Fixing VMware Unity Menu With MATE Desktop

If you’re using MATE Desktop in a virtual machine with VMware, you might notice that when you open the Unity Applications menu on your host, you get an empty list.

Luckily, there’s an easy fix.

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cat >> ~/.profile <<MATEFIX
# Fix VMware Unity mode for MATE.
XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=GNOME
export XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP
MATEFIX

Run the above, log out and back in to your desktop, and re-enter VMware Unity. Ta-da!

The issue is that a VMware tools utility, /usr/bin/vmware-xdg-detect-de, does not recognize MATE (even though MATE is just GNOME2), so by setting the environment variable XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP in your .profile, you force VMware to recognize your desktop as GNOME.

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