Mutter (software)

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Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release April 2011; 3 years ago (2011-04)
Stable release 3.14.1 (October 15, 2014; 10 days ago (2014-10-15)) [±][1]
Preview release 3.13.92 (September 19, 2014; 36 days ago (2014-09-19)) [±][2]
Written in C
Operating system Linux, FreeBSD, others
Size 500 KiB[3]
License GNU General Public License

Mutter is a window manager for the X Window System, and is in the process of becoming a Wayland compositor; it became the default window manager in GNOME 3, replacing Metacity.[4] While Metacity uses GTK+ for rendering, Mutter uses a graphics library called Clutter, and also supports OpenGL through Clutter.

The Mutter window manager can function as standalone window manager application for GNOME-like desktops, and serves as the primary window manager for the GNOME Shell desktop,[5] which is an integral part of GNOME 3. Mutter is extensible with plugins and supports numerous visual effects.

The name Mutter is a portmanteau of Metacity Clutter.


Adel Gadllah added support for HiDPI to version 3.13 of Mutter.[6]

In Mutter version 3.13.2 mutter-launch was replaced with logind integration.[7]

In Mutter version 3.13.3 from June 24th 2014, the server side bits of wl_touch_interface were implemented by Carlos Garnacho.[8][9][10][11]

Clutter touch events are translated into events being sent down the interface resource, with the exception of FRAME/CANCEL events, which are handled directly via an evdev event filter.

The seat now announces invariably the WL_SEAT_CAPABILITY_TOUCH capability, this should be eventually updated as devices come and go.

The creation of MetaWaylandTouchSurface structs is dynamic, attached to the lifetime of first/last touch on the client surface, and only if the surface requests the wl_touch interface. MetaWaylandTouchInfo structs are created to track individual touches, and are locked to a single MetaWaylandTouchSurface (the implicit grab surface) determined on CLUTTER_TOUCH_BEGIN.


OpenGL games run with a performance hit when using a compositing window manager; in June 2010, Phoronix evaluated this as similar for Mutter[12] and Compiz.[13]


GNOME Shell is partly written as a plugin to Mutter. Maybe as a result of that fact, some desktop environment have forked Mutter.


Muffin is the fork by the Cinnamon desktop environment and Cinnamon shell, the fork of GNOME Shell is written as a plugin for it.

Gala Window Manager[edit]

Gala Window Manager is the fork by Pantheon desktop environment.[14]


  1. ^ "GNOME Shell 3.14.1". GNOME mailing list. October 14, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ Jardón, Javier (September 19, 2014). "GNOME 3.13.92". gnome-devel-announce mailing list. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  3. ^ "Debian Mutter Package in sid". 
  4. ^ Vervloesem, Koen (2009-08-04). "Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  5. ^ Kissling, Kristian (2009-07-08). "Mutter: Window Manager in GNOME's Future". Linux Magazine. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  6. ^ "wayland: Add basic hidpi support". 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  7. ^ "mutter 3.13.2 release notes". 2014-05-27. 
  8. ^ "wayland: Implement the server side bits of wl_touch_interface". 2014-06-04. 
  9. ^ "mutter 3.13.3 release notes". 2014-06-24. 
  10. ^ "Bug 724442 - Touchscreen does not work". 
  11. ^ "3.13.4". 
  12. ^ Larabel, Michael (2010-06-21). "Mutter Can Cause A Gaming/OpenGL Performance Hit Too". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  13. ^ Larabel, Michael (2010-05-21). "The Cost Of Running Compiz". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  14. ^ "Meet Gala: The Window Manager". 

External links[edit]