NVIDIA Says It Has No Plans To Support Wayland
Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland on 8 November 2010 at 10:52 AM EST. 113 Comments
Last week Mark Shuttleworth shared that Ubuntu will begin shipping the Wayland Display Server with their Unity desktop in a future release (likely around Ubuntu 11.10 it will become an experimental part of their desktop stack, but a PPA repository of Wayland for Ubuntu is already being worked on now). While being a supporter of Wayland and the first to cover this display server project two years ago when it was just in its infancy, this even caught me by surprise and a bit of a shock that Ubuntu, the leading desktop Linux distribution, planned to begin shipping support for it so soon.

The tool-kits and other components that will be needed for Wayland to be a viable desktop display server are only beginning to stabilize and the open-source graphics drivers from Intel / AMD / NVIDIA (Nouveau) are beginning to function properly. However, there's still the very popular proprietary drivers from AMD and NVIDIA that are not compatible with Wayland due to the lack of kernel mode-setting (KMS) and Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) buffer support along with other open-source drivers (i.e. the missing VIA code and many others) that also lack these attributes.

When asking Mark about this, he responded to me, "The transition will take time, we will not cut over the whole of Ubuntu by default immediately. We'll work with vendors to support the needed capabilities. This is a strong signal to them to start work on lining up their own efforts to make it a good transition."

Well, at least as of right now, NVIDIA is claiming they will not support Wayland. NVIDIA's Aaron Plattner has publicly stated, "We have no plans to support Wayland." There is a discussion about this NVIDIA comment regarding Wayland already being talked about on our forums.

In order for NVIDIA to support Wayland by their proprietary driver in its current form, they would need to implement kernel mode-setting support and also some interface for GEM to their existing memory manager (they wouldn't gut their existing memory manager for GEM/TTM since it would be a major regression in terms of features/capabilities and performance), among other work. AMD also has no plans to support Wayland at this time by their proprietary Catalyst Linux driver.

We will see if things change once Wayland matures and there are user-land applications actually running well on this lightweight display server, but for now you will need to be using the latest open-source Radeon / Intel / Nouveau drivers if you wish to toy around with Wayland.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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