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Ubuntu Dumps X For Unity On Wayland 640

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-longer-marks-the-spot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Canonical and Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu will move away from the traditional X.org display environment to Wayland — a more modern alternative. The move means there is now little reason for GNOME developers to recommend Ubuntu as an operating system. Shuttleworth said, 'We're confident we’ll be able to retain the ability to run X applications in a compatibility mode, so this is not a transition that needs to reset the world of desktop free software. Nor is it a transition everyone needs to make at the same time: for the same reason we'll keep investing in the 2D experience on Ubuntu despite also believing that Unity, with all its GL dependencies, is the best interface for the desktop. We'll help GNOME and KDE with the transition, there's no reason for them not to be there on day one either.'"
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Ubuntu Dumps X For Unity On Wayland

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:12AM (#34135468)

    WTF

    > The move means there is now little reason for GNOME developers to recommend Ubuntu as an operating system.

    I'm getting sick of this crap "journalism". if you want to make a comment, add a comment. Don't add your opinion to the summary. Just report the facts. If you really have to, blog about your opinion and add a link to that blog, stating that it's your opinion.

  • by jhigh (657789) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:14AM (#34135508)
    I'm wondering if the Ubuntu crowd isn't letting their success go to their heads just a tad. Just because they're the most popular distribution doesn't mean that they can start changing everything around and have everyone else follow their lead. It's one thing to make some incremental changes that you think are best for the distribution or for Linux as an operating system. But to be making statements like this:

    We'll help GNOME and KDE with the transition, there's no reason for them not to be there on day one either.

    says to me that Ubuntu wants to make substantive changes to the free desktop environment and have everyone follow their lead. As a long-time Ubuntu user, I wish them well. But with the attitude with which they seem to be approaching things, I suspect that we will start to see Ubuntu's share of the desktop start to decline in future years as some other distribution steps up to the plate.

  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:14AM (#34135510) Homepage

    The move means there is now little reason for GNOME developers to recommend Ubuntu as an operating system.

    I don't know a single person, not one, who makes his OS choice based on what "gnome developers" recommend. Why was this bit even added to the summary?

  • by jhigh (657789) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:17AM (#34135560)
    Since when is /. journalism??!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:21AM (#34135610)

    "I use Linux!"

    Slackware? Debian?

    RedHat? Mandrake? SuSE?

    Fedora? Gentoo?

    Windowmaker? Blackbox? Enlightenment? KDE? Gnome? Bluecurve (lol)?

    What? What?

    "I use Linux!" has never conveyed what people think it means.

  • by AaxelB (1034884) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:25AM (#34135666)
    Fortunately, X is not Linux, and Linux is not X, which might help clear up some of your confusion. When someone says "I use Linux!", it means exactly that, and you can't really assume a priori what else they've got. Of course, most Ubuntu users will say "I use Ubuntu!", which should make things easier.

    Personally, I rarely do anything that really depends on X being X, so my reaction is essentially "huh, I wonder how that'll work out."
  • Re:Breathe Deep... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by makomk (752139) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:29AM (#34135716) Journal

    Calm down people. This isn't any different than Mac OS X using Cocoa for the desktop display and still having X11 available to run as another app. And yes (if you've never tried it), X tunneled through ssh works just fine on Mac OS X. It will be the same thing with the next release of Ubuntu. The sky is NOT falling.

    That's exactly why people are so worried, though. Like on Mac OS X, all the major applications will be non-X11 and will not be able to be tunneled over SSH. We're talking all applications that use GTK+ or KDE for a start, followed by other applications as soon as the manpower is available to port them. Currently on Mac OS X you need to use some horrid remote-desktop hack like VNC that essentially forwards the entire desktop over the network very, very slowly and it looks like Ubuntu is going to end up in the same situation.

  • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:35AM (#34135786) Journal

    But you are missing the point. X is a protocol layed out long, long ago. And there are long standing issues with it that become glaring as we move forward. Long known issues such as 3D support.

    Are the advantages of the new server enough to outweigh the costs?

    Besides, when did Slashdot become a crowd that believes that there should only be one right way? Forks are GOOD for software evolution - it's how new ideas get tried out!

    Go Ubuntu for being brave enough to try to tackle the problems of X!

