Installing, then removing, the Mate desktop

Back in mid-January, 2013, I switched to the Mate Desktop. I can’t figure out if I changed because I was getting tired of Gnome 3 and all the complaints surrounding it, including my own, and fell over a cliff when an imp pushed me in the form of my brother wanting me to install Fedora 18 with Mate on it, or the other way around.

I went through a lot to get the desktop to a level at which I had become accustomed under Fedora 14. I took a lot of notes; I would need them in the next few days for my brother’s system. Indeed, they were useful; the install went rather well, in no small part due to my notes. Incidentally, it all felt like a fresh reinstall. Yet, the whole transition was smooth, and I hadn’t forgotten anything. (Having a CentOS box with a Gnome 2 desktop helped. 🙂 )

Two things presented themselves as relative problems, one right away, and one that took several weeks to develop.

The first problem was a general set of issues: I was hoping for what amounted to the Gnome 2 desktop, having reached its apex (for me) in Fedora 14. The general environment and look and feel of Gnome 2 were there, but a number of packages, some might call secondary, weren’t there. Most notably, PackageKit, a gui application for adding and removing software, and xsane for scanners, and hplip — removing the ability to use my scanner before reinstalling hplip — but there were others. These were trivial absences since installing them is trivially easy, but curiously, PackageKit still wouldn’t show up in the menus. This was still a trivial absence since I rarely use PackageKit, normally preferring command-line installations and updates; but this was still a mild nuisance since I occasionally like to see what is available in the repositories, as well as some descriptions. And, I found that the themes were different from that to which I’d become accustomed, such as buttons, most notable for me in LibreOffice, were different. I was struggling to remember how much of that to which I was accustomed was that to which I had been accustomed for a long time, and how much was a case of much having changed however many times since I started using Fedora with F8 such that I was numb to any such changes.

But the other was a bit more insidious in its latency: After but a few weeks, it felt old. I daresay stale. And, it felt unloved. I suppose that in having used Gnome 3 for a year and a half, the familiarity it did have with Gnome 2, and the extensions having smoothed out many complaints, I had become a convert.

So, what did I do?

yum groupinstall gnome-desktop
yum groupremove mate-desktop
yum groupinstall gnome-desktop (to reinstall that which was removed by the previous command)
yum install gnome-shell-extensions*
yum install gnome-tweak-tool
yum remove xscreensaver*

… and here I am. Happy again. No, I’m not sure I want to say that. 🙂


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