It's been a few weeks since really mentioning the Wayland Display Server at Phoronix (the last time was in June when XWayland and xf86-video-wlshm were released). It's not because development of this next-generation Linux display server has stalled, but there's been some progress made and overall just the lower level of activity during the summer months.
One of the Clutter tool-kit developers has announced a tiny Wayland compositor that was written and it provides support for multiple display emulation. This Wayland compositor is capable of emulating four displays and for now basically serves as a technical example.
The "still very experimental for the foreseeable future but promising" Wayland has been discussed more at UDS Budapest, on the mailing lists, and now this weekend in Berlin at LinuxTag.
Wayland was talked about this morning at the summit in Budapest. In particular, the outlook for Wayland in Ubuntu and Linaro. Separately, there's also X.Org notes from today's meetings.
Besides OpenWF support in Wayland being talked about and on the roadmap, another item that's been hotly discussed the past couple of days is about client side decoration support for the Wayland Display Server.
Besides the obvious requirements and demands of needing to design a display server that can fully replace the needs of the long-standing X Server, and making all the tool-kits and major software support running natively on Wayland, another inhibitor to Wayland's adoption has been its graphics driver requirements. In particular, Wayland requires kernel mode-setting, EGL (in place of a DRI2 requirement), in-kernel memory management (GEM), and 3D acceleration.
When Mark Shuttleworth announced last year that Ubuntu will eventually deploy Wayland instead of an X.Org Server with their new Unity Desktop, there were many mixed reactions. There were many Phoronix enthusiasts excited since this means replacing ancient X11 code with a brand new code-base designed around modern graphics technologies that takes advantage of KMS, OpenGL, etc. Others, however, were less excited since Wayland is still a work-in-progress. While Wayland has come a long way in recent months, it's still not as full-featured as an X.Org Server, but the features coming are beginning to trump the current capabilities of the X stack.
While proposals for this year's Google Summer of Code is quickly coming to an end, there's been a last minute proposal for the Wayland Display Server. This proposal is to work on a hot-replace server.
Martin Gräßlin has been making some very interesting advancements to KWin in the past year or so, after having issues with open-source Mesa drivers, this German developer has made this compositing window manager for the KDE Plasma desktop run on OpenGL ES 2.0 and even optional support for OpenGL 3.x. He wouldn't mind some help though, so this summer for KDE's involvement in Google's Summer of Code he has proposed three fairly interesting projects, two of which benefit KWin on Wayland.
If you're not following the many Linux development mailing lists out there, the latest major discussion surrounding the Wayland Display Server that's spanned the Wayland, DRI/DRM, and Fbdev mailing lists has been about using Wayland on "dumb frame-buffers", KMS vs. fbdev, and DRM drivers on embedded SoCs.
If you head on over to the Nokia Labs Qt Blog there is a post about "multi-process Lighthouse", which is worth reading. It's written by Jørgen Lind about how up until now Qt has lacked a multi-process client/server solution, but now they are looking for the Wayland Display Server to fill this void. Jørgen and other Qt developers ended up writing "Qt Compositor", which is a Nokia Labs project for making Qt-based Wayland compositors.
In recent days on the Wayland development mailing list there's been a discussion about a HPC (High Performance Compute) architecture for Wayland. A few interesting ideas have been brought up.
While there have been some battles waged recently between Canonical and GNOME developers over collaboration with regard to the Unity desktop shell and revenue sharing for purchases made within their online music store (even this morning with another post by Mark Shuttleworth), on a more positive and productive note: how's the Wayland plans coming along?
Canonical's Bryce Harrington has just announced he has uploaded a snapshot of the Wayland Display Server to the Universe repository for Ubuntu 11.04, a.k.a. the upcoming "Natty Narwhal" Linux release.
For those of you interested in running the Wayland Display Server on your NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards, without running it nestled inside an X Server, it should work if you use the newest Linux kernel code.
Two weeks ago the hot discussion item being talked about by those interested in the Wayland Display Server was how to handle input with Wayland (e.g. using X Input, create a separate "Inland" input project, or designing something entirely different). The new subject now brought up on the Wayland mailing list is how to handle multiple monitor support. Fortunately, it looks like Kristian plans to implement multiple monitor/display support in a different -- and better -- way than how it's dealt with by the X.Org Server.
Benjamin Franzke, an independent open-source developer, has published patches that provides Wayland EGL support for Mesa. This provides a EGL Wayland platform library so that it can be used by this new display server as an alternative to X.