  • by Culture20 (968837) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:36AM (#34135794)

    I still know a LOT of people who forward X over SSH

    I don't think that's relevant. They'll still be able to use encrypted VNC, or some other solution of their choice.

    Forwarding an X session (ie running Firefox on the remote machine and having it display on your local X daemon appearing as a local program) is far different from running VNC (using a full desktop environment on the remote machine), even though both can be run via ssh tunnels.

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:36AM (#34135810)

    Actually, I respect this a lot. X11 is an old, OLD and outdated protocol that people have been trying to move past for years. Until now though, people either lacked the resources or the balls to move forward and actually do it though.

    Ubuntu has been consistently making great strides because they WILL do stuff like this. I don't necessarily always agree with them (for example, taskbar buttons on the right), but I admire their dedication.

    In a lot of ways I see Shuttleworth as a mirror version of Steve Jobs. They both seem to be willing to throw out any ideas on conventional wisdom and what a system "has" to have or do, and do things their own way. Shuttleworth just seems to be using his powers for good. :)

    Will I like this? Not sure. Maybe, maybe not. I think though that if they can really get the community to follow them down this road, we'll all benefit.

  • by TheCRAIGGERS (909877) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:36AM (#34135814)

    A summary should be as factual as possible. A cut and paste job from the article, aka, an excerpt, is just fine. It's just like the 'breaks' that many blogs use, and just like the 'Continued on page A3' that newspapers have used for decades- you give a summary of the story up front, and if the reader feels like they would benefit from reading the rest, they do so.

    This is opposed to what you describe, which is in my opinion bad journalism. Taken to the extreme it's like seeing a summary in a newspaper that reads 'FREE BOOBIES, continued on A4' and then turning to find an article totally unrelated.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:38AM (#34135832) Homepage
    Dude. Have you been alive for the past 10 years? Sneaking a biased opinion into an otherwise factual story is a technique that's gotten a TON of use. Not much incentive to be a journalist otherwise, fact-based reporting is what those hick writers in flyover country do and it certainly won't win you any industry awards.
  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:38AM (#34135836)

    And thus the curse of Open Source manifests itself - Develop something to to the virge of usability and robustness...then BAM! "Fuggit" let's start again in a new direction and it will be "better" and spend more years in development wilderness.

    The Ubuntu distro is showing great maturity and evolving nicely....then "Fuggit!" let's go a different way and start the integration again!

    The n900 Nokia computer, no it's a phone, no it's a computer (ad nauseum). The OS (Maemo) reached good stability and then BAM! Nokia said "Fuggit! We can do this better - let's start an OS called Meego(still not running properly)"

    KDE 3 to 4, Gnome 2.x to 3....

    "Welcome to the world of Linux and Open Source where everything is in a perpetual state of development and a finished release is just a pipe-dream"

  • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:42AM (#34135910)

    My only concern is that last time I looked Wayland wasn't ready for primetime, and the intent with Wayland wasn't to be a full replacement for X for most users.

    If Mark Shuttleworth was proposing Wayland for prime-time inclusion in Ubuntu 11.04 or even 11.10, I'd be concerned. But if you actually follow this news story to the original source at http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/551 [markshuttleworth.com] you would find this:

    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!

    So the first likely viewing of this would 11.10 and real integration into the entire stack is more likely in the 14.10/15.04 time frame.

    So this is a classic storm in a teacup right now. The reality is "promising project will be supported by major Linux player for future inclusion".

    Cheers,
    Toby Haynes

  • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:42AM (#34135912)

    apple, Microsoft and Sun all have radically changed their widowing systems on many occasions while maintaining continuity for their developers. It did not mean no work, it just meant that recompiles could produce a functional product in most cases, albeit one that might look like poo and not have any of the new capabilities of the windowing system.

    I find it somewhat hard to believe that the original design of X was so perfectly extendible that after decades of use it is not straining its seems.

    So a change may be good.

    However, i do see a downside. The nice thing about X unlike Windows and Macs main display interface is that it is more easily separated from the desktop. If you want to use a mac or windows system remotely you have to use something like VNC or a remote desktop app. In both cases you are getting the whole desktop not a display window. You can't run multiple instances of it. That's the main thing I like about X.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:43AM (#34135928)

    Forwarding X isn't really an ideal way to do things anymore.

