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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 jgagnon (1663075)

      What else would a summary be except someone's opinion? Seriously. How exactly do you shrink something down to fewer words without distorting the original meaning through interpretation? And if every summary was just a cut and paste job from the original article, why not just link to the original article and leave it be?

      • 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 jemtallon (1125407) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:47AM (#34135968) Journal
          From the article: "There’s now little reason for these GNOME developers to recommend Ubuntu as an operating system."

          So... slashdot did a good job?
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by TheCRAIGGERS (909877)

            I was only replying to the parent. The GP was indeed wrong and obviously didn't read the article before jumping to conclusions.

            But in his/her defense, it was a first post in an article about linux, by an AC, and didn't contain anything about a 'frosty piss'. It's still a definite improvement.

    • by jhigh (657789) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:17AM (#34135560)
      Since when is /. journalism??!
    • by nixkuroi (569546) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:23AM (#34135630)

      This article reads less like a news story than an emotional, personal rant by someone who's puckering with contempt because he got his feelings hurt.

      Tech companies make crappy decisions all the time. Ubuntu probably thought it would have more time to become the king of the desktop before realizing that soon the desktop would be irrelevant and that *nix alternatives had already beaten it to the punch for being the kings of mobile.

      At this point, he should probably start thinking further down the road to gesture and voice computing. My kinect tells me that it's almost time to stop touching devices at all, and I believe it.

    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:35AM (#34135782)

      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.

      You must be new here. The summary of an article is nearly always the *opinion* of whoever submitted it. The "news" part is in the original source to which the link(s) in the summary point (assuming the original source isn't itself just an opinion or troll). The summary IS the "blog" part, and it acts as the root of the entire discussion thread. That's the way it has always worked on this site, and it's not very hard to figure out.

    • 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 Java Pimp (98454) <java_pimp.yahoo@com> on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:40AM (#34135874) Homepage

      That opinion WAS in TFA... if you had read it...

    • by Tharsman (1364603) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:46AM (#34135956)

      Although I generally agree with this feeling, if you read TFA, you would find this quote:

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

      So as you can see, it's not something the summary writter made up, he just pasted something that was already in TFA, with just one word changed by a short phrace to better fit the short summary context: "There's" with "The move means there is"

      If you want to insult the article itself, go for it, but at least in this one case, your insult of the summary is horrendously out of place.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)

      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 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 betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:13AM (#34135496)
    ...but I still know a LOT of people who forward X over SSH, and there are still a lot of professors who are advising their students (at least in the engineering schools I have seen) to do the same. I guess this is one of those times that just saying, "I use Linux!" will not convey what people think.
    • by sd.fhasldff (833645) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:23AM (#34135638)

      Wayland is a display server, like X. Why wouldn't it be possible to forward Wayland over SSH?

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:27AM (#34135690)
        Because not all the applications people want to forward are written for Wayland; one that comes to mind is a VLSI tool from Cadence, which is proprietary software that is often encountered in EE curricula (for VLSI courses and whatnot), which I doubt will be updated to Wayland any time soon. People have come to rely on an X server, specifically, being available to them.
        • Wayland can host X (Score:5, Informative)

          by sd.fhasldff (833645) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:41AM (#34135894)

          Then it's a good thing Wayland can host X. It would require some (reportedly) minor adjustments to X, but it would be transparent to individual applications.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            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 dpilot (134227) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:46AM (#34135964) Homepage Journal

          You mean like the fact that I need to use the same Cadence you're talking about as part of my day job, as well as a whole host of other X-based VLSI CAD applications. Every now and then I need to work from home, and X lets me do that. To be sure, sometimes I use VNC, but sometimes I run the X tools native on my home system, too. Different tasks call for different approaches.

          Leaving work out of it, sometimes I just like to run some GUI tools on my server, with the display exported back to my desktop. My server doesn't even have an X server installed.

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

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by couchslug (175151)

            "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 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 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 makomk (752139) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:42AM (#34135906) Journal

        Wayland is a very minimal display server. It requires clients to access the graphics card hardware themselves using the DRM kernel API in order to actually render anything, and you can't do that over a network. Basically, Wayland only works when the display server and its clients are running on the same machine, and that's a deliberate design decision that can't be changed easily.

        • by jelle (14827) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:46AM (#34136870) Homepage
          It doesn't have to be limited to only local use. It's an api, which means somebody can make an implementation that forwards the api calls into some kind of rpc calls (or work on a higher level with all sorts of roundtrip and bandwidth optimization), allowing networked use. Even the drm api can be implemented as a virtual graphics device with a network backend, but that's probably not even necessary because from the architecture pictures I don't see a reason why the compositor wouldn't be able to support a network environment. It would need a local compositor and a remote compositor that know how to talk to each other (and with each some significant code to 'hide' the network), but it would be transparent to the local application. As long as the wayland protocol allows multiple wayland compositors to operate concurrently on a system (where the client apps run), and if it lets a wayland client choose the compositor to use (with some type of access protection in there), it should be possible to implement transparent networked displaying.

