Introduction to Metacity

The Metacity package contains a window manager. This is useful for organizing and displaying windows.

Package Information

Metacity Dependencies


intltool-0.33, GConf-2.10.0, and GTK+-2.6.7


startup-notification-0.8, Xrender*, and libXcomposite**

* libXrender is installed during an XFree86 installation, but the pkgconfig .pc file Metacity looks for is not installed. Satisfy the requirement by installing an xrender.pc file into /usr/X11R6/lib/pkgconfig (not applicable if you have Xorg installed):

cat > /usr/X11R6/lib/pkgconfig/xrender.pc << "EOF"

Name: Xrender
Description: X Render Library
Version: 0.8.3
Cflags: -I${includedir} -I/usr/X11R6/include
Libs: -L${libdir} -lXrender  -L/usr/X11R6/lib -lX11

** libXcomposite can optionally be used, but here's what the Metacity package maintainer has to say about it in the configure script if the package is found: “Not building compositing manager by default now, must enable explicitly to get it. And it doesn't work, so don't bother unless you want to hack on it...

Installation of Metacity

Install Metacity by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=/usr --libexecdir=/usr/sbin --sysconfdir=/etc &&

Now, as the root user:

make install &&
install -v -m755 -d /usr/share/doc/metacity-2.10.1 &&
install -v -m644 README rationales.txt doc/*.txt \

Command Explanations

--with-gconf-schema-file-dir=/etc/gnome/gconf/schemas: Use this option if you are installing Metacity for a GNOME-2 installation.

Configuring Metacity

Configuration Information

To automatically start the Metacity window manager when you issue the startx command, append to (or create) .xinitrc using the command below (not required if you are installing Metacity for a GNOME-2 installation). Ensure you backup your current ~/.xinitrc before proceeding:

cat >> ~/.xinitrc << "EOF"
xterm &
exec metacity


Installed Programs: metacity, metacity-dialog, metacity-message, metacity-theme-viewer, and metacity-window-demo
Installed Library: libmetacity-private.[so,a]
Installed Directories: /etc/gnome/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults/schemas/apps/metacity, /etc/gnome/gconf/gconf.xml.defaults/apps/metacity, /usr/include/metacity-1, /usr/share/doc/metacity-2.10.1, /usr/share/themes/[Crux,Simple]/metacity-1, /usr/share/themes/[Atlanta,Bright,Esco,AgingGorilla,Metabox], /usr/share/metacity, and /usr/share/gnome/wm-properties

Short Descriptions


is a window manager used mainly by GNOME.


allows you to preview any installed Metacity theme. When designing a new Metacity theme, you can use metacity-theme-viewer to measure the performance of a window frame option, and to preview the option.


demonstrates various kinds of windows that window managers and window manager themes should handle.

Last updated on 2005-08-01 13:29:19 -0600