    VNC/RDP and other protocalls are MUCH faster then using X. The professors would still have students do their code with punch cards if they had their way.

    most X applications have gotten so graphically robust that their design isn't optimal anymore. Back in the old days where it was just vector graphics where CPU were fast compared to bandwidth meant a some simple box drawings made a robust X app. Now almost every element today has some sort of bitmapped graphic tied to it. And making it slow for remote use.

    It is not saying the X doesn't have any advantages over others... It does however if you weigh the tradeoffs you will find that people are suffering more then they are being helped.

  • by computational super (740265) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:44AM (#34135932)
    X is a part of any proper Unix.

    Proper Unix doesn't have any graphical display capabilities at all.

    Now get off my lawn.

  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:45AM (#34135942)

    That's good to hear. All I care about is one thing: does "ssh -X" work correctly and transparently out of the box with all included apps. If so, no problem. If not, I'll switch distros.

  • by computational super (740265) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:46AM (#34135952)
    I'm a little shocked at all the negativity. Have you people used X? If Ubuntu can drive a replacement, let them drive a replacement!
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:50AM (#34136010) Homepage Journal

    People have come to rely on an X server, specifically, being available to them.

    I had the same thought, but after looking at the Wayland architecture I'm less concerned. Here's a relevant quote from the Wayland architecture pages:

    Wayland is a complete window system in itself, but even so, if we're migrating away from X, it makes sense to have a good backwards compatibility story. With a few changes, the Xorg server can be modified to use wayland input devices for input and forward either the root window or individual top-level windows as wayland surfaces. The server still runs the same 2D driver with the same acceleration code as it does when it runs natively, the main difference is that wayland handles presentation of the windows instead of KMS.

    So it sounds like application developers will have a choice of using the Wayland window system directly, or using the X protocol to talk to an X server which uses Wayland to display its output. In practice, of course, no one will do either. Application developers use toolkits like Qt, GTK, wx, etc., so what will probably happen is that the toolkits will choose either the X or the Wayland protocol, perhaps dynamically based on the available options.

    I was pretty sure when I went to look at the Wayland stuff that this is a bad idea. After reading about it a bit, though, I'm not so sure. Wayland is designed around the notion of compositor-based display, which is clearly where everything is now or is going soon, while the compositor is a somewhat-klunky add-on to an X server. If Wayland can retain X's network transparency, streamline and simplify the graphics architecture, provide a cleaner and less...bizarre... protocol, and also allow native X apps to continue running without issue and to be gradually ported from the X protocol to the Wayland protocol as it becomes convenient... I think it may be a very good idea indeed.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:53AM (#34136050) Homepage

    The move means there is now little reason for GNOME developers to recommend Ubuntu as an operating system.

    I'm getting sick of this crap "journalism". if you want to make a comment, add a comment. Don't add your opinion to the summary.

    What about crap commenters? RTFA:

    There's now little reason for these GNOME developers to recommend Ubuntu as an operating system.

  • by Digicrat (973598) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:54AM (#34136074)

    Actually, that is an excerpt from TFA. It's still an inflammatory opinion to be in a news article, but in this case the fault is the original article and not the /. summary (hmm, is that a first?).

  • by russotto (537200) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:57AM (#34136102) Journal

    And thus the curse of Open Source manifests itself - Develop something to to the virge of usability and robustness...then BAM! "Fuggit" let's start again in a new direction and it will be "better" and spend more years in development wilderness.

    In the time X11 has been around, Apple has switched processor families twice and gone through two rewrites of the operating system (System 7 and OS X). Microsoft has gone from Windows 2 to Windows 3.1 (16 bit!) to Windows 95 to the NT based versions. Sun has gone from SunOS 4 to Solaris 2 and ceased to exist.

    And you think starting in a new direction is an Open Source curse?

  • by chrb (1083577) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:02AM (#34136156)

    Indeed. The headline is alarmist - "Ubuntu Dumps X For Unity On Wayland" makes it sound like they just made a huge change without consulting anyone, but Shuttleworth does say they have consulted others, and he predicts that it will take a year to get the first images out, and 4 years or more to shift applications onto Wayland. Shuttleworth is talking about a long-term direction, and it doesn't seem to be a rash decision - Intel and Nokia both appear to be backing Wayland for mobile devices.

