The move from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3 resulted in varied emotions with many people liking the much needed change and for many, lets just say that they felt devastated.
The Linux Mint team, after waiting out the initial change with Mint 11, released Mint 12 with Gnome 3 and now they have their work cutout with the Gnome 2 fork MATE and the Cinnamon Shell.
MATE & Cinnamon
Linux Mint Debian 201204 ships with both MATE and Cinnamon Shell on the same ISO which is approximately 1.2 GB for both 32Bit & 64-Bit. They also released an Xfce edition of LMD but today we are going to have a look at LMDE with MATE.
MATE, with its latest release 1.2, has reached the stage where it will be called production ready. The stability has vastly improved as they have ironed out many bugs and added new functionalities.
Mint users will find MATE familiar to what they have been using over the past few years. You have the feature full Mint Menu that many people love and appreciate.
Gnome 2 applications have also been forked and have new names now. For example, the File Manager Nautilus fork is Caja, Gedit fork is Pluma, Eye of Gnome image viewer is now Eye of MATE image viewer and so on.
LMDE is a semi-rolling disto based on Debian Testing so you will see software at fairly latest versions. LMDE ships with many great applications like Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, Pidgin, Transmission, GIMP, GNOME Mplayer, VLC, the complete LibreOffice suite etc.
The LMDE includes the Mint Software Manager so installing applications is fairly simple.
You also have the Synaptic Package Manager and the Mint Update Manager which means managing and updating LMDE is a breeze.
I have been using the LMDE from quite some time now and I have had no issue with it and MATE. I will recommend LMDE to anyone looking for the GNOME 2 usability with a stable semi-rolling release experience base on Debian Testing.