ utility, as well as to check the disc for defects (only if using a DVD media).

A traditional desktop environment with state-of-the-art apps

As expected, the MATE desktop environment offers a clean and uncluttered graphical session for this Linux Mint release. It is comprised of a single panel located on the bottom edge of the screen, from where the user can access the main menu, launch applications and interact with opened windows.

Default applications include the Pidgin instant messenger, Mozilla Firefox web browser, Banshee music player, Mozilla Thunderbird email client, GIMP image editor, gThumb image viewer, HexChat IRC client, Transmission torrent downloader, VLC Media Player, Totem video player, and the entire LibreOffice office suite.

Bottom line

All in all, Linux Mint does not disappoint users with its superb MATE desktop environment, which requires only 512MB or RAM and runs well on old and semi-old computers. Also, don’t hesitate to check out the modern Cinnamon edition of Linux Mint 17.