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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 8th November, 2010, 07:54 PM
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Ubuntu Will Adopt Wayland Graphics System

Hard on the heels of Canonical's controversial decision to use the 3D-enabled Unity interface in its desktop Ubuntu operating system came word late last week that it will also adopt a new graphics system.

Rather than the venerable X Server and X Window system, open source Ubuntu Linux will include instead Wayland, a lean, OpenGL-based display management system, Mark Shuttleworth said in a Thursday post on his blog.

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Old 8th November, 2010, 11:09 PM
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Well that's one way of getting Ubuntu to sink without trace...
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Old 9th November, 2010, 08:53 PM
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As I have a bit of a personal investment in Ubuntu and Mint...I was hoping someone would elaborate as to consequences of this move?

Is this another "we don't need no estink'in Nvidia drivers" move?
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Old 9th November, 2010, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
As I have a bit of a personal investment in Ubuntu and Mint...I was hoping someone would elaborate as to consequences of this move?
Pretty much all unix-like systems use X.org (or X11r7 if you will). It's a very old and in places rather bloated system: although it's seen a lot of add-ons and developments that improve matters, the places where it's creaking is starting to show.

Within X.org, projects such as Gallium3d are working on streamlining and simplifying the graphics and 3D stack to improve performance, make driver development easier and make games etc easier and more attractive to port to Linux.

Wayland is not X. It's a completely new display server built to take advantage of new additions to the Linux kernel such as kernel mode-setting, the graphics execution manager and only implements the bits of display server we normally use when running something like compiz. (We use very few of the features X provides on a day to day basis.)

The upside is that in theory you have a smaller, lighter, faster display that should offer simpler set up and better performance. The downside is that all graphics drivers will have to be adapted to take advantage of it as will all display libraries (Qt, GTK+, fltk etc). The other main disadvantage is that the project is only 3 years old and not exactly feature-complete.

For it to become the main display driver in Ubuntu means that there is an awful lot of work to do. My bet is that it will not work properly on the vast majority of hardware, have little software support, be buggy, slow and unreliable for some time yet and will cause Ubuntu a lot of headaches.

nVidia has already stated that they will not support Wayland.
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Old 10th November, 2010, 08:53 PM
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So what's the feaking rush!!??

Why the hell can't they wait until they have a workable solution before they tear the world apart!?

Is unbuntu really going to make this bad a move just as they are starting to achieve many of the most important goals for a desktop?

Does any one (Besides Gizmo) see a light at the end of the tunnel for the lowly user?

(OK Gizmo can can offer his perceptive if he's polite and doesn't hurt my feelings!
":O}
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Old 10th November, 2010, 08:54 PM
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OH! Sorry Kaitian! Many thanks for your post!
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Old 11th November, 2010, 08:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
So what's the feaking rush!!??

Why the hell can't they wait until they have a workable solution before they tear the world apart!?
There is and has always been a "chicken and egg" problem with open-source software. It's true that X is big, old, crufty. It has functionality we no longer generally use, lacks functionality that we need and has 20 years of history in its design that makes changing it rather slow.

Other display servers have come and gone (e.g. directfb or the originally-named, Y) dying off mostly because they lacked developer support. By jumping behind it so completely, Ubuntu has made Wayland instantly more interesting to developers, which in turn may turn it into something viable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
Is unbuntu really going to make this bad a move just as they are starting to achieve many of the most important goals for a desktop?
I would imagine that stories of "X to be replaced by Wayland" are overblown. I can't see Ubuntu doing anything more than giving you the option of whether to install an X based version or a Wayland based version. I suspect the Wayland version won't interest most people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel ~ View Post
Does any one (Besides Gizmo) see a light at the end of the tunnel for the lowly user?
In a couple of years time you'll download and install a Linux distro which will detect your graphics card, set up the appropriate driver and "just work". You'll land on a 3D composited desktop, complete with spinning cube, and marvel at the simplicity of it all. No driver downloads, no $100 "internet security solutions", no crapware in your system tray.

For some users that's already a reality.

OK for the best gaming performance you'll still be getting the vendor's driver for a while longer, but not that much longer. Even nouveau is producing some perfectly playable framerates in most popular games thesedays.

So for a future of not having to bugger about with proprietary drivers, additional repositories, create config files we don't need anymore, lose the display every time the kernel is updated and so on I think the discomfort of a few users is perfectly acceptable.
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Old 11th November, 2010, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitain View Post
I would imagine that stories of "X to be replaced by Wayland" are overblown. I can't see Ubuntu doing anything more than giving you the option of whether to install an X based version or a Wayland based version. I suspect the Wayland version won't interest most people.
What I'm reading is that, at least for the near- to mid-future, X will be provided as well, modified to run ON TOP OF Wayland.

There is a small but significant portion of the community that actually uses some of the more esoteric features of X that don't exist in Wayland, and probably won't exist (at least for a while), meaning that X can't just be disposed of wholesale. However, the majority of apps out there today are written not to X, but to Gnome or KDE, or some other toolkit that sits on top of X. As a result, converting those toolkits will have the effect of converting the vast majority of applications as well. In other words, for most applications whether they are running on X or Wayland is really a "don't care". The exception to this obviously, is gaming, and possibly some things like VirtualBox, VMWare, and other virtual machine managers.

Obviously, having display driver support for Wayland will be crucial, but as the vast majority of the display drivers out there are open source that's not a big deal as long as the developer community has an interest in it. As you point out, Ubuntu throwing their support behind Wayland might just be the thing to get that interest. I believe Redhat have also indicated support for Wayland.
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Old 11th November, 2010, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
What I'm reading is that, at least for the near- to mid-future, X will be provided as well, modified to run ON TOP OF Wayland.
Yes, I'm just reading the same thing and thinking it's a pretty neat way of maintaining full compatibility with existing X applications while ditching all that horrible, messy, hardware-specific cruft that has built up to make it look pretty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
There is a small but significant portion of the community that actually uses some of the more esoteric features of X that don't exist in Wayland, and probably won't exist (at least for a while), meaning that X can't just be disposed of wholesale. However, the majority of apps out there today are written not to X, but to Gnome or KDE, or some other toolkit that sits on top of X.
So you've a choice of writing your application to be Application -> Qt/GTk+ -> X -> Wayland -> Hardware or Application -> Qt/GTK+ -> Wayland -> Hardware depending on its particular needs (your average desktop Linux may stick with the former for compatibility while a Meego phone may use the latter for its smaller memory footprint).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
The exception to this obviously, is gaming, and possibly some things like VirtualBox, VMWare, and other virtual machine managers.
And games programmers would no doubt welcome a way of getting away from some of X's more difficult inefficiencies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmo View Post
Obviously, having display driver support for Wayland will be crucial, but as the vast majority of the display drivers out there are open source that's not a big deal as long as the developer community has an interest in it. As you point out, Ubuntu throwing their support behind Wayland might just be the thing to get that interest. I believe Redhat have also indicated support for Wayland.
In the last year, Mesa and Gallium3D have improved enormously and Intel and Radeon drivers are looking good. I hope that progress is portable to Wayland without having to start from scratch, as esp Gallium3D brings some very useful features to the table. (State trackers that may even allow a native Linux Direct3D implementation? I'll have some of that.)
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Old 12th November, 2010, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
display every time the kernel is updated and so on I think the discomfort of a few users is perfectly acceptable.
Unless your one of the few...? ":O}
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Old 12th November, 2010, 08:08 PM
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BTW guys, Many thanks! You gave me the perspective I was looking for.
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