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Canonical Makes Rare X.Org/Wayland Contribution

Wayland

Published on 23 May 2012 07:46 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland
9 Comments

While Canonical is known -- and commonly criticized -- for not investing in making heavy, low-level upstream Linux contributions, today a set of patches intended for upstream were published by a Canonical engineer concerning XWayland support.

The patches that surfaced today were from Christopher James Halse Rogers, one of the X.Org package maintainers for Ubuntu at Canonical. One of the patches is just for the X.Org Server to just load xwayland module automatically if the Wayland support is requested a second commit just changes around the init process to better handle the DRM driver, and then the patch work that's worth mentioning is the XWayland support for the Nouveau driver. The set of patches begin here on the Wayland project's development mailing list.

Introducing XWayland support to the xf86-video-nouveau DDX driver amounts to just under 200 lines of code. This patch is mainly just for testing purposes, but the Canonical employee suggests that it's fine to merge to master. "This is mostly just for testing, although it should be safe to apply to nouveau trunk." The patch is just small changes to the open-source NVIDIA driver so it can work with XWayland.

XWayland is for running X.Org as a Wayland client such that X11 applications can then run on top of Wayland should they not have native support. There's small changes needed to the DDX drivers for running in this "hosted" model atop Wayland, which up to this point there's been the xf86-video-intel support.

Aside from Canonical not being a huge upstream contributor to the Linux kernel, they're also not particularly known for their X.Org / Mesa / Wayland upstream contributions as it concerns new features and other big-ticket items. Seeing the XWayland support for Nouveau is nice even though it's not the largest contribution possible; from last month you can see the top contributors to Wayland.

To date, the only contributions to Wayland/Weston from Canonical (at least in an official capacity with Canonical.com; the Git data) were a few minor patches from Bryce Harrington in 2010 to just fix a few small Wayland problems. These previous patches for their combined upstream Wayland code contribution amounted to 15 lines of new code, 17 lines removed.

This Nouveau XWayland support comes as Canonical begins work on developing Ubuntu 12.10. For this next Ubuntu Linux release they have very ambitious Wayland plans as a system compositor, which would require good XWayland support, but already their initial plans have drawn some concerns from other developers.

Let's hope that this is just the beginning of more Wayland contributions by Canonical developers.

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