    Something like this was bound to happen after Google decided not to use X for Android. The Linux world would benefit greatly from a fast and lightweight display server that has a common codebase for mobile devices and desktops, and can be used as a backend for Android, Meego, KDE and Gnome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:03AM (#34136168)

    the people who pooh-pooh the networking capabilities of X never got used to using them.

    These people are usually the ones too stupid to realize that X doesn't use the network when it's used locally.

  • by mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:06AM (#34136236)
    However, if there are programs on a Wayland machine that others want to run remotely in an X-server they will be unable to. All machines on the Wayland machine will expect a Wayland server. So, while Wayland users can access X programs remotely, X users will be unable to use Wayland programs remotely in the same way.
  • by jgagnon (1663075) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:07AM (#34136254)

    I read the original post as an opinionated piece about two opinionated articles, not someone trying to be a journalist and failing.

    I haven't been reading Slashdot as long as many of you, but I can say I've VERY rarely read a summary here that I would remotely consider "professional journalism". So I'm confused as to why so many readers apparently expect something different than what they consistently get?

    A summary on Slashdot is like a redneck amicus brief so why try to put it at some higher-level standard that it can never achieve?

  • by sarhjinian (94086) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:22AM (#34136470)
    X isn't actually that good at remote desktop, at least not by comparison. You have to install a fairly thick local client, and if you lose connection your apps die.

    Holistically speaking, Citrix et al completely eclipsed X in terms of network-retargetable display a long time ago and for those times when you want to run an app remotely but don't want to lose the app if your connection dies (which is pretty much all the time) you end up running X over VNC anyway.

    Me, though, I'd like to know if this change will finally allow me to have use a compositing window manager without tearing (you know, like MacOS and Windows have been doing for years now) and without having to restrict myself to an ancient or gutless graphics card.
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:22AM (#34136480)

    Being OLD is never a good excuse to replace it. There may be other issues that need addressing but OLD is never it. If anything, OLD is a good reason to keep it. It's "survival of the fittest" and X11 apparently outlasted many attempts to replace it.

    Lusting after shiny objects and doing something solely because its new or trendy has always been an issue in the software development industry. Sometimes it's a good thing since it introduces new ways of doing things, and more frequently it's not.

    Now if you said we need a more efficient method of handling large globs of data between the application and the local display device that would be a good reason, but OLD is never one. BTW, obsolescence due to lack of language support, it's written in a dead programming language or lack of use is not the same as OLD. Sorry about the rant about your using OLD as a reason. When I see OLD I see NIH.

    Incidentally I think the timing for Wayland is a little off. Sure there are multimedia applications that will benefit from closer ties to the hardware, but the industry as a whole is trending once again to thin clients. If this continues to be the case, I see Wayland trying to reproduce what X11 already does and for a very long time at that.

    Then again I find it somewhat odd that we take a very powerful OS platform and begin to remove its power in order to reduce its utility enough to make it more palatable for the single user desktop use case.

  • by Patrice (31069) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:22AM (#34136484)

    I guess this is the case for many people: as soon as you have a setup of several computers at home and organised them into a local network (and not just a bunch of individual machines that connect to the Internet independently), you start to rely on network management (not even speaking about enterprise setups). I use daily "ssh -X" to run remote GUI apps on my netbook.

    I also happen to maintain my parents' computers (located 25 km away), and once in a while I pop up one of their applications on my screen, to reconfigure it when something's broken or not working as wished, at least when there are no good CLI way of doing it, which is the case with most GUI apps today (it's quite slow over the internet with different providers, but it just works, which is enough for my needs).

    Being a long-time Ubuntu user, I'd hate it to have to switch away from it (it takes time to reinstall all those machines - and I can't upgrade them remotely as I'm doing today with Ubuntu), but remotely running GUI apps is a must.

    If in two years (or whenever the switch is done), I can log in to any computer running Ubuntu 12.04 or whatever and run any regular app forwarded to my own netbook/laptop transparently, then no problem... otherwise...

    I'm OK with Ubuntu switching away from X and all, but I'm wary of the apparent lack of concern for network transparency support for regular apps. But they still have time to understand that their user base does not only consist of single computers connected individually to the internet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:31AM (#34136590)

    Yes, but can you run wayland apps on a remote host but have the graphics shown on your local desktop?

