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MATE vs Unity, GNOME 3: Future of Open Source Desktop?

MATE, the open-source desktop environment whose name no one is sure how to pronounce, is now nearly a year old. Many of us never thought it would make it this far, but the interface has held own against competitors like Unity and GNOME Shell. But does MATE have a long-term future in the fast-evolving world of desktop Linux? Here are some thoughts.