MATE is a fork of the GNOME 2 desktop environment that offers compatibility with the newer GNOME 3 while retaining the look and feel of the earlier GNOME release. MATE's compatibility with GNOME 3 enables the two desktop environments to run on the same system.
The Linux Mint distribution of Linux includes MATE in version 12 as a desktop environment option, but the core developers of Linux Mint have largely shifted focus to their own desktop environment vision known as Cinnamon, which is a fork of GNOME 3.
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