          Maybe it will make the networked displaying more complex than a tcp connection from the X client library to the X server, but it's certainly not impossible. The X protocol isn't ideal for all networked use (anymore) either, because it's so sensitive to network latency and it doesn't help in any significant way to be bandwidth efficient, especially with the increasing amount of client-side rendering and 3d stuff that is happening these days (and not all X protocol features work on a remote connection (for example (and afaik): xrandr, dri, etc). Perhaps a good networked remote display protocol that optimizes and compresses all that when/where necessary will work equally as well (with as much complexity) in the wayland framework as it will in the xorg framework.

          So perhaps in order to support modern displays and diverse networks, remote display has to get a little more complex than a simple remote X display anyway. I don't wayland is going to make that much different.

          http://wayland.freedesktop.org/architecture.html
    • 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."
    • 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 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 Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday November 05, 2010 @01:23PM (#34138612) Homepage

          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.

          Well, smart people run X over NX, which provides wicked performance far eclipsing VNC, integrated encryption (it uses SSH, but it's part of the standard tool), detachable sessions, etc, etc. And that performance is specifically a consequence of NX proxying the X protocol. You'd never be able to achieve that kind of performance using a simple framebuffer-based remote display technology.

        • rootless (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Junta (36770)

          Only X has a pretty solid seamless story. NX added better network performance and connection loss tolerance. I would say NX is the optimal approach. It is, however, not without it's warts (the one I can think of is the inability for remote apps to get into the systray when using NX as opposed to X.

      • by Cajun Hell (725246) on Friday November 05, 2010 @12:59PM (#34138172) Homepage Journal

        apple, Microsoft and Sun all have radically changed their widowing systems on many occasions

        Sure, they changed certain aspects of the system, but they never strayed from the core design assumption: the husband must die.

    • 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 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: (Score:3, Informative)

          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.

          RDP can perfectly well forward individual windows, which, from user's perspective, is the same thing. That's how RemoteApp and XP Mode desktop integration work in Windows 7.

          They can't integrate cut and paste as seamlessly as forwarded X.

          Why not? Cut-n-paste works just fine for me in RDP in Windows. Heck, it actually lets me copy a file in a file manager in the guest, and paste it in the host - and it gets copied.

          They don't allow your local window manager to choose where things are placed, how they're moved, etc.

          That one is true, but is it really a major feature that can justify the flaws that come with X approach to remoting?

  • 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 hav

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:24AM (#34135652) Homepage Journal

      I remember a discussion a year or two ago here on Slashdot how X was badly in need of replacing. Sounds to me like Canonical have the right idea, and the impetus to make it happen.

      • 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 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 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 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by icebraining (1313345)

          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, to

      • 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 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?

  • woohoo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:15AM (#34135516)
    about damn time somebody had the balls to drop X. Oh, but i can't run x over ssh over a 300 baud modem!!!!111!!!!eleven!! Well, you can't drive a ferrari through the outback either, but it get more pussy than a jeep.
  • Wayland... (Score:5, Informative)

    by DaPhil (811162) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:17AM (#34135550)
    For anyone else wondering what Wayland is: "Wayland is a lightweight display server for the GNU/Linux desktop. Started by Kristian Høgsberg [...] the software's stated goal is "every frame is perfect, by which I mean that applications will be able to control the rendering enough that we'll never see tearing, lag, redrawing or flicker"" (Wikipedia)

    Here is the website [freedesktop.org] and the wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org].

  • Summary's BOGUS... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:18AM (#34135562)

    Uh... Guys... Wayland doesn't preclude X11. Think of X11 as a two part system. One's the rendering and compositing layer and the other is the network transport layer that makes it network transparent. Wayland's the driver backend guts. They've shown MULTIPLE X11 desktops being ran on top of Wayland.

    This isn't the thing that many make it out to be. SERIOUSLY.

    • 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 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mdmkolbe (944892)

      Wayland is a protocol for a compositor to talk to its clients

      That seems to contradict you. It is from the Wayland [freedesktop.org] homepage. As best I can understand Wayland moves the compositor into the server and delegates as much functionality to standard libraries (e.g. OpenGL ES).

      I've never heard of Wayland before so if I've wrong please correct me. I just want to understand.

