Ubuntu 21.04 Will Try To Use Wayland By Default

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 28 January 2021 at 10:46 AM EST. 71 Comments
Ubuntu is going to be trying to switch over to using Wayland by default for the current Ubuntu 21.04 cycle to allow sufficient time for widespread testing and evaluation ahead of next year's Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release.

Canonical engineer Sebastien Bacher announced today they will be trying again for Ubuntu 21.04 to enable Wayland by default, four years after they originally tried but reverted back to using GNOME on X.Org for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and since that point. Ubuntu with GNOME Shell on Wayland has been available as a non-default choice but the hope is now in 2021 they are ready to comfortably switch to Wayland.

In recent years GNOME on Wayland has improved with its Pipewire desktop sharing support among other improvements. For Ubuntu 21.04, users of the NVIDIA proprietary driver will still see the X.Org session by default but they hope in time for Ubuntu 22.04 LTS will be better NVIDIA Wayland support.

Details were relayed a few minutes ago on Ubuntu Discourse.

Ubuntu 21.04 is sticking to GNOME 3.38 rather than moving to GNOME 40 as the default desktop environment this cycle. It will be interesting to see if they stick with Wayland by default (for non-NVIDIA setups) for this spring release. Given the shift, I'll also be working on some new X.Org vs. Wayland benchmarks shortly.

Other distributions like Fedora Workstation have already been defaulting to Wayland for years with the GNOME on Wayland code being incredibly fit at this stage. The KDE Plasma code is also becoming in very good shape with Wayland and by Plasma 5.21 will hopefully be production hardened. Paired with NVIDIA DMA-BUF improvements and the new Vulkan extension work coming around enhancing compositor support, perhaps 2021 will finally be the year of the Wayland Linux desktop?
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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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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