MATE is a fork of the now unmaintained GNOME 2. MATE provides an intuitive and attractive desktop environment using traditional metaphors for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems.
MATE is under active development to add support for new technologies while preserving a traditional desktop experience. MATE also supports running the environment without compositing, making MATE a suitable choice for lower-end hardware.
MATE largely consists of GNOME 2 applications, utilities and applets, which have been forked and renamed to avoid conflicts with their GNOME 3 counterparts.
The name “MATE” comes from yerba maté, a species of holly native to subtropical South America. Its leaves contain caffeine and are used to make infusions and a beverage called mate. The name is pronounced like “Mah-tay”, not like “Mait”.