    The X network transparency for me is one of the biggest killer apps on Linux, and now we want to abandon that so we have the same outdated, pre-internet conceived local only GUI model that is used by Apple and Windows? Seriously? We want to take a step backwards in development? Just for extra eye candy?

    I hope they make wayland network transparent. And I'm sorry, but saying "use VNC" like some have said is not an option. Only those who have not used remote X can imagine that VNC is a good replacement. VNC sucks, RDP less so, but remote X is better than both, despite being a 20 year old protocol that has been hacked and kludged to death.

    I'm happy that people have the option to push with new technologies, but I think this is a bad direction. Either way I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. If Ubuntu stops being good for me and those I support I'll just switch to another distro. I'm sure there will be people willing to maintain X if/after Ubuntu switches.

  • by geminidomino (614729) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:32AM (#34136612) Journal

    No. They fancy themselves the new Apple.

  • by knewter (62953) <josh,rubyist&gmail,com> on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:40AM (#34136736) Homepage

    There are an unbelievable number of use cases for forwarding X. Even the web browser example you gave - perhaps I don't know how to tunnel my IP traffic (but srsly, ssh makes it easy) and i want to modify my routes at home....it's painless to just tunnel X for kicks.

    Granted, most people that know how to do one can do the other, but it's extremely useful and I will be sad to see such an architecture go, if it goes out of common use. X is great.

  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:53AM (#34136984) Homepage Journal

    Forwarding X isn't really an ideal way to do things anymore. VNC/RDP and other protocalls are MUCH faster then using X

    Bicycling isn't really an ideal way to do things any more. Automobiles are much faster than bicycles.

    Okay, so not a perfect analogy, but you get the point. VNC/RDP can't forward just a remote application, they have to bring the whole desktop. They can't integrate cut and paste as seamlessly as forwarded X. They don't allow your local window manager to choose where things are placed, how they're moved, etc.

    There are plenty of cases where VNC/RDP make perfect sense and forwarded X connections do not. There are also plenty of cases where the reverse is true. Different tools for different situations.

  • Re:Wayland... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by zpeidar (969377) on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:01PM (#34137144)
    "Development status: Alpha" says the Wikipage,
    "Interesting", says Mark ShuttleWorth
    "going into production Ubuntu" says Canonical,
    "going away from Ubuntu" says I.
  • by doogledog (1758670) on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:01PM (#34137154)

    Too right! Forget 'the year of Linux on the desktop', this is 'the decade of Linux in the thing'.
    A catchier name is required though.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:04PM (#34137218)

    And thus the curse of Open Source manifests itself - Develop something to to the virge of usability and robustness...then BAM! "Fuggit" let's start again in a new direction and it will be "better" and spend more years in development wilderness.

    In the time X11 has been around, Apple has switched processor families twice and gone through two rewrites of the operating system (System 7 and OS X). Microsoft has gone from Windows 2 to Windows 3.1 (16 bit!) to Windows 95 to the NT based versions. Sun has gone from SunOS 4 to Solaris 2 and ceased to exist.

    And you think starting in a new direction is an Open Source curse?

    Um, for Windows and OS X, the changes have been an improvement. Windows 7 is finally nearly usable, and OS X can run nifty Mac apps as well as many of the open source apps that Linux has. Switching from X willl just be adding a layer, as every major app will stay running under X or have at most a half-working port, while developers work frantically on... terminals and soundcard controls.

    (I swear I didn't google to see what is natively available for Wayland, so if I'm way off I will be pleasantly surprised)

  • by MostAwesomeDude (980382) on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:19PM (#34137428) Homepage

    The X.Org team has been planning X12 for years. http://www.x.org/wiki/Development/X12 [x.org] is the roadmap. We will probably start X12 development as soon as all X11 bugs are fixed. (Haha, only serious.)

    Also, what do you mean by "resources or balls?" Plenty of challengers have shown up over the years. DirectFB, Fresco, Berlin, Y Windows, etc. None of them displaced X because *X is a hell of a lot better than you give it credit for*. Wayland's developer realizes this; he's not trying to replace X, but to work alongside it.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:20PM (#34137448) Homepage

    but the industry as a whole is trending once again to thin clients.

    Thin clients, as in with networked display? Where? Not in consumer land, that's for sure, which is were Ubuntu lives.

    From what I can see, the move it to the Web, with the interface running locally (either using a browser or a light client like an Android app) and the backend on the 'cloud'.

