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Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-27 22:36
by JLloyd13
So yesterday I decided to toss gnome-core along side my Mate install to check out gnome-shell is going. Ended up with a few redundancies (nautilus and caja, etc.) but overall working nicely. However logging in I notice an interesting option- Gnome on wayland. I tried wayland a while back but that was before gnome supported it and before xwayland was really working, so weston was interesting but useless.

Now through, I log into gnome and it's actually hard to see any difference. It all looks and functions the same. Even using applications that don't work in wayland and require xwayland work the same.

It's not without it's kinks- I've noticed that the mouse seems a little more... less precise? and the gnome animations moving to the activities menu and switching windows etc. are a bit less smooth. Also there's xwayland sitting there using 20-30 extra mbs if you're using it, and right now you probably are because only the basic gnome stuff and a few other things can use wayland itself, and as long as that's the case I'm not quite sure what the point is because you're still using x.

But it's amazing to me that it's gone from useless to usable so quickly. No doubt one day everyone will use it (based on the progress it's made and the progress Mir hasn't I don't think we have anything to worry about) and it's interesting to see it evolve. I'm going to continue using it for the time being, just to see how it improves.

Anyone else tried to use wayland on a daily basis?


Was doing some reading found this: ... px=MTgwODk

I can report resizing windows and using multiple monitors is working fine for me. However, I have noticed some missing gestures, namely the ability to scroll in the app list.

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-28 07:00
by Head_on_a_Stick
JLloyd13 wrote:I've noticed that the mouse seems a little more... less precise?

To modify the mouse settings you have to change the source code of libinput (filter.c, lines 66-80); the same for the touchpad settings.

I've been trying it on and off for a while, it's very usable -- in particular the compositing is the best I've ever seen, it is completely tear-free with my Intel card with absolutely no lag.

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-28 17:30
by JLloyd13
I've also noticed no tearing using programs that work with wayland. Using chrome in xwayland there is very minor tearing playing Netflix and Youtube but VLC using xwayland plays just fine. I've heard that with some work Chromium can use wayland as a backend, may or may not try and get that working.

Using older integrated AMD graphics (HD4250) and open source drivers. It's not smoother than x for me but I know Intel's leading the way in this regard.

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-28 20:06
by n_hologram
Why switch to Wayland ?

X is showing its age - it has been kept alive for a very long time by means of adding more and more extensions to the core protocol. The Wayland protocol is a much leaner definition of a modern compositing-based display system. We don't need to carry around many obsolete parts of the X protocol (such as core fonts, the core rendering API, etc) any longer. Some problematic parts of the X protocol, such as grabs, are simply not present under Wayland, which avoids a whole class of problems.

Wayland enables features that are hard or impossible to support under X:

input transformation
transparent hardware overlays
direct rendering
isolating clients (sandboxing)

makes it possible to reuse android drivers (
per-crtc EGLSurfaces means repainting and swapping only the monitor where content changes
smooth transition between composited desktop and fullscreen clients (no X unredirect flicker)
eliminates lag between cursor and dragged windows (eg moving toplevels or dnd icons)
better remote display

Many core X contributors are eager to see us move to the next generation display system - after all Wayland was born and raised in the X community, and has strong support there.

I can't help but wonder how the Debian community feels about this

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-29 02:33
by JLloyd13
Hopefully not strongly enough to fork it again IMHO

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-29 07:25
by Head_on_a_Stick
Why would anyone object to Wayland?

It seems to be all good to me.

Very good presentation by one of the developers here explaining why we need to move beyond the current implementation:

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-29 11:37
by pylkko
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Why would anyone object to Wayland?

It seems to be all good to me.

Very good presentation by one of the developers here explaining why we need to move beyond the current implementation:

But what exactly are the benefits of it in your opinion?

Because I don't really object to it, but the once I used it, it appeared to not offer any advantages (for my use). The mouse courser would at times double and jump to several location simultaneously, and it appeared to be using several hundred megs of RAM more. I didn't investigate these issue any further, so I don't know to what extent they were related to Wayland, that specific setup or what. But it would need to offer some serious benefits to compensate for the above.

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-01-29 11:43
by Head_on_a_Stick
pylkko wrote:But what exactly are the benefits of it in your opinion?

The compositing and the complete lack of tearing and lag -- this is a particular problem in my system because I use an Intel card and the tearing is just awful if used without an added compositor -- even then, with compton (for example) the lag when dragging windows is very noticable.

EDIT: The memory usage is a little bit higher (~50-100MiB), but I have RAM to spare so that's not really an issue for me.

Re: Impressions of Wayland

PostPosted: 2015-02-14 02:22
by JLloyd13

I spent a little more time on gnome-wayland and found a few more things to note.

Certain gnome applications do not work using wayland. They have a list: That decently reflects my own experiences.

xwayland is buggy. Opening applications in xwayland will work 9/10 times then crash wayland (or, more likely, the gnome-shell, but with the same effect) on the 10th. Certain applications are bigger problems then others. VLC full screened often causes everything to freeze. The only screenshot application to work is gnome-screenshot (which I expected) but it crashes 1/2 times. This made taking these shots below very difficult. Resizing programs using xwayland is... interesting. There's also the problem that by default gnome-wayland starts everything in xwayland, even applications which are known to work fine, unless you directly tell it to otherwise using GDK_BACKEND=wayland. I personally think instead things that work fine from the above list (nautilus, gedit) should be opened in wayland by default.

Also, there's the missing gestures I mentioned father up, and that Gnome fails to save any of my settings for which installed gnome-shell extensions I want turned on.

BUT- while I would call it too unstable to be usable on a daily basis (there's just far too many crashes and gnome can't yet restore windows in wayland) in Jessie at the given moment, with all the progress that's been made, I'm sure it soon will be, and is probably moving along nicely some of the more cutting edge distros (thinking Fedora here). It's certainly significantly more usable than weston 'out of the box'