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Old 6th November 2010
backrow backrow is offline
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Default Ubuntu moving away from X11, to Wayland

Ars Technica article
Mark Shuttleworth’s blog

Ubuntu has plans to adopt Wayland, an MIT‐licensed, non‐X windowing system. Wayland natively supports compositing and OpenGL, and pushes many things (such as hardware initialization and drm modesetting) out to the kernel.

This will not be right away, but in the (far) future.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Shuttleworth
Timeframes are difficult. I’m sure we could deliver *something* in six months, but I think a year is more realistic for the first images that will be widely useful in our community. I’d love to be proven conservative on that :-) but I suspect it’s more likely to err the other way. It might take four or more years to really move the ecosystem. Progress on Wayland itself is sufficient for me to be confident that no other initiative could outrun it, especially if we deliver things like Unity and uTouch with it. And also if we make an early public statement in support of the project. Which this is!
As far as I know, Wayland has not yet seen major deployment, but Intel is very interested in running it in MeeGo, and is sponsoring Qt development for it on MeeGo Touch in particular.

Of course, it has provisions for X backwards‐compatibility. The official website has some more information on Wayland’s architecture.


I’m happy to see this. Although I don’t know much about Wayland, it seems to have some nice features, and having some competition will no doubt spur some more improvements to X—as we saw with, say, LLVM and Google Chrome after their release. That said, I’m glad I’m not an Ubuntu user… they seem to have some trouble with keeping sweeping features stable (hello PulseAudio).
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Old 6th November 2010
BSDfan666 BSDfan666 is offline
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I've always been fond of X, at least from a design perspective.. the ability to have a portable and network-aware windowing environment.

Over the years I've seen some pretty exotic hardware with X available, a common complaint these days is that it's bloated or adds too much protocol overhead, but really that's hard to back up considering how exponentially faster modern computers are compared to the systems X was designed to run on.

I agree that some parts of the X graphics stack probably should be managed securely in the kernel, like modesetting.. and memory managers like GEM, but the more stuff in the kernel the less that's part of the platform independent driver and means that some systems are going to be left out unless someone steps up to do the work.

Most of this very "experimental" stuff goes on in the Linux kernel, and very little can be copied as-is into other OS's due to licensing/technical issues.. often this means developers needs to adapt the idea to their respected kernels.

Personally, I don't see X going anywhere.. but this might simply be because I really don't want it to, we grew up together.
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Old 6th November 2010
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>Wayland natively supports compositing and OpenGL, and pushes many things (such as hardware initialization and drm modesetting) out to the kernel.

I'm following the KISS-principle -- keep it simple stupid. Nothing wrong with progress, but Ubuntu is the new Mac OS, a plethora of hype and way too much hot air afterwards.
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Old 6th November 2010
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I think that maybe the biggest problem with X (Or more specifically: The monopoly implementation Xorg) is that it's just unstable code of questionable quality ...
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Old 6th November 2010
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I like X, in the sense of what it allows without getting into OS stuff. X is basically, X. Wayland does sound intensely interesting though...
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Old 9th November 2010
passthejoe passthejoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BSDfan666 View Post
I agree that some parts of the X graphics stack probably should be managed securely in the kernel, like modesetting ...
Except for Linux's kernel mode setting first killing my video on Intel i810 and now doing the same in ATI Mobility Radeon 4200. If they could get this to work with older hardware, OR accept that it only works for a certain subset of video chips and create new drivers with KMS while preserving the old ones with UMS, then maybe we'd be getting somewhere.

I'm all for more security, but a non-working video display is a bit of a nonstarter. (And I'm hoping OpenBSD doesn't follow along.)
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Old 13th November 2010
backrow backrow is offline
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Fedora is also looking at a switch to Wayland, though obviously not right away. Some informative posts from the mailing list thread by Adam Jackson:
Quote:
On Tue, 2010-11-09 at 11:44 -0500, Gregory Maxwell wrote:

> I think we'd like to see the Fedora community figure out its position
> on the subject— so that it can tell the Wayland developers "If you
> continue on this track, then as things stand, Fedora will not be
> making it a part of the default Fedora install".

