Installing Mate Desktop

Brand new user here, have got my feet wet with several other distros, all Ubuntu-based. I installed the Gnome version of Leap, intending to switch to Mate once up and running. I thought I had checked Mate off during the install, but I don’t see it listed on the login screen. I have done some research on the forum and in general online, but haven’t found anything definitive.Not sure what to do at this point. Willing to use terminal, but if there’s an easier way I’ll gladly use that.



GO to Yast - software Management select package group tab select the mate packages you need. ie all with mate in the description.

Thanks gogalthorp. I did as you advised. While there I also installed the packages for Xfce. However, I still do not see how to log in with one of those desktops. I rebooted, but still don’t see how you do that. Can you provide more help?

Do you see a screen that looks like this when you log in? Have you clicked on the gear icon?

Exactly how the login screen looks depends on which DM you currently use but in all cases there is an option icon somewhere on the screen to select desktops

Thanks, Andy, I looked but no gear on my screen.

No gear on my login screen that I can find. I installed with Gnome, because KDE will not work on this computer, even though it technically has the specs for it. I don’t like Gnome 3, which is why I planned to use Mate. Or Xfce will do. But so far no luck in getting them on there. I’ll try to get you a screenshot.

Computer specs:

Gateway GT 5656
Athlon 64 X 2 6000+
6 GB ram
2 500 GB HDD
Nvidia GS 8400 video card

May be a wrench not a gear depends on the DM. If you installed gnome then probably gdm. can check in Yast - system -/etc/sysconfig editor under desktop-display manager- DISPLAYMANAGER. Can be changed there also

Yes, if you could get us a screenshot, it would be a lot easier to help. We’re just not sure exactly what you are looking at when you try to log in. Maybe even take pic with your phone if you can’t get to the screenshot function at the login screen.

I don’t have a phone, so no screenshot. But it is identical to the one posted above, minus the gear.

I have added the KDE DE as well. No change. Even if I restart, still no gear or way to change the DE.

At this point, I’m considering reinstalling with the KDE DE. when I tried it before, I tried Plasma, perhaps the other will work for my system. Which leads to two more questions:

  1. What is the difference between KDE and Plasma? Which one is leaner, more stable?

  2. What is difference between the two install modes? I used the smaller one, under a GB. Could that have something to do with this problem? The full-featured version was going to take hours to download.

Thanks, Mike

KDE and plasma are more or less the same thing KDE is the Brand Plasma is the desktop.

It may be a problem with video driver you see not Plasma itself

Are you using the Gecko versions?

For openSUSE 42.3 there are only the full install (yes very big) and the the smaller network install. There are no differences one is all the package in a ISO the other installs all the packages from the web.

Most likly the problem is in your Video card you probably need a driver

One possibility - you refer to installing the MATE packages but you need to select the MATE Pattern - I made this mistake when I first installed LXQt. The pattern contains packages which you may not think of as part of MATE but which are essential for it to work properly.

If MATE is your choice (or for that matter if you choose any Desktop other than KDE/Plasma or Gnome) as your original Desktop during Install,

During your Install

  1. You should choose to install from online sources <regardless> whether you’re using the DVD or NET install (the latter is interesting, just because it’s a NET install does not mean it will install latest online packages). This is important because numerous fixes were discovered and implemented shortly after the 42.3 DVD launch and only by enabling online sources can you make sure fixes to your install are available and used. In fact, IIRC (can’t verify because of my current Internet connection), unless you configure the online OSS repo, you won’t see the MATE and LXQt patterns.

  2. When online sources have been configured, you should arrive back at the same Desktop selection screen. Only now can you select the “Custom” radio button.

  3. For your MATE Desktop selection, IIRC there are <two> patterns you need to select.

  4. Continue.

I’ve installed a MATE system this way, where MATE is the original and only Desktop, so I know the above steps should work.


Thank you Gogolthorp, Andy Prough, John Hudson and tsu 2. For now I have decided to wait until I have a more modern computer to run openSuse. It is just to robust for this system. Even with Gnome, it performs slowly. I agree that it is probably my video card, which is old and dated. But it makes no sense to buy a new one, when the computer is almost 10 years old itself.

On the whole I found openSuse very impressive, and will no doubt try it again when I have better machine. Thanks again to all who provided great help.


Don’t give up yet!

I’d highly recommend you try installing with XFCE or LXQt(my preference) on low resource systems.
I’ve used both with only 2GB RAM and can do plenty of stuff without any problems.

If you want to go even more minimal, you can install with only the Minimal-X (aka IceWM) graphical system.
That would then be only a Window Manager with a full Desktop appearance but without full Desktop functionality… In other words, the bare minimum required to run graphical apps and nothing more. Initial RAM requirements are approx the same as a text-only system, about 768MB… Whatever apps you run will bump up that number.

With any of the above,
Even older, less capable machines can be very responsive.


I am running it on a few +10-yr-old machines, and have installed it for clients on numerous +10-yr-old machines, running just great. I have installed these machines with Xfce in the Leap 42.x series. At install, choose other, in there choose Xfce.