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GNOME Will Move Full-Speed With Wayland Support

GNOME

Published on 13 March 2013 01:19 AM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME
140 Comments

We already know that KDE developers aren't fond of Mir, Canonical's display server for the Unity desktop not derived from X.Org and Wayland. KDE developers aren't happy about it, some Xfce developers have also expressed dissatisfaction with the recent Canonical changes, and now there's a GNOME response. What's GNOME doing about Mir? They're laying out plans right now to move hard and fast with Wayland support!

There's been experimental work on bringing the GNOME Shell and Mutter to Wayland/Weston, but nothing that's been merged yet and ready for GNOME desktop users. The GTK3 tool-kit does have Wayland support and it's continuing to be improved. Rather than GNOME jumping on the Mir bandwagon, they want to move now at a vicious rate in supporting Wayland.

Red Hat's Matthias Clasen took a proposal on Tuesday to the GNOME release team. Matthias and several other GNOME developers met with Kristian last week to talk about GNOME plans for Wayland. "So far, we've silently assumed that Wayland is the future display system on Linux, and that we will get to using it eventually...The recent Mir announcement makes it a bit more urgent that we put our weight behind Wayland and help it reach its full potential. Doing this also fits our mandate from last Guadec to set stronger technical directions."

Finishing up GNOME support for Wayland is to big to get done in one development cycle but Clasen proposes that it be completed over two development cycles. "By the fall, have gnome-shell optionally work as a Wayland compositor, and have the gtk backend substantially complete - by next spring, have a complete port of all desktop functionality. Making applications run natively can happen independently at its own speed - we will support X clients transparently."

This would mean that by spring of 2014, GNOME 3.12 will be a complete port of GNOME to Wayland. Compatibility for most GNOME components will be maintained to run under X while all core GNOME components will work under Wayland. The goal for GNOME 3.10 this fall is for the GNOME Shell to optionally work as a Wayland compositor, the GTK+ tool-kit being good enough for day-to-day use, and applications can transparently fall-back to using XWayland.

More details on this proposal can be found on the GNOME Live Wiki and the release-team mailing list. In response, there's even talk of GNOME 4.0 being exclusive to Wayland.

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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