Well, the Fedora graphics cabal is basically me, Kevin Martin, and Dave
Airlie, and since we were hanging out at Plumbers last week and talked
about this, here's the rough consensus I think we reached:

Wayland's not a usable default yet. It'll probably be packaged in F15
as something you can play with. We don't even have a complete list of
transition criteria yet, let alone a timeframe for switching the
default. But it's likely to happen eventually because it's a serious
win for a lot of things, and the downsides are pretty negligible despite
the fear from the peanut gallery.

Feel free to quote me.

- ajax
Quote:
On Tue, 2010-11-09 at 17:40 +0000, Andrew Haley wrote:

> I'm wondering of I'm reading this correctly. The downsides that have
> been described are quite severe in contrast to the possible benefits.
> It is, of course, possible that a mistake has been made, and the acute
> loss of functionality is just scaremongering. It's also possible that
> I've misunderstood something.

The downsides that have been described include:

- We lose network transparency! Well, sure, the protocol doesn't have
that directly. You can still do vnc-like things trivially and with a
modest amount of additional wayland protocol (or just inter-client
conventions) you can do spice-like things. This is good, not bad,
because efficient remoting protocols do not look like X. Now we get to
design a good one, and in the meantime vnc-style remoting sure does go a
long way towards being good enough. (But, we can't switch yet, because
we don't even have vnc-style remoting yet; so we're not switching yet.)

- We lose support for older hardware! Yep. Here's a nickel. We have
sufficient kernel support for this for the big three hardware vendors,
and we're probably going to see more ports to the marginal hardware in
the next year or two. Losing <1% of the hardware support isn't keeping
me up at night. (But, we can't switch yet, because there's not a good
fallback design to classic X on that kind of hardware, and it includes
things enterprisey people run on; so we're not switching yet.)

- All my X apps have to be ported! Yes, if they want to be native
wayland clients, they do. If they don't, you can run a nested X server
like on OSX. They'll still work as well as they ever did, and you even
get to keep ssh forwarding of them. You can run a wayland server that
does nothing but run a nested X server and you wouldn't ever know the
difference. Except of course that your shell and your screensaver can
be wayland apps, which means your screen locker will still work even if
an app has a menu open, and you can actually do secure password input,
and and and. (But, we really don't have _any_ good native wayland apps
yet, thus the benefit of native apps are at the moment theoretical; so
we're not switching yet.)

Anything I'm missing?

- ajax
Quote:
On Tue, 2010-11-09 at 14:01 -0500, Brian Wheeler wrote:
> On Tue, 2010-11-09 at 13:47 -0500, Adam Jackson wrote:
> > And I'm saying you can get the network remoting effect you like in X, in
> > Wayland. It's not built into the local Wayland rendering system, but
> > there are both trivial ways to add it (vnc-like) and complicated ways to
> > add it (rdp-like) and both will work.
>
> So would it be a rooted VNC? If so, that simply sucks. The rdp style
> is better, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be hit or
> miss in different toolkits the same way that GUI/TUI admin tools are
> always "kept in sync".

Sorry, I assumed a bit much domain knowledge here.

When I say "vnc-like" I mean "let's scrape the pixels out of the
rendering buffer and shove them over the wire". VNC itself is rooted,
but vnc-like remoting can be rooted or rootless. In wayland the
fundamental object of composition is a whole window, so you have
scrapeable surfaces both at the window level and at the top level. Take
your pick.

When I say "rdp-like" I mean "instill enough awareness of the
possibility of remoting in the rendering system that remoting can send a
rendering command stream instead of raw pixels if that seems to be a
win". Wordy, I admit. And, obviously, much more work than just
vnc-like scraping. But it's a serious win for WAN links, and is the
only viable way to remote 3D, etc.

And, of course, you can have both at once. rdp-like remoting probably
requires toolkit awareness (in this bizarro world, the nested X server
counts as a toolkit!), so if you end up remoting an app that lacks that
level of toolkit support, you can fall back to vnc-like.

- ajax
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Old 14th November 2010
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>All my X apps have to be ported! Yes, if they want to be native
wayland clients, they do. If they don't, you can run a nested X server
like on OSX.

This nested X server on OS X is a major failure, it's slow like hell and not so compatible. Yes, I surely need this crappy experience on a scientific workstation.
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