Since included by default in Linux Mint 12 DVD, Mate Desktop Environment (MATE) has amazingly accepted by many Linux users. Even, many programmers has joined into this project and take part developing MATE. And now, there is an “official” homepage of MATE which can be found at mate-desktop.org. There are wiki, blog, installation manual and of course : repository.
Based on its Release Notes, there is already MATE 1.2 released and I've tried it in my Ubuntu 11.10. This is my conclusion about MATE 1.2 :
More more stable than previous releases.
Mate Panel looks great just exactly like Gnome 2 panel.
Fast enough :)
Sound Volume now included (very nice feature)
Many Modern Themes Work great
Great theme that works very well with MATE 1.2 is Orion theme that also supports gtk3. Theme package can be found here.
Still doesn't work with Ubuntu Ambiance theme
Couldn't use panel background
Installation manual could be seen here. We need Ubuntu repo to install MATE 1.2 because there are some packages depend on Ubuntu packages.
For more technical information, here is Mate 1.2 official Release Notes.