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More From Canonical Employee On: "Why Mir?" 337

An anonymous reader writes "Canonical Desktop and Mobile Engineer Christopher Halse Rogers explains in more detail the decision for Mir as apposed to Wayland. Although Halse Rogers 'was not involved in the original decision to create Mir,' he's had 'discussions with those who were.' 'We want something like Wayland, but different in almost all the details.' 'The upsides of doing our own thing — we can do exactly and only what we want, we can build an easily-testable codebase, we can use our own infrastructure, we don't have an additional layer of upstream review.' In a separate post Halse Rogers answer the question: Does this fragment the Linux graphics driver space?"
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More From Canonical Employee On: "Why Mir?"

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  • Re:Context please? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bill Dimm ( 463823 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:22AM (#43145855) Homepage

    This is follow-up to this story [] from a week ago.

  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:33AM (#43145903)

    This just proves what everyone was saying last week. This decision was entirely based on NIH (Not in House) Syndrome. Ubuntu is convinced that they have to spend all their development resources on reinventing the wheel because Wayland isn't an internal project (but it could be).

    It wasn't 6 months ago that Shuttleworth was complaining that Ubuntu needed to start making money, and here he is wasting development resources on reinventing things. Between Mir, Upstart, Harmony, and all the others he's going to have forked everything but the kernel (hey maybe that's next!, I hear forking the FreeBSD Kernel is common) and his costs only go up while he spends all his time fixing bugs all by himself. The result will be Ubuntu advancement will slow down, or it will become a buggy POS with no long term security.

    Either way I think they suffer from NIH disease and maybe they should consider a fork of the FreeBSD kernel. I imagine it won't be long before Mint/Arch or whatever fully replaces all the popularity Ubuntu managed to create. I already see Mint recommended more often than Ubuntu.

  • by Bill Dimm ( 463823 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @12:39AM (#43145933) Homepage

    ...This decision was entirely based on NIH (Not in House) Syndrome...

    NIH = Not Invented Here

  • by ndogg ( 158021 ) <the DOT rhorn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @01:21AM (#43146119) Homepage Journal

    Sure, that could be part of it, but I think a careful reading would show that there were a number of things missing from Wayland that they wanted, and there were a number of things that would have required some heavy patching to get what they wanted, which probably wouldn't have been any better than starting anew anyway. This way they also don't have to worry about whether or not their patches get accepted upstream.

    I guess they could have forked Wayland, but if they're not going to use most of that code anyway, what would be the point?

  • Ignorance on display (Score:5, Informative)

    by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @02:35AM (#43146365)

    You're just betraying your ignorance of Wayland. Wayland does NOT replace X windows. In fact Wayland was designed from scratch so that an X server can run in wayland WITH NO PERFORMANCE PENALTY.

    So with Wayland you can STILL run your old legacy X11 apps and get decent performance too!

    Win win all around! What is the downside?

  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @02:51AM (#43146411)

    Wayland is being developed by the same people behind 99.9% of the people lambasting Wayland have no idea what it is, what it's going to accomplish or how entrenched it already is.

    Wayland is the future. It will take some time to get everything in place but it's already in play and many other project from the kernel to window managers are already moving towards implementing the plumbing necessary. Given this is slashdot I'm not particularly surprised by the ignorance, nor that people think something as complex as a complete rewrite of the GUI could be accomplished in weeks nor am I surprised that no one has bothered to actually learn about wayland and what it is but frankly the hatred is a bit surprising given the total ignorance. People hate software they know nothing about because they are afraid of change, it's just silly.

    You think they would at least try to learn what it is given that almost all the people behind it are the same people behind

  • by Randle_Revar ( 229304 ) <> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @03:15AM (#43146511) Homepage Journal

    Dunno about the younger guys, but Keith was an X dev way back in the day. And by back in the day I mean 1988.
    At least a few of the other devs where from the XFree era...

