mate-session - Man Page

Start the MATE Desktop Environment.


mate-session [Options]


The mate-session program starts up the MATE desktop environment. This command is typically executed by your Login/Display Manager (like GDM, LXDM, XDM, SLiM, or from your X startup scripts like .xinitrc). It will load either your saved session, or it will provide a default session for the user as defined by the system administrator (or the default MATE installation on your system).

The default session is defined in the dconf keys under /org/mate/desktop/session/
When saving a session, mate-session saves the currently running applications in the ~/.config/mate-session/saved-session directory of the users /home.

mate-session is an X11 session manager. It can manage MATE applications as well as any other X11 SM compliant ones.


The following options are supported

-a,  --autostart=DIR

Start all applications defined in "DIR", instead of starting the applications defined in /org/mate/desktop/session/default-session
Multiple --autostart options can be passed.

-f,  --failsafe

Run in fail-safe mode. User-specified applications will not be started.


Enable debugging code.


X display to use.


Output version information and exit.

-?,  -h,  --help

Print standard command line options.


Print all command line options.


mate-session sets several environment variables for the use of its child processes


This variable is used by session-manager aware clients to contact mate-session.


This variable is set to the X display being used by mate-session. Note that if the --display option is used this might be different from the setting of the environment variable when mate-session is invoked.



The applications defined in the above directories will be started on login. mate-session-properties(1) can be used to easily configure them.


This directory contains the list of applications of the saved session.


Should you encounter any bugs, they may be reported at


This Manual page was originally written for gnome-session by

Miguel de Icaza <> (2000)
Vincent Untz <> (2009-2010)

It has been updated for the MATE Desktop Environment by

Adam Erdman <> (2014)

See Also

Further information may also be available at:

mate-session-properties(1), mate-session-save(1), mate-wm(1)

Referenced By

mate-session-properties(1), mate-session-save(1), mate-wm(1).

11 February 2014 MATE Desktop Environment