X and Wayland

Networking has been included in Wayland and it looks good. Too bad the foremost distro of GNU/Linux has announced its intention to abandon Wayland

For me, networking of displays is the most important feature of GNU/Linux operating systems. Perhaps X became too fragile/complex/limited. Perhaps Wayland is the way forward, but without networking Wayland is pathetic. Now that it is coming together it is time for Canonical to get behind Wayland and share the load of generating good FLOSS with the rest of the world. Going it alone will mean serious fragmentation of GNU/Linux. OEMs, consumers, system administrators will have to choose which way to go. I can already see OEMs hanging back by using older releases of Ubuntu GNU/Linux. How long will it take Canonical to wake up to that?

The bottom line is that X gets in the way to the order of ~0.5s to open some applications, far too long in this day. To add features to the X window system, most of the work is being done by the client anyway so the X server is wasting a terrible amount of time and resources. According to Daniel Stone, with Wayland life is simpler and more efficient:

  • clients draw stuff locally,
  • clients tell the server what was drawn,
  • the server decides what to draw and where, and
  • Wayland cuts out the middle-man.

He claims that with Wayland there will never be flicker, tearing, and flashing because only complete frames are transmitted. That’s fine but that increases the bandwidth in some cases. He also says Wayland won’t grab keys and prevent interactions with some applications during pop-ups. He also claims security will be better and everything will be dynamic allowing multiple intput devices and error messages will be transparent. He expects remote displays will be comparable to VNC because there will be a lot fewer round-trips across the network with chatter. Images transmitted can be compressed.

When will Wayland fly? He says it still needs work on the touch-pad driver and the GNOME shell port to Wayland is done. That sounds like a few months plus the time to port applications if necessary.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to X and Wayland

  1. MK says:

    I’d bet folks would have to look up what GNU and linux are, rather then Ubuntu, but saying Debian/GNU/Linux is a good idea, they might as well look up all three.

  2. MK wrote, “It’s funny, how you wouldn’t call Ubuntu”

    Ubuntu! Ubuntu! Ubuntu! See, it rolls off the tongue easily. It’s the name of a distribution of a free software operating system called GNU/Linux. For more information, I add “GNU/Linux” so folks will know what it is without having to look it up. Lots of people visit this site who are not GNU/Linux geeks.

    It’s funny how some people are hung up on pedantry (vain ostentation of learning). Are they afraid the secrets of the technology will become available to a wider group of people?

  3. MK says:

    It’s funny, how you wouldn’t call Ubuntu by name, same as Windows. Are you afraid? Do you hate Ubuntu too? Are you a Microsoft and Canonical hater?
    I sometimes wonder, does hate always have fear hiding undeneath?
    As for Wayland, I look forward to trying it, and hopefully, I won’t die of old age before it’s done.

  4. Agent_Smith says:

    Don’t count on Canonical. “They are all bark and no bite”…

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