galculator is coming to MATE 1.10

The MATE team is proud to announce that we are collaborting with the galculator team and that galculator will replace mate-calc in MATE 1.10.

What is galculator?

From the galculator website:

galculator is a GTK 2 / GTK 3 based calculator with ordinary notation/reverse polish notation (RPN), a formula entry mode, different number bases (DEC, HEX, OCT, BIN) and different units of angular measure (DEG, RAD, GRAD). It supports quad-precision floating point and 112-bit binary arithmetic.

galculator’s main features include:

  • Algebraic mode, RPN (Reverse Polish Notation), Formula Entry and Paper mode
  • Decimal, hexadecimal, octal and binary number base
  • Radiant, degree and grad support
  • Basic and Scientific Mode
  • User defined constants and functions
  • Trigonometric functions, power, sqare root, natural and common logarithm, inverse and hyperbolic functions
  • Binary arithmetic of configurable bit length and signedness
  • Quad-precision floating point arithmetic
  • 112-bit binary arithmetic
  • Copy and paste
  • Available in more than 20 translations.

Like MATE galculator has a commitmet to GTK2 and GTK3 and is actively maintained.

Why ditch mate-calc?

While mate-calc is functional it lacks many features required of a modern desktop calcualtor. The MATE team is small with limited resources and where possible we are attempting to collaborate with projects that add value to MATE and reduce development burden on the MATE team. galculator is a perfect fit in this regard.

What’s in it for the galculator team?

galculator will remain an entirely independent project but we hope that its inclusion in MATE will grow the galculator user base, raise awareness about galculator and attract new contributors to their project. To that end the MATE team will host the galculator translations as a resource on the MATE transifex project. We are hopeful that the ~300 heroic MATE translators will embrace galculator and add to the ~20 languages galculator currently supports.

I am a packager. What does this mean for me?

If you are a MATE package maintainer then start creating galculator packages for your distribution if they do not already exist and add galculator to your MATE meta packages or package groups. MATE 1.10 is a way off yet, so you have plenty of time.

Hopefully you undertand our reasoning and can see the mutual advantages for this partnership. Let us know what you think in the comments.

MATE Desktop singing the BlueZ

The MATE team are delighted to announce that we are collaborating with the Blueman project and helping to update Blueman to BlueZ 5.x.

Why ditch mate-bluetooth?

mate-bluetooth supports BlueZ 4.x which has been discontinued and many distributions have, or are about to, replace BlueZ 4.x with BlueZ 5.x in their respective package repositories. Migrating mate-bluetooth to BlueZ 5.x was shaping up to be a lot of work and doesn’t provide the range of features available in Blueman.

Why Blueman? Isn’t it dead?

While the original Blueman project has stagnated, Christopher Schramm has reignited the development and started porting Blueman to BlueZ 5.x. While there is also some effort in updating Blueman to support BlueZ 5.x we feel it will provide a far better Bluetooth interface for MATE.

When will the updated Blueman be ready?

The observant among you may have noticed that the MATE 1.8 release announcement already mentioned that mate-bluetooth has been replaced with Blueman and the even more observant will also have noticed that a fresh version of Blueman has not yet been released. Yeah, we suck! Sorry about that.

While we acknowledge that we suck, we are actively contributing to the effort of porting Blueman to BlueZ 5.x and GObject introspection. We are hoping to have it ready in time for MATE 1.8.1 which is primarily intended as a bug fix release.

Can’t you do it faster, damn it?!

Yes. Anyone familiar with BlueZ 4.x/5.x, dbus, PyGObject and PyGTK is encouraged to contribute via the Blueman GitHub repository.

MATE is participating in GSoC 2014

The MATE team are very pleased to announce that we are participatiing in Google Summer of Code. We are doing this in partnership with our good friends at openSUSE

About Google Summer of Code

Google Summer of Code (commonly called as GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects. GSoC works with many open source, free software, and technology-related groups to identify and fund projects over a three month period. Since its inception in 2005, the program has brought together over 7,500 successful student participants from 97 countries and over 7,000 mentors from over 100 countries worldwide to produce over 50 million lines of code. Through Google Summer of Code, accepted student applicants are paired with a mentor or mentors from the participating projects, thus gaining exposure to real-world software development scenarios and the opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits. In turn, the participating projects are able to more easily identify and bring in new developers. Best of all, more source code is created and released for the use and benefit of all.

