MATE vs Unity, GNOME 3: Open Source Desktop’s Future?

MATE, the open-source desktop environment whose name no one is sure how to pronounce, is now nearly a year old. Many of us never thought it would make it this far, but the interface has held own against competitors like Unity and GNOME Shell. But does MATE have a long-term future in the fast-evolving world of desktop Linux? Here are some thoughts.
When MATE debuted last August, it was a one-man effort by a developer who called himself Perberos to keep alive the GNOME 2 desktop environment, which the GNOME project had deprecated in favor of GNOME 3.
While many welcomed the endeavor as an alternative to GNOME 3 and Canonical’s Unity interface, neither of which enjoyed universal popularity among Linux users, there was also plenty of reason early-on to doubt MATE’s viability. It lacked the backing of any major organization in the open-source channel and endorsement by Linux distributions.
Yet MATE has managed in the last year not only to stick around, but also to grow. Its development team remains small, but now at least includes a half-dozen different individuals from throughout the world. The project has pushed out regular releases, with the most recent, MATE 1.4, appearing at the end

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