However, I'm working on a MATE project that is based on a Debian derivative. MATE has recently been accepted into the Debian Backports repository for Wheezy, so I decided to do a "MATE from scratch" on Debian using an old netbook to get familiar with the MATE package naming differences between Arch Linux and Debian.
I installed Debian Wheezy from the netinst ISO to ensure the target install was as minimal as possible. I went with the defaults until the 'Software selection' dialogue, at this point unselect everything except "SSH server". Like this:
[ ] Debian desktop environment [ ] Web server [ ] Print server [ ] SQL database [ ] DNS Server [ ] File server [ ] Mail server [X] SSH server [ ] Laptop [ ] Standard system utilities
Debian ISO with Firmware
If you're installing on hardware that requires additional firmware in order for it to work with Linux then use the netinst ISO that includes firmware.
When the install is finished, reboot and configure Debian a little.
You'll need to install
lsb-release for the following to work.
apt-get install lsb-release
This is what I put in
cat >/etc/apt/sources.list<<EOF deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ $(lsb_release -cs) main contrib non-free deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ $(lsb_release -cs) main contrib non-free deb http://security.debian.org/ $(lsb_release -cs)/updates main contrib non-free deb-src http://security.debian.org/ $(lsb_release -cs)/updates main contrib non-free # $(lsb_release -cs)-updates, previously known as 'volatile' deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ $(lsb_release -cs)-updates main contrib non-free deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian/ $(lsb_release -cs)-updates main contrib non-free EOF
MATE is only available in the wheezy-backports repository.
cat >/etc/apt/sources.list.d/backports.list <<EOF deb http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian $(lsb_release -cs)-backports main contrib non-free deb-src http://ftp.uk.debian.org/debian $(lsb_release -cs)-backports main contrib non-free EOF
sudo apt-get update
All backports are deactivated by default (i.e. the packages are pinned to 100 by using ButAutomaticUpgrades: yes in the Release files. If you want to install something from backports run:
apt-get -t wheezy-backports install "package"
Install MATE Desktop
First install the LightDM display manager.
apt-get install accountsservice lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter
Now for the MATE Desktop itself.
apt-get -t wheezy-backports install mate-desktop-environment-extras
I typically use NetworkManager, so lets install that too.
apt-get install network-manager-gnome
Depending on your hardware you may require CPU frequency utilities or additional firmware.
apt-get install cpufreqd cpufrequtil firmware-linux firmware-linux-nonfree
And, that's it! Reboot and you'll see the LightDM greeter waiting for your login credentials.