  • by Scyth3 (988321) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:18AM (#34135566)
    They're slowing transitioning away from X to Wayland. They're not straight up "dumping" X. It'll be there for quite a few releases. http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/11/linux-beyond-x-shuttleworth-contemplates-wayland.ars [arstechnica.com]
  • Breathe Deep... (Score:5, Informative)

    by gti_guy (875684) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:23AM (#34135640)
    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.
    • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 starseeker (141897) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:30AM (#34135726) Homepage

    There have been other projects over the years that have tried to improve on X (Fresco/Berlin and picogui readily come to mind) but I don't believe any of them have demonstrated results that seriously threatened the revitalized Xorg project.

    I hadn't heard of Wayland, but I must admit since Xorg got going I haven't kept a close eye on that level of the graphics stack. Mark's blog post makes it sound like they're willing to ditch network transparency for better graphics effects, which makes me a little leery. Undoubtedly for most users that's the "right" approach, but if they do lose network transparency it's going to make Ubuntu an impossible choice in a lot of business environments where running apps from a server is part of day-to-day business.

    Also, the amount of work to port all the requisite software/toolkits to a non-X platform is going to be... impressive. Haiku faces this problem, as do a fair number of older applications when looking at running native on Windows and OSX - it ain't easy. Plus, we're talking an entirely new backend in Wayland, one that's going to require (from the sound of things) rock solid OpenGL support.

    Ubuntu has shown they can deliver in the past, and perhaps they can do it now, but I can't help but wonder if they realize the magnitude of what they're undertaking here.

  • Correction (Score:4, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmai l . com> on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:34AM (#34135764) Homepage Journal

    Ubuntu will still ship X. Unity will run on X. No definitive decisions have been made. Shuttleworth is considering a transition to Wayland, which he estimates will be 4 years down the road. He assumes at that time that KDE and Gnome apps should be able to run natively on Wayland at that time, but you can run a rootless X server alongside Wayland either way.

    But it really is more fun to make non-sensical statements, such as suggesting that Gnome and X are intrinsically tied, and that wanting to replace X four years in the future is some massive insult to Gnome.

  • Like Mac OS X (Score:4, Informative)

    by Balthisar (649688) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:40AM (#34135868) Homepage

    So, it'll be kind of like running X on my Mac OS X machines. A modern display server, with the ability to run a non-root X on top of it.

  • by Urban Garlic (447282) on Friday November 05, 2010 @10:52AM (#34136046)

    I am all in favor of a new and better graphical system, but for the love of God, PLEASE keep network transparency. I want to forward my graphical session to other hosts, and have windows from remote systems show up on (and be managed by) my local display. This is *essential* for some sysadmin tasks I have to do, on a remote system that *has* *no* *graphical* *console*, but for which some of the tools *require* a GUI. At the moment, the saving grace of this system is system is that I can ssh in, forward my X connection, and run GUI software remotely.

    On a related note, I wish to inform the community at large and Ubuntu in particular that not everyone is using a personally-administered workstation with a local file system. Some of us NFS-mount our home directories from a central server, and some of us install software on application servers which are also NFS-mounted. Please take care that "new improved" installers and desktop systems do not break in this environment.

    Thank you.

    • by Tailhook (98486)

      keep network transparency

      GUI systems that were not designed for network transparency work very well on remote terminals. See RDP [wikipedia.org]. I have used both extensively and Terminal Services is simply better, without qualification, for the administration use case. It also works extremely well for a large subset of desktop applications.

      Welding network transparency into the heart of the GUI system imposes serialization complexity and overhead. The recent history of X development is a series of workarounds to overcome this. When the overhea

  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Friday November 05, 2010 @11:20AM (#34136438)

    For anyone who is interested, here is what Mark Shuttleworth actually said: http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/551 [markshuttleworth.com] . In his post he gives his reasoning and alternatives they looked at. Seems pretty well thought out. Ubuntu always gets slapped about not giving back to the community. Well, here they are announcing they are giving back and they still get slapped. It seems as if they are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

  • by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Friday November 05, 2010 @03:48PM (#34140798)

    For all of you complaining about how Shuttleworth is trying to kill the network transparency of X... This doesn't affect your X programs, which are always going to be able to run over the network due to the design of X. There's no reason why a desktop machine running Wayland wouldn't be able to run X programs. The only effect of this is to allow building GUI programs specifically for Wayland.

    And seeing as those apps are specifically designed to use advanced features like 3D and compositing--why would you expect them to run reasonably over the network? Do you tunnel glxgears or TuxRacer over a WAN?

    If a developer is writing an app which would usefully run over a network, they can write it using X and everybody is happy. If they need the more advanced stuff of Wayland, then network transparency probably doesn't make sense anyway

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