Years After Wayland 1.0, Will 2016 Be The Year Of The Wayland Desktop?

Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland on 25 October 2015 at 04:25 PM EDT. 71 Comments
This past week marked three years since the release of Wayland 1.0 while finally next year it's looking like the Wayland-powered Linux desktop landscape could be much more complete.

Aside from Tizen, Sailfish OS, and other smaller distributions, most Linux distributions continue to rely upon an X.Org Server by default rather than Wayland. However, Fedora and even Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 offer non-default session options of putting a GNOME Shell+Mutter experience over Wayland.

In 2016 it could be interesting though as it looks like Fedora 24 could use Wayland by default on supported hardware/driver configurations. Fedora 24 is set to debut in mid-May.

Following Fedora 24 with Wayland, hopefully other Linux distributions will decide to make the move to Wayland -- particularly those that use the GNOME desktop by default. The KDE Plasma 5 desktop is still being ported to Wayland and hopefully will be ready for prime-time use within a few releases. Enlightenment has been playing around with Wayland support for a while and it looks like E20 will have great Wayland support once released. The MATE desktop and the other smaller Linux distributions continue also in their strides to get up and running under Wayland.

On the proprietary driver front, they're getting close to natively handling Wayland. NVIDIA is getting very close. I'd anticipate the NVIDIA driver supporting Wayland in the next few months, perhaps even still this calendar year. The AMD Catalyst driver should support Wayland once their new driver model goes into effect where Catalyst is limited to being a user-space binary blob that relies upon the AMDGPU DRM/KMS driver.

On the upstream Wayland front, Wayland/Weston 1.10 should be out early next year. Meanwhile, Canonical isn't planning for Mir on the Ubuntu desktop with Unity 8 until at least Ubuntu 16.10 in October 2016.

It's been seven years since first breaking Wayland to the world and it looks like 2016 could be a critical point for it. What are your hopes for the Wayland-powered Linux desktop moving into 2016? Share your thoughts via our forums or on Twitter or Facebook.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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