Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 15:36

(MATE Desktop customized with Yosemite Theme Pack)

Following the first and the second tutorials, it's MATE Desktop's turn now getting customized with Yosemite Theme Pack. We will use OS-X-Yosemite as both interior (GTK3) and exterior (Metacity) themes, McHigh Sierra as icon theme, Madmac as Plank theme, plus some more tweaks done via MATE Tweak Tool. You don't need to install any additional software package. This customization has been tested and worked on Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS. It's really fun and everybody new to customization can benefit from the basics practiced here. Enjoy it, and share with your friends!

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On customization, see also KDE4 on KDE5 | KDE-MojaveCT | GNOME-McMojave

Result Talks First

This is the one we want to achieve.

(MATE Desktop with translucent top panel featuring global menu and "finder" icon; translucent bottom dock with hover animation; decorated with metallic-glossy icons and also a Sierra background)

And this is how global menu looks like with Caja File Manager:

And this is the GNOME Disk Utility showing:

And this one is Shotwell Photo Manager showing:


I did this customization on Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS with MATE 1.20.1. My composition is:

What we will do

We will install Controls theme, Window Border theme, and Icons theme like pictures below.

(Controls (aka GTK3 Theme), Window border (aka Metacity theme), and Icons theme selectors)

We will adjust our MATE Tweak Tool to use a custom Cupertino Layout and to enable Marco window manager compositing. See pictures below.

(Enable Cupertino first and then save it as new name Supertino)

Step 1: set wallpaper

Like previous articles, you can download macOS wallpapers from sites like 512 pixels.

Step 2: set icon theme

The icon theme is McHigh Sierra. Download it from Extract it and copy the folder into ~/.icons. Enable it by right-click desktop area > Change Background > see Themes tab > select first theme > Customize > Icons > select MacOSX > OK.

 (The download page and what file should be downloaded)

(Enabling the icon theme)

Step 3: set window decoration

The Metacity theme here is OS-X-Yosemite. Download it from Extract it and copy the folder into ~/.themes. Enable it by right-click on desktop area > Change Background > see Themes tab > select first theme > Customize > see Window Border tab > select OS-X-Yosemite > close.

(Enabling metacity theme)

Step 4: set GTK3 theme

The GTK3 theme here is also OS-X-Yosemite. This GTK3 theme is already included along with Metacity theme above. If you have already installed it, you don't need to do anything else. Enable it by right-click on desktop area > Change Background > see Theme tab > select first theme > Customize > see Controls tab > select OS-X-Yosemite theme > OK.

  (Enabling GTK3 theme)

Note that MATE has close relationship to GNOME so you may also download any GTK3 theme from site instead of Also note that starting from version 1.18 MATE has already been fully GTK3. So every GTK3 theme is compatible with both desktops. 

Step 5: switch to MATE Cupertino layout

Start MATE Tweak and switch panel layout to Cupertino. This makes the desktop shows top panel (with global menu) and bottom dock (Plank), a basic setup of macOS. You will later edit the panel layout and save the edited layout as another name.

(Enabling Cupertino layout with MATE Tweak)

Step 6: modify top panel

  • Set panel thickness from 28 to 24
  • Set panel transparency to 80%
  • Remove start menu
  • Add finder button

After you enabled Cupertino, it is a little bit complicated to edit the panel as you need to remove an applet and then unlock another one in order to be able to edit the panel. Anyway, here's how:

  • First: right-click the Brisk menu button > Remove > Brisk menu removed. 
  • Second: right-click the global menu applet > Unlock > right-click > Move > drag it to the right a little. You should have blank space on the most left now.
  • Third: right-click on the most left > Properties > make panel size 24 > make panel transparency 80% > OK.
  • Fourth: right-click on the same area > Add to Panel > find applet named Search for files > double-click to add it to panel > move it to the right side of panel.
  • Fifth: move everything on panel to its right place > lock everything. 
  • Sixth: start MATE Tweak and save panel layout as Supertino.

(Left: panel size; right: panel transparency)

(Left: applet locked to panel, middle: applet unlocked, you can remove or move it; right: panel properties)
(Position of the cursor is always a little off the applet)

Step 7: set plank theme

The Plank theme is Madmac. Download it from Extract it and copy the theme folder into ~/.local/share/plank/themes/. Enable it by Ctrl+right-click on Plank > Preferences > set theme: madmac.

Step 8: icons on desktop

Unlike GNOME, MATE permits icons on desktop by default. Simply use start menu and drag-and-drop or Alt+F2 and drag-and-drop the icon.

(Simply drag the bigger icon from beside of the search bar and drop it on wallpaper area)

Finalize everything

Up to this point, you should have at least two theme folders in two folders, namely OS-X-Yosemite-1.0.1 under ~/.themes and MacOSX under ~/.icons. Under the former, you should see a gtk-3.0 folder and also metacity-1 folder. Those are the folders of your Controls and Window borders. See picture below.

(Left: Metacity and GTK3 theme folders in ~/.themes; right: icon theme folder in ~/.icons)

Final result

This is how your MATE desktop should look like after doing all instructions:

Closing words

That's all. I am more satisfied with this one compared to the previous GNOME+McMojave one. The top panel is just lovely with its size and trasparency, not to mention we can put global menu on it. The bottom dock size, zoom animation, and translucency are just perfect in my opinion. This one is closer to the the first KDE+MojaveCT one. I wish this satisfies you as well. However, indeed I let several empty spaces for you to make awesome stuffs by your own creativity. See you in the next customization tutorial!

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.