Mutter (software)

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Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release April 2011; 4 years ago (2011-04)
Stable release 3.16.3 (May 18, 2015; 3 months ago (2015-05-18)) [±][1]
Preview release 3.17.90 beta (August 19, 2015; 11 days ago (2015-08-19)) [±][2]
Written in C
Operating system GNU/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. 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, the window manager used in the Budgie desktop environment, is another window manager built on libmutter.[8][9]

The name Mutter is a portmanteau of Metacity Clutter.


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

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

In Mutter version 3.13.3 from June 24th 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.


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