Metacity (pron.: /məˈtæsɪti/) was the window manager used by default in the GNOME 2 desktop environment until GNOME 3, where it was replaced by Mutter. GNOME 1 used the Sawfish window manager. A fork, renamed to "Marco", is still being actively developed and maintained as part of the MATE desktop environment, itself a fork of GNOME 2 as a whole.
The development of Metacity was started by Havoc Pennington and it is released under the GNU General Public License. Before the introduction of Metacity in GNOME 2.2, GNOME used Enlightenment and then Sawfish as its window manager. Although Metacity is part of the GNOME project and designed to integrate into the GNOME desktop, it does not require GNOME to run, and GNOME can be used with different window managers provided that they support the part of the ICCCM specification that GNOME requires.
Metacity uses the GTK+ graphical widget toolkit to create its user interface components, which makes it themeable and makes it blend in with other GTK+ applications.
Metacity's focus is on simplicity and usability rather than novelties. Its author has characterized it as a "Boring window manager for the adult in you. Many window managers are like Marshmallow Froot Loops; Metacity is like Cheerios." People in favour of Metacity say that it is aimed at new computer users who do not need the abundant options and functionality of Sawfish or Enlightenment. Havoc Pennington wrote an essay explaining why he wrote Metacity and simplified the GNOME desktop. Devil's Pie and Brightside are among the packages that enable increased control over windows, however these applications cannot override Metacity's key bindings.
Despite the incomplete state of Metacity theme development documentation, many themes have been written for Metacity. A huge number of such themes can be downloaded from GNOME's art site, art.gnome.org. A popular theme engine is Clearlooks, which has been GNOME's default since version 2.12.
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