For students

The student application period is open from March 10th 2014 until March 21st 2014.

For assistance in how to apply please read the Google Summer of Code 2014 FAQ. If you are a student who wants to contribute to MATE via the openSUSE GSoC participation you’ll what to check out the following:

In short the MATE GSoC project ideas for 2014 are:

  • ePub format support in Atril
  • GStreamer-1.0 support
  • Plugin system in Caja

As always, the key is to start early and to interact with mentors and the community at large. Fixing bugs, submitting pull requests and working on Proof of Concepts is a good way to get started.

The GSoC 2014 mentors for MATE are Stefano Karapetsas (stefano-k on IRC) and Martin Wimpress (flexiondotorg on IRC). The best way to communicate and interact with the MATE mentors is via:

We look forward to reviewing your applications!

MATE 1.8 released

The team is proud to announce the release of MATE Desktop 1.8. We would like to thank every MATE contributor and user.

about

The main changes in 1.8 are:

Caja (file manager)

  • Added an option to use IEC units instead of SI units
  • Added “Open parent location” option in the search view context menu

Marco (window manager)

  • Added side-by-side tiling (window snapping)

Panel

  • Added support for Metacity keybindings in the run dialog and main menu
  • Added a progress bar to the logout dialog

Control center

  • Added support to use Metacity as a window manager

MATE Desktop library

Eye Of MATE (image viewer)

  • Added shuffle mode to the slideshow

Engrampa (file archiver)

  • Always display “extract to” context menu to Caja

Screensaver

  • Displays date and time in lock dialog

Applets

  • Added undo functionality to the sticky note applet
  • Added a new “command” applet to show the output of a command
  • Rewrote the “timer” applet in C
  • Clicking the middle mouse on the volume applet toggles mute

Dropped packages

  • Replaced mate-doc-utils with yelp-tools
  • Replaced libmatekeyring and mate-keyring with libsecret and gnome-keyring
  • Replaced libmatewnck with libwnck
  • Replaced mucharmap with gucharmap
  • Replaced mate-bluetooth with blueman
  • Merged all Caja extensions into a single package
  • Removed the modem lights applet, as the netspeed applet provides similar functionality

Other improvements

  • Fixed a lot of code deprecations
  • Fixed a lot of bugs
  • Improved the build system
  • Added and improved a lot of translations



As usual, we asked people from distributions that ship MATE what they think about our Desktop Environment.

Mike Gabriel, Debian developer and MATE maintainer:

I forsee MATE being one of the most used desktop environments in Debian Jessie (and beyond).

Tom Wijsman, Gentoo developer and MATE maintainer:

Some of our users express that they want to stay with GNOME 2; because they like how things used to be, they run older hardware or they want a more lightweight desktop. Given that GNOME 2 became unsupported and will eventually be removed from our meta distribution due to various maintenance, regression and security issues; MATE brings back all the glory with an active development team. Their continuation of GNOME 2’s development fixes outstanding issues, brings new and useful features and keeps the good old experience alive and kicking.

Willy Sudiarto Raharjo, Co-developer of MATE SlackBuilds Project:

MATE shared the same basic philosophies of Slackware, such as simplicity, stability, and no fixed release schedule. It will be released when it’s ready and preserving the same metaphor which is proven to be working well. MATE is also easy to be maintained and integrated on top of Slackware since Patrick Volkerding has given a solid foundation as the base layer in which MATE could fill the need of GNOME-based Desktop Environment which Slackware lack of since 2005. I’m looking forward for the evolutionary changes that MATE developers will integrate for the next major release of MATE.

Chess Griffin, Co-developer of MATE SlackBuilds Project:

MATE is a great desktop environment for those who like the old GNOME 2 experience. I greatly appreciate all the hard work that is put into MATE to keep it stable and mature yet at the same time incorporating new bits where appropriate. The effort to keep MATE agnostic in terms of the user’s operating system or distribution is also to be applauded. I enjoy being a part of the MATE SlackBuilds project, which aims to bring the MATE desktop to the Slackware Linux community. Thanks to the entire MATE team!

Benjamin Denisart, openSUSE MATE maintainer:

The openSUSE team wants to thank the MATE developers for their efforts in providing this new version and is proud to announce the availability of gnome-main-menu, which will please users attracted by a traditional and easy to use desktop. It’s a pleasure for us to work with the MATE team and we want to send them our congratulations.

Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint founder and project leader:

MATE proudly carries the colors of GNOME 2 and continues where the project left off. In many ways and for many people MATE just feels like home. It’s simple, stable and full featured. While more recent desktops experiment with new concepts, MATE provides an environment which works exactly as you’d expect it. It’s popular with our users and it’s the desktop on top of which Linux Mint built its technology and identity since 2006. We’re very proud and very happy to support MATE and delighted with each and every new release.

Wolfgang Ulbrich, MATE maintainer in Fedora:

During the Fedora 15/16 releases I was very dissatisfied with the desktop solutions on offer. After 10 months of using XFCE I discovered MATE and decided to build my own desktop for Fedora in December 2011. This work resulted in the first external MATE Desktop repository for Fedora and was used by many users worldwide, including Fedora spins based on my packages in Russia, Latvia and Indonesia. The corollary to this work was to bring the MATE Desktop inside official Fedora together with Dan Mashal for Fedora 18. Two releases later we have a stable and usable MATE 1.6 desktop solution in Fedora 20. MATE 1.8 is currently in Fedora rawhide and will be released with Fedora 21 in the summer of 2014.

Martin Wimpress, MATE maintainer for Arch Linux:

MATE was originally created by an Arch Linux user and I am delighted that MATE is now available in the official Arch Linux and Arch Linux ARM package repositories. MATE provides a complete, fully integrated, responsive traditional desktop experience and consistent work flow on my Raspberry Pi, CuBox Pro, laptop and desktop. Brilliant!



MATE 1.8 is the result of 11 months of intense development and contains 1845 contributions by 57 people, and more than 291 translators.



MATE translation contributions requested

Show your love for the MATE project this Valentines Day, shower us with translations!

Translators are the unsung heroes of the MATE development team and once again we call upon them to help improve the project. MATE 1.7 is well into final testing and QA and soon MATE 1.8 will be prepared for release.

Therefore we request that you check the status of the MATE translations you contribute to at Transifex and update them ASAP.

If you are not yet a member of the translation team but would like to help then please sign up for a free account at Transifex so you can start contributing to MATE, we’d really appreciate it!

There are currently 6 languages with 100% coverage, so lets see how many more can get 100% coverage before the MATE 1.8 release.

MATE Desktop Roadmap Reshuffle

A few days ago Stefano Karapetsas posted an announcement on the mate-dev mailing list outlining the decision to reshuffle the MATE Desktop roadmap.

Essentially GTK3 support for MATE has been pushed back to MATE 1.10 because there is still a good deal of work to be done to get it really stable. Therefore MATE 1.8 will continue to be based GTK2, although GTK3 applications integrate nicely just as they did in MATE 1.6. The updated roadmap is available on our wiki:

This decision was made because the current development version of MATE is stable, incorporates many new features, improvements and bug fixes. We want to get all that “good stuff” ™ out to our users so they can benefit from the advancements we’ve made sooner.

You can read the original mailing post and follow-up comments below:

The feedback we’ve had so far about this decision has been positive. What do you think?

Stefano presents MATE at FOSDEM 2014

On February 1st 2014 Stefano Karapetsas presented his talk on MATE at FOSDEM 2014!

The talk introduces MATE to those who haven’t heard of it and explains the projects origins. The differences between MATE and other traditional GTK based desktops is covered and then Stefano goes on to explain how MATE has evolved since it was forked from GNOME2. A brief run down of the recent improvements is covered followed by an overview of the MATE roadmap and other projects that benefit from MATE such as Sonar, Raspberry Pi and LTSP.

MATE Desktop Mythbusting

I was fortunate enough to be invited on to Episode 26 of the Linux Unplugged podcast to talk a little about MATE Desktop and where it is headed. The MATE Mythbusting clip is embedded below.

I wasn’t able to cover all the development objectives of MATE 1.8 in the time available so I recommend you take a look at the MATE Roadmap for a complete overview. If you should have any additional questions, or would like to contribute to the the project, then we look for to chatting with you in the #mate IRC channel or reviewing your pull-requests on GitHub.

Jupiter Broadcasting produce a number of weekly videocasts and podcasts mostly oriented around FLOSS. Take a look, you may find something that interests you.

MATE desktop Live CD

The MATE team have made a Live CD that boots into a full MATE desktop.

Update The LiveCD was updated to MATE 1.8 on March 10th 2014.

