The Biggest Wayland & Mir News Of The Year

Written by Michael Larabel in Wayland on 29 December 2015 at 08:25 AM EST. 2 Comments
Both Wayland and Mir advanced a lot in 2015.

In 2015 we saw Canonical continue to invest in Mir and see it mature greatly not only for Ubuntu Phone devices but on the desktop as well in prepping it for the Unity 8 converged experience hopefully for Ubuntu 16.10. Mir this year picked up libinput input support by default, rendering improvements, better performance, and many other features. Outside of Unity 8 though, I haven't seen any other open-source desktop environments experimenting with Mir.

On the Wayland side, there wasn't too many exciting breakthroughs with the core Wayland protocol or the Weston reference compositor. More exciting was the GNOME Wayland stack getting good enough for day-to-day use, with Plasma 5.5 this month the KDE Wayland experience is becoming usable for early adopters, Enlightenment E20 offers great Wayland support, and other pieces of the puzzle come together. In 2016, Fedora 24 will likely be the first major Linux distribution using Wayland by default where supported. We've also seen progress with Firefox and LibreOffice on Wayland, among other applications.

On the driver side, there continues to be mainline support for Wayland across the open-source graphics drivers. With Mir there is the support, but the patches remain out-of-tree. Ubuntu continues to patch their driver builds with Mir support. When it comes to proprietary drivers, NVIDIA is nearly there with their driver restructuring and EGL support for handling both Mir and Wayland; hopefully we'll see that released in early 2016. On the AMD side, when the new "Radeon Software" driver that supports the AMDGPU kernel DRM driver is out there should be the Wayland/Mir support.

Here's a look at the most popular Wayland stories of 2015:

GNOME 3.16 On Fedora 22: Wayland vs. X.Org
In complementing this morning's early Fedora 22 Workstation benchmarks, here's some numbers in looking at Fedora 22's GNOME Shell 3.16 desktop under an X.Org Server as well as Wayland.

GNOME's Mutter Updated For Latest Wayland Support
For those wishing to experiment with the latest Wayland technologies, short of running the Weston compositor, the bleeding-edge development GNOME stack continues to serve as an excellent alternative with quickly adopting support for new functionality.

Don't Bet On "X12" Succeeding X11 Rather Than Wayland (Or Mir)
While there's long been an X.Org Wiki page with some pipe dreams for X12 as the successor to the X11 protocol, don't bet on it ever happening.

KDE's KWin Just Became A Proper Wayland Compositor
Martin Gräßlin just shared that with the forthcoming KDE Plasma 5.4 update, KWin will serve as a proper Wayland compositor!

There's Rapid Progress Being Made On KDE For Wayland
KDE on Wayland has been making a lot of progress recently to the point that it's becoming usable and with KDE Plasma 5.5 it looks like it will be in very good shape.

Fedora 23 Likely To Pursue Wayland By Default
While Wayland by default replacing the X.Org Server as the default display environment has been talked about for a while within the next-generation Fedora world, it looks like Fedora 23 could finally be the time that the switch happens.

NVIDIA 355 Beta Linux Driver Released, Closer To Supporting Wayland/Mir
NVIDIA this morning released their first public Linux driver beta in the 355.xx series, and it's quite an exciting update!

Fresh Fedora 23 GNOME Shell Wayland Tests
Here are some weekend follow-up tests to last month's GNOME 3.18 On Fedora 23: X.Org vs. Wayland Performance article.

Red Hat Makes Progress On Firefox Native For Wayland
Besides LibreOffice running natively on Wayland, progress has been made this week on running Mozilla's Firefox web-browser natively on Wayland.

Intel Continues To Divest In Wayland
In the earlier days of Wayland, Intel was known for contributing a lot of resources toward this next-generation display technology to unseat the X.Org Server, but these days their contributions have been minimal.

And the most popular Mir stories of the year:

Unity 8 & Mir Are Moving Along For Ubuntu 15.04
Canonical's work on the next-generation Unity 8 interface for the Ubuntu desktop powered by the Mir display server is taking shape on the desktop and complementing their mobile work well.

A Lot Of Improvements Are Coming For Mir 0.13, Including Work Towards Libinput
We've known since March that Mir 0.13 would be a very large release and it's certainly panning out that way.

Many Changes Coming To The Next Version Of SDL2, Wayland/Mir By Default
It's been over two years since the release of SDL 2.0 and 19 months since the debut of the last SDL 2.0 point release, SDL 2.0.3. However, a lot of new activity continues piling in the Git code for whenever the next Simple Directmedia Layer release might happen to benefit cross-platform gamers and other users of this library.

Canonical Shows Legacy X11 Apps Running On Mir With Unity 8
Canonical posted a video today showing the state of running a Unity 8 session with Mir while supporting legacy X11 applications that lack a Mir back-end.

Mir Now Depends Upon C++14
While many open-source projects are still transitioning over to a C++11 code-base, Ubuntu's Mir display server is already moving onto C++14.

Mir 0.11 Released With Many Enhancements
Version 0.11 of the Mir Display Server was released this week for Ubuntu.

Mir 0.16 Brings Smoother/Higher Frame Rates
Mir 0.16 was quietly released a few days back as the newest upstream release of this display server for Ubuntu Linux.

Mir Gets Automatic Probing For Input Platforms
Ubuntu developers working on the Mir display server have been continuing to land more improvements to this X11/Wayland alternative although there hasn't been too much to report as of late for significant feature additions.

Mir 0.17.0 Brings Cookies, MirBlob
Canonical developers released Mir 0.17.0 yesterday in time for the final freeze of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf.

Mir Is Making Measurable Progress On Using Libinput
Ubuntu developers working on Mir have been making measurable progress recently on using libinput for their input handling, similar to Wayland and in the X.Org world where libinput is also being used via the xf86-input-libinput driver.

It's looking more and more like 2016 could be the year of Wayland. Canonical, meanwhile, has remained committed to Mir. Do you think Mir will continue going strong in 2016 or do you feel that eventually Ubuntu will switch back to their original Wayland plans? After all, one of their original reasons for designing Mir was not being satisfied with the Wayland input stack, yet with Mir 0.18 they are now using the same input stack (libinput).
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Michael Larabel

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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