    Networked displays were never a good solution for normal users, in my opinion, especially through the Internet. Too much bandwidth even if compressed, too much lag between user input and app response. I think the application specific client-server solutions with local caching and much better fault tolerance will be the future.

  • Re:Breathe Deep... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Richard W.M. Jones (591125) <rich.annexia@org> on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:50PM (#34138002) Homepage

    If it's like Mac OS X then it's still a step backwards because the native OS X apps cannot be run remotely (only X11 ones). That's removing a useful feature for no benefit (despite what people who don't know what they are talking about say, there is no performance penalty to network transparency, because locally it's all using shared memory).

    Rich.

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:19PM (#34138512) Homepage

    Well, as long as Gtk/QT are built supporting *both* protocols by dynamically switching their backend rendering logic, I couldn't care less. In theory, you'd just get X if it was remote, and direct integration with the Wayland server if it was local (not unlike how, today, you get transport over a socket or mitshm).

  • by gknoy (899301) <(gknoy) (at) (anasazisystems.com)> on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:20PM (#34138534)

    The trouble is, they both believe fundamentally different things about what it means to have a Good UI.

    If my idea of a good dessert is brownies, and yours is lemon meringue pie, it's really hard to combine the two (or compromise) and yeild something that doesn't suck. I'll look at pies you make and say, "This dessert lacks sufficient chewiness" or "This crust makes a fundamentally problematic dessert interface", and you'll look at my brownie-like concoctions and want more crust, less chocolate, more lemon (!?), and some creamy bits. Sometimes, two very different and competing ideas work well by servicing different niches.

    (Though, perhaps Schadenfreude pie [scalzi.com] would be a good compromise between pie and brownies, so my example may be flawed.)

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:22PM (#34138582)

    Except that they're not really moving away from *Gnome*. They're no implementing Gnome-shell. You're talking about a tiny bit of the interface that Ubuntu will be using their own version of, not the whole DE. And in that regard, it's GNOME who are goofing this up. Gnome-shell is a radical shift from any current UI, and many, many users (including myself) have been stating their dissatisfaction with that interface since it was announced.

    Instead of going that route, they're transitioning to a default UI that is based on an icon-dock - like BOTH the other mainstream desktop OS's use now. Instead of keeping the old X11 stuff, they're looking to transition to a technology that is tied much closer to the hardware and can provide much better performance for all the apps running locally . . . just like OS X and Windows do.

    Ubuntu isn't being radical here. They're making a Linux DESKTOP system, and if they have to drag some people along kicking and screaming then so be it. There's a reason why "the year of Linux on the desktop" is always like the fruit trees out of Tantalus's reach - people keep dragging their feet and not making the tough calls. Why should everyone start whining when Ubuntu starts taking the steps needed to possibly make that pipe-dream a reality?

  • by couchslug (175151) on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:28PM (#34138692)

    "I strongly suspect that the people who pooh-pooh the networking capabilities of X never got used to using them."

    Ubuntu is intended for mass adoption, not as a professional tool for power users. Ubuntu has been great for Linux adoption, but never lost sight of its original intent.

    Anyone needing power user capabilities can run Debian instead, or run a different distro in a VM.

  • by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:29PM (#34138698) Homepage Journal

    VNC isn't the same and doesn't work just as well at all.

    VNC is not a per-application system in any sense.

    When I'm sitting at my desktop running the GUI Xen interface off of one server, the Java HP interface from another server, and a remote database app off a third server all on my screen, I'm using X the way it was designed to be used. If I wanted to do the above with VNC, I'd have a bunch of annoying desktops on my screen to flip through, instead of applications. I'd also have to have vncserver installed on those machines, which is a bloated X server running in memory. No need for any of that with X forwarding.

    I have lots of headless servers with no GUI interface that I can run GUI apps on remotely using X forwarding and SSH X tunnelling, and have no intention of installing VNC on any of them for no net benefit, and a horrible UI result.

  • by dpilot (134227) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:33PM (#34139722) Homepage Journal

    I know who it's intended for, and I agree. I'm more worried about the unintended consequences - like crowding out some of the things that are great about traditional X - like network transparency.

    That's a nifty description - transparency. VNC can let you do the work, but it just isn't transparent, at all.

