Mutter (software)

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Developer(s) The GNOME Project
Initial release April 2011; 8 years ago (2011-04)
Stable release 3.34[1] (12 September 2019; 7 days ago (2019-09-12)) [±]
Preview release 3.33.92[2] (7 September 2019; 12 days ago (2019-09-07)) [±]
Written in C
Operating system Linux, FreeBSD
Size 40.2 kB (amd64 .deb package)[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 management

Mutter uses a graphics library called Clutter giving it OpenGL capability. Mutter is a portmanteau of 'M'etacity and Cl'utter'. 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.

Release history

Support for HiDPI was added to version 3.13 of Mutter by Adel Gadllah.[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]


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 (12 September 2019). "GNOME 3.34 released". GNOME Mail Services (Mailing list). Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  2. ^ Jardón, Javier (7 September 2019). "GNOME 3.33.92 (GNOME 3.34rc2) RELEASED". GNOME Mail Services (Mailing list). Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Debian Mutter Package in sid". Debian Packages.
  4. ^ "COPYING · master · GNOME / mutter". GNOME 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. ^ Adel Gadllah (2014-05-03). "wayland: Add basic hidpi support". Retrieved 2014-05-03.
  8. ^ Florian Müllner (2014-05-27). "mutter 3.13.2".
  9. ^ Carlos Garnacho (2014-06-04). "wayland: Implement the server side bits of wl_touch_interface".
  10. ^ Florian Müllner (2014-06-24). "mutter 3.13.3". [email protected] (Mailing list).
  11. ^ "Bug 724442 - Touchscreen does not work".
  12. ^ Florian Müllner (2014-07-23). "mutter 3.13.4". [email protected] (Mailing list).
  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.

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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