Most of the time people are bored by the standard desktop environment of the Linux distribution in Debian. So they look for some kind of desktop customization. In this case, there are a number of customization tools and options available that you can install or activate on your Debian 10 system. However, today we will explore a customization option that will allow you to easily change the default desktop environment of Debian 10. The Mate desktop environment can be used to change the overall look of your Debian 10 desktop.

This article will show you how to quickly install the Mate Desktop Environment on the Debian 10 buster using the command line. Let’s start the setup.

Installation of Mate desktop on Debian 10 (Buster)

To install the Mate desktop on your system, you need to do the following steps:

Install Mate desktop using apt repositories

The mate desktop environment is available in the Debian 10 apt repositories. So, you can install it from there. Let’s start!

Step 1: Open terminal

First, open you will the terminal. To do that, you will click on the ‘Activities’ option that is available on the top left corner of the Debian 10 desktop and then type the terminal word in the search bar. Click on the terminal application that is highlighted in the following image.

Open Linux Terminal

Step 2: Install Mate desktop

As mentioned above, mate desktop is available in the Debian 10 apt repositories. Therefore, you can install the mate desktop environment on your Debian 10 system by typing the following command on the terminal:

$ sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment

Install mate Desktop Environment

During the installation of the mate desktop, the user prompt will display on the terminal that will ask you either you want to continue the installation process or not. In case of yes press ‘y’ and then hit ‘Enter’ from your keyboard. Again the installation will resume. It will take time to complete the whole installation of all mate desktop packages.

Confirm installation

Step 3: Reboot system

Once the installation is completed, you will reboot your Debian 10 system by using the following command:

$ sudo reboot


Step 4:  Set up mate desktop appearance

Once you logged into the system again, click on the system ‘Activities’ and then type Appearance in the search bar. You will the following results on your system:

Configure Appearance

Now, click on the Appearance option which is the red highlighted in the above displaying image.

Once you launched the appearance window, you will see the following screen on your system:

Launch Appearance app

It means the mate desktop environment has been installed on your system.

Now, click on the launch button.


The following tray will be displayed on your system from where you can select icons, fonts, and style for your desktop.

Appearance configurator

To search for more installed utilities, you can check it by visiting the installed software window as follows:

You can see the other Mate desktop environment utilities has been also installed on your system.

Mate Desktop utilities

You can also access the Mate desktop applications by using the application launcher as follows:

Mate apps

If you getting bored from the Mate desktop then you can easily uninstall it from Debian 10 buster and can install the new one. Use the following command to uninstall the Mate desktop environment.

$ sudo apt --purge remove mate-desktop-environment
$ sudo apt autoremove

Remove Mate


In this article, by following the above-described method you can easily install the Mate desktop environment on Debian 10 buster. The different steps are described that may seem a little tricky because of the terminal commands that are mentioned in the installation process. But, if you will perform each step correctly, then you can surely install Mate desktop on your system. Furthermore, you need to be patient for the execution of all commands that will take time to complete, especially when you have a slow network connection speed.

How to Install MATE Desktop on Debian 10

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn