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I was wondering if mate will ever show up in the official repos and be installable without the ppa?

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MATE 1.8 is in the official repositories beginning with Ubuntu 14.10, "Utopic Unicorn." See http://wiki.mate-desktop.org/download.

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Technically it can happen, because there is not any conflict between "Mate Desktop" packages and "Ubuntu Repository" packages. I think it depends on Ubuntu development team and its relation to "Mate Desktop" development team, but i believe that it is not matter because a software popularity will lead to add a it's packages into official Ubuntu repository.

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Mate is in the process of being submitted to the Debian repositories, so it is just a matter of time really.

The biggest hurdle is having someone (preferably multiple people) to manage and maintain the packages (and to handle bug reports etc). Another problem is that the Debian people don't like the fact that MATE uses deprecated technologies forked from GNOME 2 - this problem is getting better with each MATE release. Once these are sorted, Mate will probably land in the Debian repositories like any other Desktop Environment. Then, it will automatically become part of the Ubuntu repositories, too.

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