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Metacity running on GNOME
Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release 2.4.2 5 October 2002 (2002-10)
Stable release 3.16.1 (April 15, 2015 (2015-04-15))
Written in C
Operating system Linux, Solaris, BSD, other Unix-like
Platform GNOME
Type X window manager
License GNU General Public License
Website //

Metacity [1] was the window manager used by default in the GNOME 2 desktop environment[2] until GNOME 3, where it was replaced by Mutter.[3] It is still used by GNOME Flashback, a session for GNOME 3 which provides a similar user experience to the Gnome 2.x series sessions.

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. Originally, Metacity used GTK+ 2 however as of version 3.12.0 it has been ported to GTK+ 3.[4]


  • Aim 1
  • Themes 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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."[5] 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.[6] Havoc Pennington wrote an essay explaining why he wrote Metacity and simplified the GNOME desktop.[7] 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, A popular theme engine is Clearlooks, which has been GNOME's default since version 2.12.[8]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^

External links

  • Metacity blog
  • Metacity Download Site
  • Metacity Themes
  • Understanding Metacity Themes, Thomas Thurman
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