I've just spent a few frustrating hours unable to boot Maté Live (I also tried Slackel) either from USB or CD. It's difficult to disentangle what's going on because there are so many local things it could be, from a bad burn to an unfriendly BIOS.
However, after trying several combinations on three different machines, and having succeeded with Ubuntu and Slitaz on some of the same hardware, I am beginning to wonder if it *is* a local problem. So in the first instance, I wonder if anyone's had similar trouble?
I am currently writing from Maté live on a laptop. It only boots if both CD and USB are present, and then appears to work flawlessly (very nice too
If only the CD is present, an error about "prefix" comes up, followed by a list of partitions and devices where something was not found, and the CD then dumps me in a prompt. The USB does so much earlier on, saying linux can't be found. If both are present, and I boot from the CD, the behaviour is the same including the list, but it looks as if whatever is being searched for is found on the USB - and Maté then boots. I don't think I tried the other way round, that is, booting from the USB with the CD in the drive.
I have successfully run Salix Live with the same hardware in the past (both the computers and the memory sticks). My main suspicion on that score is that one of the sticks may be a bit tired - it booted Slitaz, but with a lot less zip than the CD. However I did try another stick, also no good.
I have tried wiping the stick vigorously (new partition table, dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb, reformatting with a different filesystem then back to fat).
The next thing I might try is Xfce rather than Maté.
I have tried creating the USB by copying the files and running the install script, and also using LiveClone.