New answers tagged mate
Unfortunately I don't have the answers to all of your questions. I did some testing on CentOS 7 with Mate 1.8.1, so here goes: A. Yes, you can edit ~/.themes. I noticed that changes to (e.g.) buttons take effect when opening new windows. For instance, suppose you make changes by changing pictures in the gtk-2.0 and you open another filemanager window, that ...
Assuming you are in remote session: Alt+F1 to bring up menu ... Start a terminal and touch .Xauthority Logout and Restart your remote desktop connection.
For all your holiday decorations try this: http://xfce-look.org/content/show.php/XDecorations?content=167575
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