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AMD Catalyst Will Not Support Wayland Anytime Soon

AMD

Published on 20 August 2012 02:27 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in AMD
103 Comments

Last week we heard news that NVIDIA is at least evaluating support for their binary graphics driver with Wayland, but on the AMD Catalyst binary driver side it doesn't look like they will be supporting the next-generation Linux display architecture "anytime soon", according to a reliable source.

As I exclusively shared earlier today, an AMD source I reached out to has said that "Catalyst won't support Wayland anytime soon." Meanwhile NVIDIA has filed Wayland support as a "feature enhancement request" that they will be evaluating the effort and benefits of supporting Wayland in addition to X.Org.

Binary driver support for Wayland likely won't come from either AMD or NVIDIA in the near-term, but looks like if anything it will first come out of the NVIDIA camp -- to not much surprise. Even after delivering Wayland support though they'll be likely to drop X11 support in the foreseeable future due to legacy and enterprise support needs. On the NVIDIA side their shared Unix graphics driver code also needs to support FreeBSD and Solaris, where there is no Wayland support planned by upstream and only the X.Org Server.

AMD not aggressively supporting Wayland isn't entirely surprising since new Linux-specific features to the Catalyst driver tend to come rather slow, even when it comes to supporting new Linux kernel and X.Org Server releases that generally require small modifications to support the new API/ABI. Generally this support doesn't come until the change is necessitated by Ubuntu or one of AMD's supported enterprise Linux distributions (i.e. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux Enterprise). Wayland 1.0 also isn't even being released until later this calendar year -- where there will be API and protocol stability -- with the current version being Wayland 0.95.

For now if you want to toy around with Wayland/Weston, you basically need to use one of the main open-source drivers: Intel, Radeon, or Nouveau. Running Wayland works but a lot remains as shown from testing a recent Wayland LiveCD. Ubuntu has also delayed their Wayland system compositor into next year.

Wayland will be talked about next week at the GStreamer 2012 Conference in San Diego alongside LinuxCon North America 2012. Wayland is also a topic for next month's XDC2012 in N├╝rnberg where maininling XWayland will also be debated.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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