If you have any interest at all in the technical side of the Wayland Display Server, there's been two mailing list threads in particular worth paying attention to this week. One is about proposals for Wayland's input system an the other is in terms of defining a Wayland implementation.
Yesterday there was quick, airborne coverage of the GTK+ Wayland back-end moving forward for GTK+ 3.0. Not only was the back-end merged, allowing the GTK+ tool-kit to begin working on this alternative display server that's quickly garnering attention, but it also works with the new GTK+ multi-backend capabilities.
While busy discussing Sandy Bridge Linux support, it's been brought to my attention en route to Las Vegas that the Wayland back-end for GTK+3 has been merged!
Development work towards the major Clutter 1.6 stable release has been progressing nicely within the Clutter 1.5 development branch. These recent development snapshots have brought performance improvements, a GLSL generation back-end, greater usage of OpenGL FBOs, new API functionality, and even a Clutter Wayland back-end. A new development release of Clutter (v1.5.10) is now here and it brings an evdev input back-end.
Wayland has received quite a number of new patches in the past month from a variety of different developers, including the ability to run Wayland off a Linux frame-buffer, but now this weekend it has picked up another interesting feature: the ability to run another Wayland compositor instance within itself. There's now patches out there for running a nested/session compositor of Wayland on top of an existing Wayland Display Server that in turn is running on a X11/DRM compositor and communicating with the hardware.
Wayland has experienced a surge in development activities from new developers since it was announced Ubuntu will deploy the Wayland Display Server with patches coming in from various developers that address issues from bugs to letting it run on a Linux frame-buffer. Wayland up to this point has been licensed under the MIT / GPLv2 code licenses (depending upon the component), but Kristian Høgsberg has now decided to change the licenses before it's too late and complicated.
Besides needing to get the various tool-kits and other libraries ported to run atop the Wayland Display Server, another requirement limiting the adoption of this X11 Server alternative so far has been the specialized graphics requirements. From the beginning, Wayland was designed for GPU drivers that support kernel mode-setting (KMS), Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) buffers, and OpenGL ES, among some other smaller requirements. Originally only the Intel Linux driver would work, but since then the various branches needed to support Wayland have been merged to their mainline code-bases and it's possible to run Wayland with the open-source ATI Radeon and Nouveau drivers too. But those using the proprietary ATI or NVIDIA drivers have not been able to run Wayland nor those people utilizing the VESA driver or any of the other obscure graphics drivers that lack any of the needed GPU driver capabilities. This though has now changed as it's been proved possible that Wayland in fact can run off a Linux frame-buffer.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the Wayland Display Server since it was announced Ubuntu is going to deploy their Unity Desktop atop Wayland. The new Wayland mailing list has become lively with end-users and developers and there's more people now trying out this experimental lightweight display server that leverages OpenGL ES, kernel mode-setting, and the Graphics Execution Manager, among other recent Linux graphics technologies. Most people though still haven't seen or used Wayland, but here's a short video showing it off.
In recent days we have been talking a lot about Ubuntu's plans to deploy the Wayland Display Server and the new Wayland activity, NVIDIA's plans to not support Wayland, and John Carmack's interests to support Wayland, but that isn't the only solution in the world. Red Hat's Adam Jackson has addressed the Fedora plans to support Wayland.
While the discussion surrounding the Wayland Display Server and Canonical's plans to deploy Ubuntu atop Wayland continue to be ongoing within our forums (here, here, and here) and elsewhere, some new technical capabilities and plans for Wayland have been discussed. Here's two features that Wayland is set to have that is not currently supported by the X.Org Server.
John Carmack, the co-founder of id Software and lead developer of the Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake games, among others, is apparently interested in Wayland. Yes, actually the Wayland Display Server. He just used his Twitter account to share that he wishes he had the time to contribute to it and then linked to Mark Shuttleworth's blog post announcing Ubuntu will be switching to Wayland with their Unity desktop.
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.
Mark Shuttleworth's announcement this week that Ubuntu will eventually dump the X.Org Server for Wayland has resulted in a great deal of media coverage for this emerging display server project that up until now was really only talked about and covered by Phoronix from the point in 2008 when we introduced the world to Wayland. While there's still many months of work ahead before all of the pieces of the Linux desktop stack will be ready for a Wayland Display Server by default, it seems many people are already taking a look at Wayland.
445 Wayland news articles published on Phoronix.