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"Salix MATE 13.37 is now officially released. Available for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, this release introduces the MATE desktop environment. For anyone not familiar with MATE, it's a GNOME 2 fork, that continues development of the GNOME 2.x branch. MATE uses the traditional desktop metaphor that was abandoned for newer GNOME 3.x releases. All of the GNOME parts that have been forked have been renamed, so that they don't conflict with GNOME 3.x applications, but otherwise the functionality and behavior is exactly the same as it was in GNOME 2.32.x. For example, the Nautilus file manager is now named Caja in MATE, the Evince document viewer is now Atril and the File-Roller archive manager is now Engrampa."
Would you recommend the product? yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8
Stable software, great desktop
Salix has now joined Mint as the second distro offering an installation disk for Mate. So how do they compare?
At present, Salix only offers an installation disk, not a live one, although that will soon change. The installer is keyboard- rather than mouse-based, but easy to use. There is no option to encrypt /home, which is bad. The resulting installation is smaller than Mint, and would run in 256MB. The main difference is that Mint is 6-monthly or rolling-release (LMDE), while Salix is biennial with long-term support.
Not all the software is what one would expect with Mate: e.g. the Leafpad editor, Claws mail, Exaile audio player, Whaaw video player. You also get the more predictable LibreOffice, Firefox, Pidgin, and Gimp. As usual, the menu includes a tool to install media codecs. All the software worked, and even the “mp4 from hell” played.
On a more specialist level, Salix recognised my USB speakers which baffle many Debian derivatives.
This won’t replace the Xfce Salix on my laptop, but it’s a pretty good distro. Those brave souls who install Gnome on Slackware, and are less than happy at the prospect of Gnome 3, will find it particularly interesting, since anything in the Salix repository can be used in Slackware.