I find the simplest way to install Ubuntu with MATE as the desktop with the minimum I can get away with is to start with the server ISO. Yes, I know there are smaller initial downloads when using the netboot image but that means you need to set up the whole net booting server system. That seems to be over kill and involves a lot more downloading and work. Especially when you are only going to use it once.
The resulting Ubuntu server installation takes about 1.5G of disk space. With MATE it goes to 2.5GB up to 4GB for the full Ubuntu install.
Having downloaded the server install, either burn the iso to a CD or attach it to your virtual machine. You may need to tweak your BIOS setting or press the appropriate key to open up the boot menu.
During the install there is a menu for services you wish to install I only select openssh for the majority of the remaining setting you can use the defaults unless you specifically want a different configuration.
After the install of the Ubuntu server and the first reboot which will take you to a NON GUI login prompt. Remember you haven’t installed X or any desktop managers yet.
To install MATE Desktop is the same as if you had a full desktop install, This is detailed very nicely on the MATE download page https://wiki.mate-desktop.org/download, just scroll down to Ubuntu 14.04.
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
To install MATE desktop use one of the following, depending on your needs. The installed size and the number of packages increases as you go through the list. The first is a very basic MATE install, pretty much the core packages only, you will also want to install a greeter if you use that one, see below. I tend to add the mate-themes as I like the shiny theme 🙂
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-core mate-themes
This next one below,will give you the complete MATE desktop, with the super extras you will also need to install a greeter, see below.
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment
This one installs everything bells and whistles included, The MATE install page says most people will want this one :-).
sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-extras
The final install is this one which the MATE guys say is a better integration with Ubuntu and also installs lightdm. It’s not really a “minimal install” as it also installs apps like LibreOffice 🙂
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-mate-core ubuntu-mate-desktop
Adding a greeter
This is only needed if you installed one of the first three types above.
You will also need a greeter, or an initial GUI to let you login. I use lightdm. This can be tagged onto the end of the install line above it you like.
sudo apt-get install lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter
You will need to install some icons or the GUI login will look a little weird. Install the package ubuntu-artwork this adds the necessary icons. As with lightdm you can tag this onto the install line for the mate packages.
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-artwork
Almost finished. One last tweak and we can reboot. Edit the lightdm config /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf file with the following two lines under the heading [SeatDefaults]. In the later version of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, release 2 and onwards you will have to create the file.
sudo nano /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf
[SeatDefaults] greeter-session=lightdm-gtk-greeter user-session=mate
If you want to enable automatic logins for a user you can also add the lines that start auto login, adjust the
[SeatDefaults] greeter-session=lightdm-gtk-greeter user-session=mate autologin-user=
Once that is finished you can reboot and you will be presented with a graphical login prompt or automatically logged in depending on what you setup.
One Last Package
One last package, needed if this is to be a virtual machine. In order to install the guest tools for VirtualBox you will need the build tools and yes it could have been added onto one one the Mate install lines above.
sudo apt-get install build-essential
This was a minimal install, depending on which MATE you installed depends on which tools you will have.
Now that Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is at release 3 you can pick up a kernel and X11 upgrade. You need to specifically request the update. See the official post for details
sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-lts-vivid \
xserver-xorg-core-lts-vivid xserver-xorg-lts-vivid \
xserver-xorg-video-all-lts-vivid xserver-xorg-input-all-lts-vivid \