Running Wayland On Ubuntu 11.10

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 25 August 2011. Page 3 of 4. 6 Comments

When installing the Wayland demos package (as easy as sudo apt-get install wayland-demos), the sample Wayland setup can be run within an existing X.Org Server. One of the commands that ships as part of this package is "wstart", which starts up a sample Wayland server, with a pre-set background, and launches the sample terminal client. The sample terminal window can be moved around and basic commands inputted to the terminal.

This is not particularly exciting or anything unique from any non-Ubuntu Wayland demos -- there is a lack of real-world applications that currently play well with Wayland. The Clutter back-end to Wayland is out-of-date, the GTK back-end appeared in GTK3 and is getting into shape, and the Qt Wayland back-end is being actively worked on and is taking shape (there's been a sample Qt Wayland Compositor) and should really be fit for Qt 5.0 when released in the 2012 calendar year.

For what it's worth, Intel's plans to use Wayland on MeeGo Tablet UX in this calendar year are with using a Qt interface. In fact, they already have experimental versions running for MeeGo. Intel's target for 2011 is only for the tablet version and not MeeGo for netbooks or other devices. With simply a tablet focus, early versions of Wayland makes more sense since needing to worry less about some not-yet-implemented functionality, such as better/multiple display handling, multiple input devices, and other capabilities.

Besides needing the main tool-kits to support Wayland so that applications can draw, there's also still input work, possible OpenWF support, and various other features that have yet to be developed (e.g. screensaver, a hot-replace server, remote support, and multi-monitor, among many other items). Some applications like Google Chrome also have a greater burden in playing nicely under Linux in an X11-less world.

The other big item is waiting for AMD and NVIDIA to support Wayland with their proprietary display drivers. Wayland requires kernel mode-setting (or similar, as in a way to externally set the mode) and a way to share video memory buffers (e.g. GEM buffers / EGLImage). Aside from running a Wayland compositor within an X.Org Server, right now you can only natively use Wayland with the open-source Intel / Radeon / Nouveau drivers with KMS and Mesa/Gallium3D. There is also other ways like using Wayland software rendering on a dumb frame-buffer, but those solutions are not too viable at this time. Do not expect NVIDIA or AMD to support Wayland within their proprietary drivers until the last possible moment when they are sure this next-generation display server will succeed. Their support will not come until at some point in 2012 at the earliest.

Related Articles