Mutter: Window Manager in GNOME's Future

Jul 08, 2009

GNOME developer Thomas Thurman describes the future of the Metacity 2 window manager in a project blog. Apparently a new GNOME component named Mutter will be taking over its functions.

Development of GNOME 3 is gradually moving into focus. Although there is no intent to reinvent the wheel as with KDE 4, there is some drive toward innovation. Its name is the Mutter window manager, so named because it supports Clutter, and it is to take the place of Metacity 3. Thomas Thurman describes how the future is "fairly clear" in his Metacity blog:

"Your chronicler believes that the community is better served by working on Mutter, and will do so. Metacity 2 will not be actively developed, other than for bug fixes."

The forthcoming GNOME 2.28 will include Mutter as an alternative window manager and it will be the standard in GNOME 3. The Clutter library associated with Mutter is currently GNOME's Next Best Thing that should help build GUIs using hardware acceleration and animation. Clutter does this by supporting OpenGL and through its bindings to numerous programming languages. The GNOME Shell project is already using Clutter.

As Thurman says in his blog, Metacity 2 will be taking bug fixes, but is no longer actively deployed, unless "some people out there would like Metacity 2 to continue, and if so they are welcome to fork the project and take over." With over 500 open bugs, he suggests resolving them bit by bit and by category: "Gentle reader, might you be willing to take on a block or two?"

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  • Performance

    Won't this degrade gnome's performance??? Right now i think gnome runs relatively well in my pentium 4 2,8 GHz, with 512 mb ram and a 32 mb (shared memory....) graphics card. With mutter i think this will change, for the worst... Well, there's always XFCE, fluxbox and many others...
  • gnome3

    I was excited when I heard about gnome 3..... then I saw it in its current state....
    all I have to say is Ugh! compared to Kde....
    Its like comparing a Ferrari to a Rusty Old Ford XF Falcon
  • No reinvention


    Learn to read. Mutter is based on metacity. Not a complete rewrite
  • Funny

    "Although there is no intent to reinvent the wheel as with KDE 4"

    That made me laugh, the writer got seriously confused here. Since the whole article suggest the exact opposite. Rather than KDE 4s evolutionary approach to the window-manger, by adding new features to the existing code, Gnome is reinventing the wheel by writing a new window-manger.

    Oh well, it's not exactly the first time. I think they started out with ewm then switched to Sawmill/sawfish and then replaced it with Metacity for 2.0 or so.
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