MATE 1.8 was released about 3 weeks ago, bringing various refinements and new features such as support for Metacity as window manager, side-by-side window tiling and more, as well as many bug fixes - for more information, see THIS article.
MATE Desktop is a GNOME2 fork which lets you use the old GNOME 2 desktop interface and applications but it also allows you to use new applications so for instance, you can use Nautilus 3 with it and so on. Also, MATE can be installed in parallel with GNOME 3, something that wasn't possible with the vanilla GNOME 2.
Install MATE Desktop 1.8 in Ubuntu
Warning: do not use the instructions below if you're using Linux Mint (it might break your installation)!
To add the MATE PPAs and install MATE Desktop 1.8 in Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr, use the following commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/trusty-mate sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-core mate-desktop-environment
To install MATE in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, use the commands below:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/ppa sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-mate-dev/precise-mate sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install mate-desktop-environment-core mate-desktop-environment
Once all the packages are installed, log out and select MATE from the login screen.
For how to install MATE Desktop in other Linux distributions, see the official MATE wiki.
How to remove MATE 1.8 from Ubuntu
If you've used our instructions to install the latest MATE 1.8 in Ubuntu 14.04 or 13.10, you can completely remove MATE and all the packages installed from its repository by using the following command:
sudo apt-get purge atril atril-common caja caja-common engrampa engrampa-common eom eom-common gir1.2-mate-panel libatrildocument3 libatrilview3 libcaja-extension1 libgtkmm-2.4-1c2a libgxps2 libmarco-private0 libmate-desktop-2-17 libmate-menu2 libmate-panel-applet-4-1 libmate-slab0 libmate-window-settings1 libmatedict6 libmatekbd-common libmatekbd4 libmateweather-common libmateweather1 marco marco-common mate-applets mate-applets-common mate-backgrounds mate-control-center mate-control-center-common mate-desktop mate-desktop-common mate-desktop-environment mate-desktop-environment-core mate-icon-theme mate-icon-theme-faenza mate-media mate-media-common mate-media-pulse mate-menus mate-notification-daemon mate-panel mate-panel-common mate-polkit mate-polkit-common mate-power-manager mate-power-manager-common mate-session-manager mate-settings-daemon mate-settings-daemon-common mate-settings-daemon-pulse mate-system-monitor mate-system-monitor-common mate-terminal mate-terminal-common mate-themes mate-utils mate-utils-common pluma pluma-common