Install Cinnamon or Mate on Debian Wheezy

These are two of the more elegant desktops for Debian available as options to the default. I ran across them while I was testing new distros to move to after the changes Ubuntu has been making and the path they are heading to. Feel free to give them a try.


  • Please ensure that you are running the commands with your version, don’t just copy and paste. Example: I list wheezy and upstream, you may be using something else.


  • MATE 1.8 is currently packaged for wheezy (via backports), testing (jessie), and unstable (sid). In the case of wheezy the backports repository has to be enabled as described in the official backport documentation.

For Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a GTK+ 3-based desktop environment. It originally started as a fork of the GNOME Shell, the successor of the GTK+2-based GNOME Panel, and was initially developed by (and for) Linux Mint.Because Cinnamon intends to implement a different graphical user interface (GUI) than GNOME, many of the GNOME Core Applications were forked.

Make sure your /etc/apt/sources.list is properly setup, see here for sources files.

Run each of the following lines separately:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install linuxmint-keyring
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cinnamon cinnamon-session cinnamon-settings

That’s it, log out of your current session, select Cinnamon

For Mate

MATE (Spanish pronunciation: ˈmate) is a desktop environment forked from the now-unmaintained code base of GNOME 2. It is named after the South American plant Yerba mate and tea made from the herb, mate. The use of a new name (“MATE” instead of “GNOME”) avoids conflicts with GNOME 3 components.

Make sure your /etc/apt/sources.list is properly setup, see here for sources files.

Now to install MATE choose 1 of the 3 apt-get lines below.

  • this installs the base packages
apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-core
  • this to install mate-core and more extras
apt-get install mate-desktop-environment
  • this to install mate-core + mate-desktop-environment and even more extras.
apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-extras

That’s it, log out of your current session, select Mate as your default session and then log back in.


2 thoughts on “Install Cinnamon or Mate on Debian Wheezy”

  1. Hello! Nice post, thanks.
    Can I install cinnamon from the CLI on Debian, I mean, without installing the “Desktop” part on instalation; then from terminal as root, do the commands above?
    Or is it better to install as you said, then remove the default Gnome desktop altogether?
    Thank you


    1. Thanks for the note.

      I’ve tried it both ways. Doing it from command line is trickier as you have to install other features that get installed in the Desktop version. I recommend doing the desktop install then changing either one.


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