Donate to the Black Lab Linux Project

When you donate to the Black Lab Linux Project it helps us with many things:

Domain renewals
Aging equipment replacement

How much should you donate? Any amount you wish. No matter how large or small it goes to the project. We also take hardware donations as well. Contact for details. We thank you for your support.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1.  Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is a distribution of Black Lab Linux that utilizes the Mate Desktop environment.

What is Mate?

Developed by users for Arch Linux the Mate Desktop is a continuation of GNOME 2 that has support for GTK2 and GTK3 applications.  Frustrated by the inconsistencies and lack of polish of the GNOME3 desktop environment the Mate Desktop team set out to develop a desktop that continued with the reliability of GNOME2 while enhancing it with modern technologies. They have created one of the most widely accepted competitors to GNOME3.

With Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 you get the same application lineup that you get with Black Lab Linux.  Included are the following:

Linux Kernel 3.13.0-45
Mate Desktop 1.8.1
Firefox 35
Thunderbird 32
Steam Gaming Desktop
LibreOffice 4.4
Pidgin IM client
App Grid appstore

As well as all security updates until February 14, 2015 included.

Performance with the Mate Desktop is widely on par with XFCE.  Ram usage on initial boot is 301mb used. Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 is built on the same LTS technologies as the rest of our distributions.

How do I get it?

You can download Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 from our Sourceforge Page:

Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1 x86_64

Size: 1.7 gb

md5sum: 5f2c7ab443984230dcb4d51545406f49
SHA1: 33731252d9358741f1edbe92753e7270d7087cf4

If you have bandwidth restrictions or would like to support the Black Lab Linux project you can also purchase a bootable LiveDVD, LiveUSB, LiveSD card or you can get it on a preinstalled hard drive from our store:

Buy it Now

Live Mode

Like our GNOME Shell release to enter live mode you have to enter the following username:

Username: custom
Password: Leave it blank

Press enter and you will be into the Live desktop and you can start your testing or start installation.

Known Issues

- Slideshow is branded Ubuntu.  This will be changed in Black Lab Linux MATE 6.5

- Touchpad functionality has to be enabled in the Mouse dialog in the control center

- The installer will sometimes pick the largest disk for installation.  This includes any attached USB or Firewire Hard Drives.  If you have any external hard drives that are larger than your desired target drive please disconnect before boot.


We caught up with the lead developer and project lead for Black Lab Linux, Roberto J. Dohnert, and asked him a few questions about Black Lab Linux MATE 6.1.

Q) Why are we releasing Black Lab Linux MATE?
A) We are releasing Black Lab Linux MATE because of user demand.  Aside from KDE it has been one of the most requested desktop environments from our users.

Q) How long have we been working on this release and what made you decide to release it now?
A) We have actually produced a Mate build since Black Lab Linux 5 but that was produced for 1 specific customer.  We had updated it to 6.0 to bring that customer up to date with what we were doing with 6.0.  But the conversation about using Mate really started when we released Black Lab Linux 6.0 with GNOME3 which was a very popular release we had users write us and ask us if we wouldn't mind doing a Mate or Cinnamon build.  I gave one of our Facebook users a copy of the Mate build we were doing (without that customers customizations and specific apps) and it got passed around and so we decided to release an official build.

Q) Will Mate replace GNOME3 on the Pro Desktop and Education Desktop?
A) No.  There will not be a standalone Mate version for Pro Desktop.  We are looking at integrating Mate in with our Pro Desktop build as a "classic" experience for users who want it but lets face it, GNOME2 was extremely popular with business customers.  I can tell you that.  Red Hat, Oracle and SUSE can tell you that.  Go look at their customer forums.  You find plenty of topics asking them to integrate Mate.  Customers were using GNOME2 for years and they loved it, thats what they got used to and they dislike GNOME3 very much.  So if I can give them GNOME3 as an option along with the experience they  know and love I will do that.  Will it replace GNOME3?  Thats up to the customers and the users.  Will Education be changed?  Probably.  We sent out this build to Education users who are more open to experimentation than others and so far the Mate build has gotten high marks.  A solid 'A' if you will.

Q) Will this be updated as a standalone distribution or will it be released with our current distribution lineup?
A) When we release 6.5 we will be releasing GNOME3, KDE, XFCE, Mate builds.  We will continue to release KDE as a 32 bit build and we will start releasing a Mate 32 bit build.  All at the same time.

Q) Have you become a Mate fan and what desktop environment do you use the most?
A) Mate is a great desktop.  Its like XFCE on steroids.  I have been using KDE since 1999 with KDE 1.  I'm still a KDE fan.  I used XFCE quite a bit when KDE4 was first released because of the issues KDE4 had on its initial release.  I went back with KDE 4.6 and currently all my workstations use KDE 4.14, GNOME3 3.10 and now Mate but I always find myself booting into KDE4 more.  But Mate is very compelling because of its speed, its beauty and its all around functionality.