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Metisse is not a 3D desktop...

Metisse [ Metisse-UIST05, Facades-UIST06, rock-and-roll] is an X-based window system designed with two goals in mind. First, it should make it easy for HCI researchers to design and implement innovative window management techniques Second, it should conform to existing standards and be robust and efficient enough to be used on a daily basis, making it a suitable platform for the evaluation of the proposed techniques.

Metisse is not focused on a particular kind of interaction (e.g. 3D) and should not be seen as a new desktop proposal. It is rather a tool for creating new types of desktop environments.

Metisse was used, for example, to implement the User Interface Façades? system, a system that allows to adapt, reconfigure, and re-combine existing graphical interfaces through direct manipulation techniques. It was used by Mekensleep to integrate GTK+ interfaces into the OpenGL-based Pok3D game. Distributed as a Live CD by Mandriva in early 2007, Metisse is now available as one of the standard desktop configurations in the Mandriva Linux distribution.

These videos and screenshots will give you a better idea of what the system can do.

Latest news

2008-02-24: Metisse was briefly presented by Rémi at X@FOSDEM. If you want to know more about the current state of the system or our future plans, just send an email to the mailing-list.

2007-12-10: Metisse was demonstrated as part of the "innovation village" organised for INRIA's 40th anniversary celebration.

2007-09-01: Rémi Cardona was hired by INRIA to work on Metisse. Rémi has been a Gentoo developer since 2006.

Old news are archived for historical purpose...

Contact, availability

Metisse was created by N. Roussel & O. Chapuis, two members of the In Situ project. It runs on Linux and Apple OS X and is freely available under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

This document will tell you how to get the source code and compile it. This one will tell you how to run the Metisse server and compositor. This one will tell you how to use the compositor (e.g. how to make a screenshot) and configure it.

Questions, comments and suggestions should be sent to the mailing-list.


See the Publications page of the site for a complete list of Metisse-related papers.

Olivier Chapuis and Nicolas Roussel (2005) Metisse is not a 3D desktop!. In Proceedings of UIST'05, the 18th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. ACM, pages 13-22. (google)

Wolfgang Stuerzlinger, Olivier Chapuis, Dusty Phillips and Nicolas Roussel (2006) User Interface Faades: Towards Fully Adaptable User Interfaces. In Proceedings of UIST'06, the 19th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. ACM, pages 309-318. (google)

Olivier Chapuis and Nicolas Roussel (2007) Copy-and-Paste Between Overlapping Windows. In Proceedings of ACM CHI 2007 Conference on Human Factors and Computing Systems. ACM, pages 201-210. (google)


This work has been partially supported by the French ACI Masses de données (Micromégas project, 2003-2006).