GNOME's Mutter Moving Closer To Pure Wayland-Only Build Option

Written by Michael Larabel in GNOME on 31 May 2022 at 10:00 AM EDT. 77 Comments
GNOME's Mutter compositor has been going through some code restructuring and preparations for being able to build it without any X11 dependencies at all, for those wanting a legacy-free/X11-free GNOME desktop experience that would also forego any XWayland support.

GNOME contributor Bilal Elmoussaoui last week saw this MR land in Mutter that was in the works the past month. This is moving around the X11 sources and dependencies in working towards being able to build Mutter without any X11 dependencies in the future.

That merge also adds new X11/XWayland configuration options for the Meson builds of Mutter and being able to disable XWayland or the back-end implementation of X11.

In addition, Bilal Elmoussaoui has been working on the branch of Mutter "without-xwayland" for that pure-Wayland Mutter support to not build any X11 code at all if so desired.

Granted, for the foreseeable future most Linux desktop users, especially enthusiasts and gamers, will still be wanting the X11 support at least for XWayland support to continue running games and other X11-only software on the Linux desktop. But for those wanting to remove the legacy cruft like on enterprise Linux platforms where needing to be less concerned about games and less about GUI applications, this "pure Wayland" build support to avoid all X11 dependencies may be attractive -- especially given the known poor state of the X.Org code-base when it comes to security and researchers saying it's even worse than it looks.

We'll see if this Mutter without XWayland/X11 optional build support is all wrapped up in time for the GNOME 43 release in September.
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