  • by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @03:16AM (#43146515)

    The downside is that a lot of development resources are being funneled to the rewrite of functionality currently quite well implemented by Xorg.


    do you actually use X windows at all?

    It's buggy as heck and its performance is miserable.

    Your crack about "developement resources" is pretty funny because the original X developers are also developing Wayland because they are SICK of funneling their development resources into fixing X bugs.

  • by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:08AM (#43146893)

    Here are some RESULTS from an experiment done by

    The first number is X windows tunneled through SSH
    the second number is VNC
    the third number is NX

    Start Matlab (-nosplash) 9.6s 4.9s 5s
    Open edit window 2.9s 1.3s 1.2s
    Activate File menu 0.6s 0.1s 0.1s
    Activate Edit menu 0.6s 0.1s 0.1s
    Activate Text menu 0.5s 0.2s 0.1s
    Close edit window, redraw main window 1.5s 0.4s 0.3s
    Close matlab 0.5s 0.6s 0.6s

    As you can see REMOTE X WINDOWS SUCKS

  • Re:Context please? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:35AM (#43146983) Journal
    There is a great Slashdot post from one of the developers of Quartz around 2001 about why they chose to reinvent the wheel instead of using X11. The problem is, none of his criticisms applies to circa 2006 or later. It was shown, by counterexample, that it was possible to add all of the missing features that Apple wanted to X11, without breaking backwards compatibility. And, as part of their rewrite, they lost some separation of concerns and they lost compatibility with X11 applications except via an ugly (visually) compatibility layer. The latter wasn't a problem for Apple, because they didn't want to be running X11 apps, they wanted people to write new Cocoa apps. It is a problem for a system attempting to take advantage of the large corpus of existing X11 apps.
  • by Mr Thinly Sliced ( 73041 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @05:48AM (#43147037) Homepage Journal

    We could have had a modern display server years ago with XGL/Xegl. But it was killed off because Red Hat and nVidia didn't like.

    The disagreement was purely technical.

    The XGL approach caused a bunch of peformance problems for various rendering scenarios (stereo3d, overlays like video) - XGL forced everything through a pixmap to be rendered by GL.

    No acceleration using the GPU for video / scaling or anything else.

    XGL was cool because it was first and everyone got googly eyed at the effects. It probably was a catalyst in getting the right solution (AIGLX), too.

  • by dkf ( 304284 ) <> on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @06:15AM (#43147131) Homepage

    Wayland is being developed by the same people behind

    That explains my number one complaint about Wayland: the documentation is terrible. Truly awful. I mean this in a very specific way: there is insufficient information there to tell me how I could get a surface on which I could render things, and there is insufficient information there to permit me to do an independent reimplementation of the client library. My only recourse would be to read the source code, but right now that doesn't seem to help either. (Sure, I could connect and probably get a surface, but I have no idea what I could do with that surface or how I would change the handle into something that some other library could draw on.) There's just too much information missing, and that's about par for the course with anything produced by the folks from; they can code cleanly enough, but they can't document critical info.

    I am a GUI toolkit maintainer. I'm not porting anything away from X11 for now because I just don't see enough of a platform to port to. (Some bits are probably there. Some definitely aren't. I have other things to do as well as filling out gaping holes in others' critical info.)

  • Re:Context please? (Score:3, Informative)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @10:42AM (#43148817) Journal

    OS X is certified Unix. It's not X, but X isn't Unix.

    The UI has a lineage going back to the 1984 Mac (and Lisa) but everything else is NeXT/OpenStep.

  • Re:Context please? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Tuesday March 12, 2013 @01:40PM (#43150795) Homepage

    What features are missing from OS X's display system that were present in OS 9?

    The OS9 Finder' which was powerful
    Use of Fitt's law in design
    Interface consistency
    First controls differ in location and in tone
    Symbols consistent with actions.
    Clickable action and light up zone matching
    Variable spacing for controls as a preference
    Control of justification and spacing on the menu bar


The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal