I'm not new to Linux - been using it as my primary desktop for about 3 years now.
I was very happy with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with Gnome2 desktop. But appearently Ubuntu decided to go eye candy over productivity with it's new DE (Unity). So I am one of the many Ubuntu converts now enjoying Linux Mint with Mate.
I am extremely thankful to all the folks involved in the developement of Mate, and for how easy they made it to configure it almost exactly like my Ubuntu 10.04/Gnome2 setup!
Here's my config:
Moomex theme with Breathe icon set
Thunar File Manager (I like the icons better than the ones in Caja - other than the icons Caja is great)
Added a top panel with the Menu Bar that has Applications-Places-System just like Gnome2
Please keep up the good work with Mate! Mint13/Mate is the best out there!