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Graphics Open Source Software Ubuntu X Linux

Clearing Up Wayland FUD, Misconceptions 240

Posted by Soulskill
from the where-there's-a-will,-there's-a-wayland dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In clearing up common misconceptions about Wayland (e.g. it breaking compatibility with the Linux desktop and it not supporting remote desktops like X), Eric Griffith (a Linux developer) and Daniel Stone (a veteran X.Org developer) have written The Wayland Situation in which they clearly explain the facts about the shortcomings of X, the corrections made by Wayland, and the advantages to this alternative to Canonical's in-development Mir."
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Clearing Up Wayland FUD, Misconceptions

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  • Remoting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Better remoting than with X11? Seriously? I'm in!

    Just recall to support authentication (certificates, kerberos, and/or ssh piping), and root windowless operation, and you will get every admin that works in corporate environments at least to test Wayland. If it manages to fulfill the promise on better reactivity (== better usability), Wayland will catch like wildfire.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nerdfest (867930)

      I really appreciate what Cnonical has done for Linux. I think they've helped push it to a much wider audience than it would have had otherwise ... but I'd liek to know why the hell they can't play nice with others and use/contribute to Wayland, KDE, Gnome, etc? They've come up with their own desktop, which is not bad, but now they're creating Mir instead of Wayland, and are apparently creating a new package manager as well. We'dget much better products out sooner if everyone worked towards the same goals.

  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday June 07, 2013 @05:16PM (#43940837) Journal

    Each application does its own rendering? 31-bit pixel counter?

    This sounds like it's all pixels, like X, rather than geometry, like NeWS or display postscript.

    So if I have monitors with high resolution I still have to tell all the applications to change their size, individually, or use a microscope to read the text, right?

    If I stretch a window (intending to scale it, rather than just see more of what it shows) it has to go back to the application for re-rendering, right?

    And if I have adjacent monitors with different resolutions they won't match up. Heaven help me if I lay a window across the boundary between two, the T between 3, or the + between four. Right?

    Or have I missed something?

    • by Microlith (54737) on Friday June 07, 2013 @05:31PM (#43940999)

      So if I have monitors with high resolution I still have to tell all the applications to change their size, individually, or use a microscope to read the text, right?

      You're using a modern toolkit, one that scales depending on the DPI reported by the display server, right? Wayland is entirely correct to be aware of pixels, it's your toolkit that should provide and operate with geometry which it translates into a rendered output that is placed into the buffer that Wayland manages.

      If I stretch a window (intending to scale it, rather than just see more of what it shows) it has to go back to the application for re-rendering, right?

      If the toolkit is any good, the application won't be aware of it.

      And if I have adjacent monitors with different resolutions they won't match up. Heaven help me if I lay a window across the boundary between two, the T between 3, or the + between four. Right?

      A bit of reading would suggest that scaling would be employed on a per-monitor basis, I don't have time to read in depth to figure out what the logic is behind it.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday June 07, 2013 @06:06PM (#43941249) Homepage

      Not much, except that all modern Linux software already does this because X is utterly obsolete as a drawing toolkit. Wayland is pretty much the answer to "If we assume the toolkits look at X like a dumb framebuffer, how much of X can we throw away? And fix some deep design issues in a process." That's it, nothing more. It's not an either-or, nothing prevents you from building an overlay that talks geometry to clients and pixels to Wayland, if you can get any traction for that. But then you're probably going to compete with similar functionality in GTK+, Qt, wxWidgets, OpenGL, OpenGL ES, SDL and so on that all like to render pixels. Unless you can force developers to use one library like Windows and OS X can you'll be just another library clamoring for support. But they all need something to render on and that's Wayland.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Basically in the past we had a big fat X11 with big fat clients. Now it will be a thin display server with big fat clients. Much of the bulk in X11 was not being used or being done separately in the client anyway. Ie, clients are already doing all the pixels themselves rather than doing geometry if they're built on top of modern toolkits.

      However what's not being talked about is what sort of layer is going to sit between Wayland and the clients. It won't be big and bulky though, it'll probably be thin.

  • ...does Wayland run *on* an X server?

    I could play with Wayland API and help it to take off but not if I have to wait 5+ years for Wayland to get X11 features and drivers.
    • by spitzak (4019)

      Yes the development version includes the ability to run a wayland "desktop" inside an X window. It will do this automatically if $DISPLAY is set when you run Wayland.

      For me that is the only version that works. I have two monitors and I have set it up so Wayland runs a full-screen version on one of them, making testing pretty accurate and easy.

      They may not like it but that is probably the way it is going to work first with full nVidia acceleration.

  • by dltaylor (7510) on Friday June 07, 2013 @07:32PM (#43942031)

    I use the networking capability of X (process on IP address X using display on address Y, same or different IP, different user) every day, all the time.

    For example, I always run a X server on Windows boxes, because I can then run some Linux process on the Windows display "root" window. Productivity is higher because I don't have to switch "containers", in order to switch applications, and copy/paste is trivial.

    Similarly, I can have a process in a different, more locked-down, user running on the root window of "my" desktop, toggling between applications without having "switch user", open a different VM, ...

    I'll keep using X11 as long as I can.

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      I don't see why any of those things precludes Wayland. It looks like it will go the route of per-app RDP. RDP works fine with copy/paste and doing it per app should let you have fine grained control over the users those apps run as.

  • by dbIII (701233) on Saturday June 08, 2013 @03:11AM (#43944379)
    A major problem is not whether Wayland supports old X applications but instead that new Wayland applications are not going to be network transparent like X ones. That limits them to one to one network connection via third party hacks like VNC instead of the many to one and one to many options that X gives you.
    It's a backwards step to the non-networked, single user, single platform mindset. That's not even what people are looking for in gaming consoles any more.

    The ramifications are that new wayland only apps are only going to be useful if you are sitting right in front of the computer you want to use - an insane restriction now that phones and tablets with wifi are at the point where they can be effective terminals to a desktop computer doing the heavy lifting (video, graphics, voice recognition whatever).

    The single platform restriction also sucks - linux only due to a deliberate design choice.

    Sorry kids, a dumb framebuffer is not a new idea and a trip back to the 1970s has got to be justified with new features and good benchmarks before it can be proclaimed as better. For now there's only stupid block diagrams that pretend any internal complexity and internal communication is faster than something with more blocks in a diagram even if they are a lot simpler - it's just smoke and mirrors without benchmarks.

    Even calling it Metro for linux at this point would be giving it too much credit - save the hype for when it delivers on a performance promise and has more features than SVGAlib from 1995.
    • by melikamp (631205)

      A major problem is not whether Wayland supports old X applications but instead that new Wayland applications are not going to be network transparent like X ones. That limits them to one to one network connection via third party hacks like VNC instead of the many to one and one to many options that X gives you. It's a backwards step to the non-networked, single user, single platform mindset.

      You want network transparency? Why does the display server have to provide you with it? You want to drag networking, authentication, and encryption code/hooks into the display server. So much for the UNIX philosophy. There is already a "network transparency" protocol which your applications can use: https+xhtml+javascript. Fire up the transmission Web server/client to see a stellar example. You will never, never, never obtain the efficiency and the responsiveness of a Web app through the display server. A c

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