Mutter (software)

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Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release April 2011; 7 years ago (2011-04)
Stable release 3.30.2 (31 October 2018; 18 days ago (2018-10-31)[1]) [±]
Preview release 3.31.2 (16 November 2018; 2 days ago (2018-11-16)[2]) [±]
Written in C
Operating system Linux, FreeBSD
Size 500 KiB[3]
License GPLv2[4]

Mutter is a window manager initially designed and implemented for the X Window System, but then evolved to be a Wayland compositor. It became the default window manager in GNOME 3, replacing Metacity[5] which used GTK+ for rendering.

Window manager

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,[6] 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.[7]

In version 3.13.2 logind integration replaced mutter-launch.[8]

In version 3.13.3 (June 24, 2014) the server side bits of wl_touch_interface were implemented by Carlos Garnacho.[9][10][11][12]


OpenGL games run with a performance hit when using a compositing window manager; in June 2010, Phoronix evaluated this as similar for Mutter[13] and Compiz.[14] The default of Ubuntu 18.04 was reverted to Xorg citing issues with GNOME Shell and Mutter.[15] 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. ^ Jardón, Javier (31 October 2018). "GNOME 3.30.2 RELEASED". GNOME Mail Services (Mailing list). Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  2. ^ Catanzaro, Michael (16 November 2018). "GNOME 3.31.2 released". GNOME Mail Services (Mailing list). Retrieved 18 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Debian Mutter Package in sid".
  4. ^ "COPYING · master · GNOME / mutter". GitLab.
  5. ^ Vervloesem, Koen (2009-08-04). "Mutter: a window manager for GNOME 3". Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  6. ^ Kissling, Kristian (2009-07-08). "Mutter: Window Manager in GNOME's Future". Linux Magazine. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  7. ^ "wayland: Add basic hidpi support". 2014-05-03. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  8. ^ "mutter 3.13.2 release notes". 2014-05-27.
  9. ^ "wayland: Implement the server side bits of wl_touch_interface". 2014-06-04.
  10. ^ "mutter 3.13.3 release notes". 2014-06-24.
  11. ^ "Bug 724442 - Touchscreen does not work".
  12. ^ "3.13.4".
  13. ^ Larabel, Michael (2010-06-21). "Mutter Can Cause A Gaming/OpenGL Performance Hit Too". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  14. ^ Larabel, Michael (2010-05-21). "The Cost Of Running Compiz". Phoronix. Retrieved 2011-04-24.
  15. ^ "Ubuntu reverting to Xorg in Bionic Beaver". The Register.

Further reading

  • Tilley, Sean (6 August 2017). "The Price of Freedom — A Review of the Librem 15 v3". Medium.
  • Stieben, Danny (22 July 2013). "Gnome-Based Desktop Environments Explained: MATE vs. Gnome Shell vs. Unity vs. Cinnamon".

External links

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