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Mutter (software)

Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release April 2011 (2011-04)
Stable release 3.14.2 (November 13, 2014 (2014-11-13)) [1]
Preview release 3.15.1 (October 30, 2014 (2014-10-30)) [2]
Written in C
Operating system GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, others
Size 500 KiB[3]
License GNU General Public License
Website //mutter/

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.


  • Development 1
  • Performance 2
  • Forks 3
    • Muffin 3.1
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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]

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[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. ^ "GNOME 3.14.2 is out". GNOME mailing list. November 13, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ Clasen, Matthias (October 30, 2014). "GNOME 3.15.1". gnome-devel-announce mailing list. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  3. ^ "Debian Mutter Package in sid". 
  4. ^ Vervloesem, Koen (2009-08-04). "Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3".  
  5. ^ Kissling, Kristian (2009-07-08). "Mutter: Window Manager in GNOME's Future".  
  6. ^ "Meet Gala: The Window Manager". 
  7. ^ "5 Myths About elementary". 
  8. ^ "Budgie". 
  9. ^ "evolve-os/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. ^  
  17. ^  

External links

  • Mutter tarballs
  • mutter-wayland tarballs
  • GNOME git: Mutter
  • GNOME Wiki: Mutter Gestures
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