Mutter (software)

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Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release April 2011; 6 years ago (2011-04)
Stable release 3.26.0 (13 September 2017; 3 months ago (2017-09-13)[1]) [±]
Preview release 3.27.4 (10 January 2018; 2 days ago (2018-01-10)) [±]
Written in C
Operating system Linux, FreeBSD
Size 500 KiB[2]
License GPLv2[3]

Mutter is a window manager initially designed and implemented for the X Window System, and recently has evolved to be a Wayland compositor. It became the default window manager in GNOME 3, replacing Metacity[4] which used GTK+ for rendering. Mutter uses a graphics library called Clutter giving it OpenGL capability. Mutter is a portmanteau of Metacity and Clutter.

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


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

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

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


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]


Muffin is a fork of Mutter by the Linux Mint team for their Cinnamon desktop environment. Cinnamon's shell, a fork of GNOME Shell, is written as a plugin for Muffin.


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