Introduction to Mutter

Mutter is the window manager for GNOME. It is not invoked directly, but from GNOME Session (on a machine with a hardware accelerated video driver).



Development versions of BLFS may not build or run some packages properly if dependencies have been updated since the most recent stable versions of the book.

Package Information

Mutter Dependencies


gnome-settings-daemon-42.2, graphene-1.10.8, libxcvt-0.1.2, libxkbcommon-1.4.1, pipewire-0.3.54, and Zenity-3.42.1


Recommended (Required to build the Wayland compositor)


Xorg-Server-21.1.4 (for X11 sessions)

User Notes:

Installation of Mutter

Install Mutter by running the following commands:

mkdir build &&
cd    build &&

meson --prefix=/usr --buildtype=release -Dtests=false .. &&

The test suite requires debug functions to be enabled in the build, and an external program called xvfb-run. If you wish to run the tests, you should download and install it before running meson. You can obtain it from xvfb-run, and install it with executable permissions in /usr/bin. xvfb-run needs Xvfb at runtime, and Xvfb can be installed from either Xorg-Server-21.1.4 or Xwayland-22.1.3. You should also replace the --buildtype=release -Dtests=false in the meson command, with --buildtype=debugoptimized -Dtests=true. The test suite requires the mutter schema to be installed on the system, so it is better to run the tests after installing the package.

Now, as the root user:

ninja install

The tests can now be run: issue ninja test. Note that the tests require an active X session and run best in an existing GNOME environment. The native-unit is known to fail.

Command Explanations

--buildtype=release: Specify a buildtype suitable for stable releases of the package, as the default may produce unoptimized binaries.

-Dtests=false: Prevents building the tests, and removes a hard requirement on xvfb-run.

-Dprofiler=false: Use this option if Sysprof is not installed, and you don't want meson to download Sysprof source code.


Installed Programs: mutter
Installed Libraries:
Installed Directories: /usr/{lib,include,libexec/installed-tests,share/{,installed-tests}}/mutter-10

Short Descriptions


is a Clutter based compositing GTK+ Window Manager

contains the Mutter API functions