@DebConf17: Ad-hoc BoF: Bits from the Debian+Ubuntu MATE Packaging Team

On Tuesday, late afternoon, at DebConf17, I offered an ad-hoc BoF about the current status of the MATE Desktop packaging efforts in Debian and Ubuntu. I need to get this written down, before DebConf17 feels too far away...

Unfortunately, I scheduled that BoF with Joey Hess's talk about his post-Debian life, which attracted many people. So, only a small group of people came together to share and discuss about the current status of MATE in Debian and Ubuntu.

Ongoing efforts around MATE in Debian and Ubuntu

A quick summary of ongoing efforts was provided and also a collection of URLs for reporting bugs, looking up packaging status, etc. was listed:

Cross-Distro Packaging Workflow

The workflow of Debian and Ubuntu packaging in the MATE Packaging Team was described in detail (basically, all packages go through Debian, only exception being freeze states of this or that distro) and the benefit of the close cooperation between the two projects underlined. We reduce the packaging effort tremendously by working very closely together. In the past, we (Martin Wimpress and myself) also invited the people from Linux Mint to join our cross-distro packaging efforts, but so far to no avail. Also the packaging for the Parrot Security OS has recently been integrated in our packaging Git repository.

Requested / Upcoming Improvements

From people attending the BoF, I got these main inputs, which I hope to accomplish with the help of all, for Debian buster:

  • Improve the MATE User Guide, I am quite optimistic that we get help from the person that asked for a better help tool on the MATE Desktop (like it was back in the times of old GNOMEv2)
  • Provide several desktop layouts in Debian, like available in Ubuntu MATE, that can be chosen / configured by the MATE Tweak Tool
  • Port the Ubuntu MATE Welcome application to Debian and autostart it on first login, like people know it from Ubuntu MATE

Another project that I will also work on for Debian buster is proper Ayatana Indicator support for Debian's MATE Desktop.


Thanks to all the people attending the BoF for your sharings and input. Feel invited to contribute to our team's effort in improving the user experience of the MATE Destkop Environment in Debian (and Ubuntu, and ...). Also a big thanks to the people already on the team for bringing MATE in Debian to where it is now. Good work, folks!