I'm new to the whole GNOME Shell. I recently installed it, and I read somewhere a while ago that Compiz is completely broken with GNOME Shell so I have to use Mutter instead. I have no idea where to start though; I sifted through Google and couldn't find any tutorials on it. So far, I have brought up a terminal and did sudo mutter --replace; this works okay, but I don't know how to replace it permanently so I always have Mutter enabled. Secondly it seems to kill the whole shell: I can't move my cursor to the top left and access my applications like I could before.

Is there an easier way? Also, how do I access the effects like in Compiz?

I'm sorry, I'm pretty new.

  • ~/.config/monitors.xml, gsettings, the gitlab code and gnome-shell's r command are your friend.
    – Ray Foss
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 22:19

2 Answers 2


Mutter is the default window manager in gnome-shell. You don't have to start it manually, let alone with super user privileges. All you have to do is install gnome-shell and use it as session instead of Unity.


GNOME Shell comes with Mutter as it depends on it; no further manual configuration is required from the user to get both running.

As for the Compiz-like effects (which, for future reference, should be posted as a separate question), there aren't any, at least not built-in. Compiz supplies window and desktop effects using plugins, but with GNOME Shell as of right now you're stuck with what it comes with. However, some early efforts are starting to write GNOME Shell extensions which enable desktop effects through Clutter (which is what Mutter is based upon); you can see an example here: http://www.webupd8.org/2011/10/gnome-shell-focus-effects-extension.html

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