mate-session(1) 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 <[email protected]> (2000)
Vincent Untz <[email protected]> (2009-2010)

It has been updated for the MATE Desktop Environment by:

Adam Erdman <[email protected]> (2014)

Further information may also be available at:

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