Mutter (software)

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Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release April 2011; 5 years ago (2011-04)
Stable release 3.20.2 (10 May 2016; 3 months ago (2016-05-10)[1]) [±]
Preview release 3.21.4 (20 July 2016; 40 days ago (2016-07-20)) [±][2]
Written in C
Operating system GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, others
Size 500 KiB[3]
License GNU General Public License

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. The name is a portmanteau of Metacity and Clutter.

Mutter can function as 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. Gala, a core component of the Pantheon desktop environment, is built using libmutter.[6][7] Budgie-wm, used in the Budgie desktop environment, is another window manager built on libmutter.[8][9]


Adel Gadllah added support for HiDPI to version 3.13 of Mutter.[10]

In version 3.13.2 logind integration replaced mutter-launch.[11]

In version 3.13.3 (June 24, 2014) the server side bits of wl_touch_interface were implemented by Carlos Garnacho.[12][13][14][15]


OpenGL games run with a performance hit when using a compositing window manager; in June 2010, Phoronix evaluated this as similar for Mutter[16] and Compiz.[17]



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.


  1. ^ Clasen, Matthias (10 May 2016). "GNOME 3.20.2". gnome-announce-list (Mailing list). Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "GNOME 3.21.x Development Series". Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  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. ^ "Meet Gala: The Window Manager". 
  7. ^ "5 Myths About elementary". 
  8. ^ "Budgie". 
  9. ^ "solus-project/budgie-desktop". 
  10. ^ "wayland: Add basic hidpi support". 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-03. 
  11. ^ "mutter 3.13.2 release notes". 2014-05-27. 
  12. ^ "wayland: Implement the server side bits of wl_touch_interface". 2014-06-04. 
  13. ^ "mutter 3.13.3 release notes". 2014-06-24. 
  14. ^ "Bug 724442 - Touchscreen does not work". 
  15. ^ "3.13.4". 
  16. ^ Larabel, Michael (2010-06-21). "Mutter Can Cause A Gaming/OpenGL Performance Hit Too". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 
  17. ^ Larabel, Michael (2010-05-21). "The Cost Of Running Compiz". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-04-24. 

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