In the release announcement, MATE 1.6 is described as "a giant step forward from the 1.4 release. In this release, we have replaced many deprecated packages and libraries with new technologies available in GLib. We have also added a lot of new features to MATE."
Some of the fun features to the MATE 1.6 of the GNOME 2.x code-base include some systemd work, file manager work, and removing some old GNOME2 work:
- The systemd-logind is now supported by MATE 1.6 with the MATE Session Manager, Screensaver, and Power Manager items.
- The Caja (Nautilus fork of the file-manager) includes improved sidebar, thumbnail work, some backports from Nautilus 3, and support for the FreeDesktop.org DBus interface.
- Several new Control Center improvements.
- New GTK2/3 themes support.
- Replacing some MATE / GNOME2 components with those from upstream GNOME 3.
The MATE 1.6 release announcement concludes with, "MATE 1.6 is the result of 8 months of intense development and contains 1800 contributions by 39 people, and more than 150 translators."