This Live CD was created so that potential new users can evaluate the MATE desktop in a non-destructive fashion. The image can be burned to a DVD, mounted as an ISO file, or be directly written to a USB stick using a utility like dd. Linux Luddites beware, unetbootin is not supported. You can download it below:

If you can spare the bytes, please leave the client open after your download is finished, so you can seed it back to others. A web-seed capable client is recommended for fastest download speeds.

HTTP direct download

In addition to the BitTorrent link above, the Live CD .iso can also be downloaded via HTTP. Please ensure the downloaded file matches the SHA1 checksum.

Compatibility

The Live CD is built using Arch Linux and MATE 1.8. The Live CD is 32-bit so should work on any i686 or x86_64 computer with at least 512MB RAM. Xorg drivers are included for Intel (i915), AMD/ATI (radeon) and nvidia (nouveau) with a fall back to VESA. Drivers for Virtual Box and VMware are also included so that evaluation using these virtualization solutions is simple.

All common file systems, including ZFS, are supported and some data recovery and backup tools are included. If you plug in your mobile device it will most likely be recognised and you’ll be able to access the data on it. NetworkManager is included along with all the VPN clients it supports.

Usernames and passwords

The MATE Desktop Live CD has the following accounts configured.

  • root - password is livecd.
  • mate - password is livecd.

The root account is obviously root. The mate account it a regular user that has with full password-less sudo rights. The Live CD will auto-login using the mate account.

Applications

The Live CD is primarily designed to showcase the MATE desktop, however we’ve included some additional applications that are not part of the MATE desktop in order to make the LiveCD a little more useful and enjoyable.

  • Firefox - Standalone web browser from mozilla.org
  • GParted - A Partition Magic clone, frontend to GNU Parted
  • HardInfo - A system information and benchmark tool
  • Hexchat - IRC client configured to auto-connect to #[email protected]
  • Onboard - Screen reader for individuals who are blind or visually impaired
  • Orca - On-screen keyboard useful for mobility impaired individuals
  • Pidgin - Multi-protocol instant messaging client
  • Truecrypt - Free open-source cross-platform disk encryption software
  • Xnoise - Media player with a slick GUI, great speed and lots of features

Creative Commons content

We have bundled the following Creative Commons licensed content.

Changing language

Be default the Live CD is configured to use the en_US locale but if you want to activate another language here is how to do it. In the example below, we will enable Italian.

Edit /etc/locale.gen an uncomment your locale, in this case it_IT.UTF-8 UTF-8 and rebuild the locales.

sudo locale-gen

Edit /etc/locale.conf and change the LANG= to reflect your locale, in this case LANG=it_IT.UTF-8. Finally restart the display manager and you will be logged back into a MATE session using your prefered language.

sudo systemctl restart lightdm

Linux Action Show Feature

The MATE Desktop LiveCD and MATE itself we featured on the Linux Action Show in the CuBox Linux Review episode. Two clips are embedded below, the first a quick look at the MATE Desktop LiveCD the second is a review of the CuBox i4 which is running MATE.

MATE Desktop LiveCD

CuBox i4 Pro Review

Feedback

We hope you give the Live CD a test drive and enjoy the speed and simplicity the MATE Desktop provides. Once you’ve taken the MATE Desktop Live CD for a spin let us know what you think in the comments or use the Live CD to join us in the #mate IRC channel.

MATE is officially available in Arch Linux

MATE has finally found it’s way home.

As some of you may know MATE was created by an Arch Linux user, Perberos. It is somewhat ironic then that MATE has never featured in the official Arch Linux package repository until now. That’s right, MATE is finally available in the Arch Linux [community] package repository!

You can find out everything you need to know about installing MATE on Arch Linux from the following wiki pages:

It is also worth noting that the now obsolete unofficial MATE package repository will be removed once all the Arch Linux mirrors are synced. So go and update /etc/pacman.conf and remove the [mate] package repository.

The other advantage of getting MATE into the official Arch Linux package repository is that MATE will now also feature in the Arch Linux ARM package repository. I can finally retire my Raspberry Pi (armv6h) and Cubox Pro (armv7h) build “servers”. I’m not sure how long it will take for all the MATE packages to appear in the Arch Linux ARM package repository but I have already seen that some packages are built.

MATE runs really well on the Raspberry Pi Model B with 512MB RAM, so if you have a Pi and a spare SDCARD, give it a whirl. I’ll be writing a blog post about how install Arch Linux and MATE on the Raspberry Pi with some useful performance tweaks in the near future.


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