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With Ubuntu 10.10 It May Be Easier To Run Wayland

Wayland

Published on 13 May 2010 06:56 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland
33 Comments

Beyond working towards the X Server not running as the root user and the X.Org/Mesa/Kernel upgrades planned for Ubuntu 10.10, it may also be easier to test the Wayland Display Server in this Ubuntu "Maverick Meerkat" update due out in October.

We first talked about Wayland in late 2008 when the project was still in its infancy by Kristian Høgsberg. Wayland is still very much a side-project of Kristian's that just receives commits every once in a while and has yet to gain any widespread adoption, but it still possesses a lot of progress. Wayland can run dual nested X.Org Servers within it, now runs off Mesa rather than Eagle EGL, supports the KMS page-flipping ioctl, a DRI2 driver is being worked on, and much more. However, it doesn't do too much yet for the end-user, but that should change once the GTK, Qt, or Clutter tool-kits is properly supported within Wayland. Right now there's just a basic terminal and a few demo applications that can run within this display server that leverages kernel mode-setting.

As briefly detailed in this Launchpad Blueprint specification, the Ubuntu X.Org teams wants to make it easier to test the Wayland Display Server within the Ubuntu 10.10 release. Ubuntu developers want to go as far as providing a Wayland Display Server package within their universe repository. However, to get Wayland running atop an Ubuntu installation currently requires a few steps.

The barrier to try out the Wayland Display Server is not nearly as great as it was back in 2008 or even last year as more of the changes need to handle Wayland are merged into their mainline code repositories. When last toying with Wayland on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS a few weeks it ago, it required a branched version of Mesa, an updated version of Cairo built with the DRM back-end, and a few development packages from the Ubuntu repositories.

Fortunately the biggest piece of the puzzle, the kernel mode-setting support for the different graphics hardware, is mainlined for ATI, Intel, and NVIDIA (through Nouveau) GPUs with the Linux kernel and those pieces are enabled by default in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. However, Wayland will not work with the NVIDIA or ATI/AMD proprietary Linux drivers as they do not support kernel mode-setting. There has some talk about making Wayland dependent upon OpenWF rather than the Linux kernel mode-setting interface directly, but that hasn't materialized.

We'll see where Wayland gets by the time Ubuntu 10.10 is due out in October.

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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