MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

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MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:25 pm

I hope I have not posted this the wrong place, or duplicated a previous disussion. If so, sorry!

Over the last few weeks, I have done full installs on quite a few distros, including the MATE, Cinnamon, KDE, and Xfce versions of LM13. LM13 was the best for me, no contest (although I love the way Mageia looks). I am getting ready to intall an SSD in the next few days, and although I am for sure going to install LM13, I am uncertain as to which flavor. Of course, I want to install one DE and stick with it, rather than going back and forth, so I am looking for some advice.

I am having a hard time choosing between MATE, Xfce, and Cinnamon (I am not too fond of KDE). Really, I prefer them in that order. I like MATE's layout, apps, and configuration options-I can get windows to look the way I want, colors, fonts, shape, all that. Xfce is a close second. I like it's simplicity, and am mostly happy with the apps available (I miss system monitor, but I am sure something is available that is beeter than Task Manager). Cinnamon, I really only like for it's Main Menu. I may just be doing it wrong, but I can't modify things like I can in MATE, by far.

So, here's my questions: Really, all things being equal, I'd use MATE. However, I have come to realize it is GNOME 2, which is no longer an active thread. That is the main reason I even consider Cinnamon, is in hopes that the ability to modify it improves. My first question is, what is the future of MATE? Will that be sticking around? Or faded out and replaced by Cinnamon?

My second question is, are there any compelling reasons, esp as I learn more (I am very much a noob), to pick one or the other? That is, as I learn more and want to do more complicated things, would one or the other DE be better to have? Really, it seems that most of the more in-depth things use the Terminal anyhow, so maybe this isn't a consideration? I would appreciate any advice here, though.

Thanks so much for any suggestions or comments here! I am learning so much from the community!

Caerolle :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:37 pm

ooops, forgot to add my system info:

-Computer-
Processor : 4x Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU 750 @ 2.67GHz
Memory : 4045MB
Operating System : Linux Mint 13 Maya (Xfce)
Resolution : 1600x900 pixels
OpenGL Renderer : ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series
ATA WDC WD1002FAEX-0 (1TB)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby DataMan on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:54 am

As a matter of small history, I too went through the dueling desktops discussion with myself several months ago.

Reading your post it appears that you have pretty much answered your own question (indirectly) - MATE desktop.

A couple of points to consider in finalizing your decision:

[list=]
I believe MATE has it's own dedicated team of developers.
Although the functionality of MATE is close to the legacy Gnome 2, it is not the same thing.
<opinion>MATE will probably be around for some time</opinion>
Mint 13 is LTS so you should be stable and supported for several years.
[/list]

I choose MATE as my default desktop due to the ease of configuration and use. For me, I don't need all kinds of stuffola flying around my workspaces. Also, what I can do in a couple of mouse clicks in MATE seems either impossible or an overly complicated task in Cinammon. Of course, there are googles of Cinammon advocates out there with opposing opinions on this.

I also use M13 MATE for my work-work so I need stability, repeatability and ease of use as I don't have the time to constantly ditz and fiddle around with the desktop environment.

Just my thoughts,

-DataMan
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby veggen on Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:12 am

I agree that Mate is unlikely to fade away any times soon, so it's a safe bet in my opinion. I expect it to surpass Gnome 2 feature-wise in the near future.
While I personally choose Cinnamon (mostly for the "new DE smell" :P), it sounds like Mate fits your usage (lots of customizing) better.
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:42 am

Thanks, DataMan and Veggen! I agree with both of you about the 'fancy things', too. Yes, the transparency, and opening/closing effects are pretty, but I really don't want that. A lot of the reason I am switching from Windows 7 is to have a more pure, simple environment. There is a lot to like about Xfce, too, but I really prefer MATE. Plus, I have found out since I posted that Xfce uses the GTK+ 2 libraries too, same as MATE, so really is the same kind of issue with going forward with it. And I don't think Xfce is going away anytime soon, and that project likely has no more resources to maintain it that our MATE does.

Thanks so much for the speedy and thoughtful replies!

Caerolle :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby habfan29 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:48 am

DataMan wrote:I choose MATE as my default desktop due to the ease of configuration and use. For me, I don't need all kinds of stuffola flying around my workspaces. Also, what I can do in a couple of mouse clicks in MATE seems either impossible or an overly complicated task in Cinammon.

I'll second this. I played with both environments before installing, and this was my impression. I could set MATE up the way I wanted fairly quickly because it's not very different than GNOME 2. Cinnamon really has to put a lot of lipstick on the pig that is GNOME 3. It is a very admirable effort but IMHO it isn't "there" yet.

In the end I attribute the difference in environments to the .. let us say "evolving" attitudes among the core GNOME developers. In GNOME 2 they only had their heads stuck about halfway up their posteriors. They've gone all-in with G3 :evil:
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:51 am

Too funny, habfan! Thanks for the reply! :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby cwwgateway on Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:35 pm

I agree with the others that MATE is probably the best DE for you. I don't think anyone's said anything like this on this thread, but there are people who say MATE is a dead end, MATE is based on old technology, etc. It is true that MATE is based on the unsupported and fairly old gnome 2. However, it has built upon gnome 2 and I don't think you can call it unsupported or old because it is gnome 2 + the MATE updates (meaning its what gnome 2 would be, or at least close to what it would be, if it kept getting updated to today). GTK 2 is kind of old (or older), but at least right now, MATE (with mint 13) works with all gtk 3 apps (and it looks ok). It is possible that, in the future, it might not be, but that will be a long time and it isn't certain. Also, it is kind of sort of planned that MATE will migrate to gtk 3 (it is uncertain - it might or it might not). Xfce will migrate to GTK 3 (probably next release, but there's only 1 release every one-ish year - the next release is planned for March 10, 2013) eventually, too. I can't say the future of MATE, but it isn't going to just disappear.