    I understand that Wayland is necessarily local, but I strongly suspect that if you were willing to give up performance - and drop back to something more like X - it could do remote, as well. The big thing is the unified access. I know you don't want to run a first-person shooter over the network. Heck, I don't even want to run VLSI CAD tools over the network - but sometimes I have to, and when you need it, you need it.

    If the most popular distribution goes local-only, I fear the coming round of popular never-transparent applications running on it. People talk about "too many distributions", which is mostly a red herring, because there is so much in common. But two non-interoperable display technologies is true balkanization - a truly dangerous split.

  • by somersault (912633) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:44PM (#34139870) Homepage Journal

    Surely it would be pretty easy to write a Wayland module to allow sending of app displays to other machines anyway? Don't render them on the server, and instead send the display buffer to the compositor on the client's machine?

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday November 05, 2010 @02:52PM (#34139994) Homepage

    I'm not paralyzed by choice. I like choice.

    Problem is currently my choices are half done betaware, and half done betaware.. NOTHING is a complete solution... They both focus on stupid shineys instead of fixing major problems that have existed for a very long time.

  • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles AT dantian DOT org> on Friday November 05, 2010 @04:57PM (#34141738)

    This new program is a change simply for change's sake, and is no better than the old program.

    Can you elaborate how you came to this conclusion?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @05:18PM (#34141926)

    And hence we're back to point of the grandparent's comment. As far as desktop environments go, there's not just a first choice, second choice, and a third choice like yours. In Linux land, there's a 25th choice, a 57th choice, and even a 100th choice, and all of them suck because they're all 'half done betaware'. It's the belief that such a system is a good thing that's keeping normal computer users away from Linux.

  • by sarhjinian (94086) on Friday November 05, 2010 @05:28PM (#34142036)
    And this attitude is precisely why people get frustrated about reporting bugs.

    Not all of us can or have the time to code, but we do have the time to fill out a bug report, thinking we're helping you find an issue. It seems a great system, and the various projects are generally pretty open about taking bug reports.

    And then the bug sits there, gets reassigned, gets flagged as WORKSFORME, gets pushed back or obviated for the next version, etc, etc. I've caught bugs, gone to report them, noted that there's a similar bug that's been open since 2007 and, at that point just given up.

    And you know, it's made all the worse by developers who either brush it off or, worse, make comments like the above. Experienced users who can't or don't code will work around it, but new users will just go away and never come back.

    Not that closed source is necessarily much better, but at least it's more professional and less egotistical. Heck, I won't even say that this is the defining characteristic of all OSS projects (Zimbra, for example, does a pretty good job at this) but it's too common, and both Ubuntu's LaunchPad and Gnome's Bug Tracker are prime examples.

    Is that the "open source way"? Or are you not fixing a bug that scores of users have taken the trouble to report over three years out of laziness, or is it some kind of nerd pride? What must we go, oh master?
  • by tenchikaibyaku (1847212) on Friday November 05, 2010 @05:45PM (#34142214)
    When you think about it, it's pretty amazing that we can sit here with our fancy 3D-accelerated desktops, wobbly windows and all, using software designed in the 80's.

    Personally I think that tells us something about how extensible X is, and I get a bit nervous when people talk about throwing it out.

    (And then there's the lovely network transparency of course, is it really worth throwing that away..)
  • by mcclungsr (74737) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @04:19AM (#34145920) Homepage

    before realizing that soon the desktop would be irrelevant

    [citation needed]

    Sounds like mobile hype.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 06, 2010 @06:18AM (#34146150)

    People notice very fast when a summary on Slashdot is biased, that's because it's obvious to everyone. We're lucky it's nothing like "real" journalism.

  • by ebassi (591699) on Saturday November 06, 2010 @09:32AM (#34146762) Homepage
    tl;dr. whining never gets you anywhere.

    Is that the "open source way"? Or are you not fixing a bug that scores of users have taken the trouble to report over three years out of laziness, or is it some kind of nerd pride? What must we go, oh master?

    nobody pays anybody to work full time on the whole of GNOME; it's a volunteer effort, through and through. this is also true of a lot of other open source projects.

    if no developer is working on your pet bug you have two choices: a) learn the ropes and fix it yourself or b) convince a developer (with money, if necessary) that your pet bug is important and that he or she should work on it for you.

    otherwise you have misunderstood how open source works, and you don't get to complain.

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