BSD · Desktop environments · FreeBSD · FreeBSD 11 · Mate desktop

Installing Mate desktop on FreeBSD 11

Mate desktop is a fork of Gnome 2, which is not being maintained by developers now. In this  article let us see how to install Mate Desktop environment on FreeBSD 11.

FreeBSD 11 can be downloaded from this link. Install FreeBSD according to your requirements, and once the installation is complete, use the following steps to install Mate desktop evironment.

For more details and documentation of Mate desktop you can have a look here.

Update the package list

pkg update

Upgrade the packages, in case there are updates available

pkg upgrade

Install the packages required.

pkg install xf86-video-fbdev mate-desktop mate xorg

Add the following lines to /etc/rc.conf to enable mouse daemon, dbus daemon and hal daemon.


Create a new user for testing the setup

adduser test

Test the installation by running the following command. The command brings up the Mate session.

xinit mate-session

The login screen requires a display manager to work. Mate desktop environment doesn’t have a display manager of its own.Hence we can use any other display managers like XDM, GDM, slim etc to use the login manager. Here lets see how to configure Slim display manager with Mate desktop.

Install Slim

pkg install slim

Add the following line to /etc/rc.conf


Add the following line to .xinitrc file in the user’s home directory. If the file was available earlier, create a new file.

exec mate-session

Change the ownership of the above file.

chown test:test /home/test/.xinitrc

Reboot the machine. Now the machine will boot into Slim login where you can login to Mate session. You will get a screen similar to the image below.


Once you login, this is how your screen will look like:


4 thoughts on “Installing Mate desktop on FreeBSD 11

  1. I have a problem when installing the desktop environment. The error message is:
    No packages available to install matching ‘xf86-video-fbdev’ have been found in the repositories.
    What’s the problem? Any solution?

  2. Its not working for me. I can’t type anything to login. I’m on VMware player 12.

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