Edit: The Xfce release schedule is a release ever one year, not two.
Last edited by cwwgateway on Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:44 pm

cwwgateway, thanks for the advice! I didn't realize that MATE was already using GTK+ 3 apps, and running them without complaint. That is good to know, and is one of the many things I like about Linux, the integration among so many parts. I guess that has been one of my biggest concerns, is when various programs get updated, and maybe ported from 2 to 3, that updates would no longer be available for them. But, as you imply, Xfce has the same issue over the next couple of years, and noone seems to be freaking out wrt that DE.

I will have to say, I installed MATE again before I left for work this morning, and am kind of missing my Xfce a bit. Also, I found some potential fixes for the couple of things that I didn't like about Xfce (themes and main menu). First, I think I can get some other themes for Xfce. I found some forum posts a few places wrt this, haven't had time to read them. Plus, just for the fun of it, downloaded Kubuntu and installed it. Really, really liked it, very pretty, lots of themes! It of course wouldn't run my 'must have' program any better than Ubuntu did, but I am wondering if I can move some of the themes over. Based on trying to move the themes I made on MATE and saved before I installed over it back on it, I think I will have to go command line and sudo, through an external drive, but maybe can get some nice themes that way.

For the main menu, I found some articles on editing it, and some utilities. Again, haven't had time to read them, just BM'd and moved on, but if I can get the selections in the menu larger (soooo small and close together! want something more like MATE menu), then I will have pretty much everything I want in Xfce. If I can get there, likely to go back to Xfce, really like a lot about it.

Caerolle :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby squeezy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:49 pm

caerolle wrote:For the main menu, I found some articles on editing it, and some utilities. Again, haven't had time to read them, just BM'd and moved on, but if I can get the selections in the menu larger (soooo small and close together! want something more like MATE menu), then I will have pretty much everything I want in Xfce. If I can get there, likely to go back to Xfce, really like a lot about it.

Caerolle :)


In Mint 13 Xfce you can use the xf-applets plugin to add the Mint Menu, the same menu that MATE uses.
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:56 pm

squeezy, is it possible to modify how the menu looks? Mainly, to make everything bigger?

I will definitely look into the applet, too, going to reinstall Mint Xfce tonight to play with it some more. Even being able to edit, for example, Favorites, would be a big plus. That is something I definitely like about the GNOME DEs, is that you can just right-click and add to panel or favorites, or set to load at start-up!

Thanks so much!

Caerolle :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby zerozero on Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:59 pm

[moved here]
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:04 pm

<laughs at zerozero>

I am *so* not good at picking the right place to start threads, lol. ;)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby squeezy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:14 pm

caerolle wrote:squeezy, is it possible to modify how the menu looks? Mainly, to make everything bigger?


Not easily that I'm aware of. You would probably have to modify the XML file that forms the basis for the menu. I've never gotten that far into it :lol:


Re the xfce4-xfapplet-plugin (its proper name!):
I installed Mint 13 Xfce yesterday and played around with adding Mint Menu. It works just as you'd expect. Not sure if you can edit it though. Maybe if you install mozo, the MATE menu editor? The menu is hosted by the applet, so that might not even work if the editor can't get direct access to the menu. Other than that it's just like using the menu in MATE. You can change the preferences, I like to make it open on Favorites all the time. The only thing I noticed was the highlight color is blue and not Mint's green.
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:21 pm

squeezy, I'll have a go and see what I can do. I will try most anything, but am probably more limited by my knowledge and experience than by the software, anyway. ;)

Thanks so much for your help! :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby cwwgateway on Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:17 pm

I just checked Mint 13 Xfce, and editing the mint menu works as expected. You have to install the package mintmenu, but once you do that, all you have to do is add xfapplet to your panel, right click it, click properties, select mint menu, right click the mint menu, and click properties. It seems to work well (if I may, I'd suggest the theme Mint-X, at least to start because it kind of goes with the rest of the theme). If you want themes, most gtk-2 themes from gnome-look.org and most themes from xfce-look.org work well. My personal favorite is orta (which is very customizable). Anyway, I hope that you find what you are looking for in either MATE or Xfce (or something else).

Disclamer: I am and Xfce (and sort of Cinnamon) guy so if I seem a little over excited about you possibly using xfce i'm sorry.
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:40 pm

cwwgateway, nooo, don't be sorry! I so appreciate all your help! Getting ready to re-install Mint Xfce, and will see how well I can execute your suggestions, and squeezy's.

Thanks so much for your help, guys!

Caerolle :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby cwwgateway on Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:16 pm

caerolle wrote:cwwgateway, nooo, don't be sorry! I so appreciate all your help! Getting ready to re-install Mint Xfce, and will see how well I can execute your suggestions, and squeezy's.

Thanks so much for your help, guys!

Caerolle :)

I'm glad I could help :wink: .
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby caerolle on Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:07 pm

squeezy and cwwgateway, you guys rock! That sooo worked! I now have the MATE menu in Xfce! I t was really easy, exactly like you guys said!

Now I am going to poke about for themes.

Thanks again!

Caerolle :)
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Re: MATE vs Xfce vs Cinnamon DEs for long-term install

Postby squeezy on Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:46 pm

Hey, we need a thumbs up icon! :mrgreen:

Image
Last edited by zerozero on Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: just a one-off edit
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