The future of…

Mother And Infant StatueThe future of the project: It’s fairly clear now that Mutter will be an alternative window manager in GNOME 2.28, and the only window manager in GNOME 3.  It is therefore taking over the reins from Metacity 2: effectively, Mutter is Metacity 3.

But what is to happen to Metacity 2?  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.  It is possible that some people out there would like Metacity 2 to continue, and if so they are welcome to fork the project and take over, and your chronicler will offer them as much support in doing so as possible.

The future of the bug list: There are five hundred bugs open against Metacity, more than one maintainer can humanly tackle.  Rather than simply closing them all, I propose working through them ten at a time and deciding for each one whether:

  • alreadyfixed: it is already fixed in Mutter or gnome-shell (this is true of several enhancement requests), and so should be marked WORKSFORME or similar
  • reassign: it is a Metacity bug that can be reproduced in Mutter, and should therefore be reassigned
  • enhancement: it is an enhancement request which Mutter or gnome-shell could take on board; these should be discussed on the mutter-list and perhaps also in the squib of the day feature on this blog;
  • metacity: it is a bug which should be fixed both in Metacity 2 and in Mutter;
  • wontfix: it is an enhancement request which we WONTFIX.

These could be done as we go along, or could be marked with the relevant keywords and then group-edited.  Gentle reader, might you be willing to take on a block or two?

How can we best organise this?  Should we use the wiki and assign blocks to people?  Those of you here at GCDS, would you like to get into a room somewhere and work through the list together?

The future of this blog: I want this blog to continue.  I would like to expand it beyond its current focus:

  • to include discussion of Mutter as well, obviously
  • to include Mutter data in the Metacity Journal posts (these are largely automated and only edited by a human)
  • to include news of interesting developments in window management (such as the current debate over compositor-specific hints in the EWMH)
  • to have guest bloggers occasionally (again, any volunteers?)

One danger is that your chronicler spends more of their time writing blog posts than fixing code.  Suggestions for solving this problem are welcome.  It may involve delegation to someone who is better at blogging than coding.

Photo © Greg Emel, cc-by-nc-sa.


  1. Itdoesn't
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t you add this blog to Gnome Planet?

  2. Posted July 6, 2009 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to, but it’s not my decision: the official policy is that Planet is for people, not projects. It *is* syndicated on, but not many people read that.

  3. Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I never thought I’d find a blog about a window manager that tries to stay out of my way so interesting :)

  4. lukeen
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Why don’t rename Mutter to Metacity 3 or better just Metacity? It would fit into the GNOME3.0 thing and keep the original name. Also it tells the world that Metacity-3.0 is the *new* metacity which comes with GNOME-3.0 while Mutter sounds like something totally new and different to everything there was. So nobody would have to remember the new name of their favorite window manager… and metacity is a much more beautiful name then mutter imho…

  5. Posted July 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink


    I think that’s a great idea, but you should suggest it to the Mutter maintainers, not me (Owen Taylor might be a good person to talk to). Mutter is certainly harder to google for.

  6. Mats Taraldsvik
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    @Thomas, @Itdoesn’t : Instead of adding it to planet gnome, it would be better to keep it on gnome news, and get other projects to add themselves there.

    Some people wants a planet with only gnome-related stuff – and gnome news has the potential to become just that… :)

  7. Posted July 9, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    >Mutter is certainly harder to google for.

    Especially since it is the German word for mother. Somehow, that makes it kinda cool though ;-)

  8. Posted July 9, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Especially since it is the German word for mother.

    Hence the theme of the pictures on Mutter-related posts. :)

  9. Posted July 10, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    “Mutter” is a sick name, really. Why? :)

  10. Posted July 13, 2009 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    when designing mutter/metacity-3, can you please have a look at bug: it is regarding default placement of windows. Can you comment your opinions?

    thank you

4 Trackbacks

  1. […] The future of… the Metacity project, Metacity’s bug list, and the Metacity blog, all with respect to the advent of Mutter. I thought some people who don’t usually read the Metacity blog but read planet might be interested. […]

  2. […] Thurman segnala che l’autore di Metacity ha annunciato che il suo lavoro sarà concentrato su Mutter1 e che chiunque vorrà continuare a mantenere […]

  3. By » Metacity verrà abbandonato per Mutter on July 7, 2009 at 11:10 am

    […] Thurman segnala che l’autore di Metacity ha annunciato che il suo lavoro sarà concentrato su Mutter1 e che chiunque vorrà continuare a mantenere […]

  4. […] post on the future of Metacity gained quite a bit of mournful attention, including an article in Linux Pro […]