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Update On Wayland and X11 Support

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the no-love-for-x11 dept.

X 315

Phoronix was at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit and has two articles on the status of Wayland and X11 integration. The second talk was about the current status of Wayland, and its impending release (version 1.0 is due this summer). The developers also have an experimental GNOME-Shell working on Wayland. There's a (kind of shaky) video of this talk (attached, and at youtube for those wanting the html5 version). The first talk (by Keith Packard) covered X11 support on Wayland. It's basically ready to go, but window management is implemented only as a hack right now. The next year could be quite exciting for GNU/Linux and BSD users as distributions begin including Wayland as an alternative to X.org.

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Yay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597301)

I am the first to post!

Why? (2)

bytor4232 (304582) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597343)

Someone enlighten me, why Wayland?

Re:Why? (1, Flamebait)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597349)

Because it wasn't enough to crapify just the desktop environment.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597399)

IIRC X11 has a lot of redundancy with stuff that's already in the Linux kernel. Weyland is a compositing window manager that removes those redundancies for better performance and code maintainability. Weyland loads X11 legacy support only as needed on an app by app basis. Benefits include Compiz working much better by bypassing X.

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597441)

They should get you to write their web site. I clicked the link, and after reading the summary on the first page, I still didn't have any idea WTF it was for...

Re:Why? (0, Troll)

zdzichu (100333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597957)

Thats OK, apparently Wayland is not for you. It is for distribution makers to integrate into OS. So dont worry, you should not care about Wayland. Leave it to technically knowledgable people to decide when it should be made available to casual users.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598135)

That's not the point. There are people who WANT to understand it, and getting information from the source is usually better than second hand. That's the GP's point.

Re:Why? (2)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598577)

How does wearing a pair of khaki slacks and penny loafers correlate with ones candidacy for software availability?

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598413)

I did read it and basically understood it, but agree entirely they are writing like a bunch of arrogant nerds trying to look brilliant. I've lunched with a fair number of Nobel Laureates over the years -- my take away point from those hours is this -- really smart people understand the importance of starting with a simple explanation.

Re:Why? (0, Flamebait)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597469)

Compiz is fairly worthless when compared to more advanced video driver features and the ability to remain interoperable with other Unixen.

If I wanted MacOS, I would dust of my Mac and switch it on.

Re:Why? (1, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597555)

Then use TWM. Or hush and go use your dusty old Mac. Some people want eyecandy and the ability to have a dynamic desktop without feeding money into Apple's DRM-happy coffers.

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597775)

He won't be able to use twm if you wayland faggots have anything to say about it. Can't you keep your stupid shit corralled in arch linux?

Re:Why? (0, Troll)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597989)

He won't be able to use twm if you wayland faggots have anything to say about it. Can't you keep your stupid shit corralled in arch linux?

Then step the fuck up and maintain X11 and the X11 compatibility layers for the toolkits that are out there. Don't tell other people they can't move on to newer things because it would inconvenience your lazy ass.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598169)

Then step the fuck up and maintain X11 and the X11 compatibility layers for the toolkits that are out there. Don't tell other people they can't move on to newer things because it would inconvenience your lazy ass.

Good luck moving on when the hardware manufacturers that matter have already said they have no plans to support Wayland. Oh and good luck bringing people in with this attitude.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597743)

Instead of compiz one can say "any compositor whatsoever," where you should understand that virtually everyone using X on Linux currently uses a compositor.

Compiz does not implement MacOS.

This is a long-time pain point but it is at a low enough level that you might totally fail to understand what it's for if your understanding of X is that it provides a dock or panel

Re:Why? (5, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597695)

Benefits include Compiz working much better by bypassing X.

Those who would surrender basic functionality for eye candy deserve neither.

Re:Why? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598003)

By your logic we should be happy with TWM and a bunch of X Terminals. Anything beyond that is purely eye candy, of course. Especially any sort of OpenGL, which doesn't work over the network.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598251)

You are correct - anything else IS eye candy. And many of us ARE happy with TWM and X Terminals - because those are the tools we need to do our jobs.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598331)

Hey, guys, it's called evolution. We keep figuring out how to do things better and better (for the most part).

Go fast or get out of the fast lane.

Re:Why? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598453)

con't confuse 'better' with 'uses lots of new libraries and is so kewl!'

I've lived decades (literally) without desktop clutter. clutter in processes, in screen RE, in library dependance and complex building procedures. you kind of have to have a desktop on the commercial OSs like win and mac, but on linux, you can live really well without any desktop at all. I'm not talking about server mode, either; but a user having a display, mouse and doing local things on it but just not incurring the overhead of what is today called 'desktop'.

as fast as cpus are, they are so much snappier when a zillion other procs dont' have to chat with each other and compete for cpu time.

its not evolution, its complexity because some people seek that out and want to add more. go figure, but a lot of 'engineering' is done for no good reason at all other than boredom or the challenge or the misguided idea that we need to add more complexity and be 'modern'.

some tools just don't need to be re-invented. many mechanical tools have not gone thru change in centuries. why do we ASSUME that software HAS to 'evolve' and change? that's absurd.

Re:Why? (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598403)

Good luck running any modern CAD system without hardware accelerated 3D. X terminals are useless for much of 3D CAD work. The services available on X screens don't offer even the most basic primitives needed to efficiently draw 3D content. To draw quite rudimentary 3D stuff you at least need 2D triangles with interpolated color (gradients). You'd think XRender would offer that, but sadly it doesn't. Never mind Z buffering, texture mapping on triangles, etc.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598377)

you've just described me. I run fvwm 1.4 and I open a term window (whatever is the current default from the distro I have) and I run things. env DISPLAY has stuff and if I run an X app, a window comes up. the window mgr lets me move windows and iconify them. what the hell else do you want/need?

I believe in things being as lean as possible and having to prove or justify any excess. since the old DECwindows days, I've run essentially the same style of window mgr and 'xterms' work basically the same as they did 30yrs ago. you type in them, you can mouse in/out of them, you can scroll them. the paradigm has not changed, really, at all, in all these years.

I cannot justify a 'desktop'. I run a window mgr and windows come up as terms or apps and that's that. runs very fast and bug-free and stays up for months (and years) at a time.

I don't quite get the need to have to add complexity to what does not need it.

(oblig GOML)

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598615)

Especially any sort of OpenGL, which doesn't work over the network.

Wrong! OpenGL works over the network, in fact it was designed to.

Re:Why? (0)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598665)

OpenGL can work over the network, but that support is just not well integrated in linux distributions.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598241)

I have the distinct feeling all of this has more to do with cellphones and tablets than overall graphics support for linux.

Now I'm not arguing that isn't a valid way to go, especially has linux exploded into those markets, not so much with tablets yet, but as a user whose primary desktop OS is linux, compiz does nothing for me either for work, or fun. It was great for 15 minutes when I set it up to see how it worked, but that was it. The actual usefullness of compiz, in my particular working environment of managing IT infrastructure, is close to if not 0.

Guess I'm still missing the bigger picture, even though I've been following this since, oh, 2009!

Re:Why? (1)

manicpop (1342057) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598683)

There's a lot in Compiz that is "useless" eye candy, sure... but there are also a few task switchers and window organizers that I find useful.

Re:Why? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598795)

Why should I care about "basic functionality" that I don't use?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597793)

Downsides include not having any kind of network transparency or remote desktop support. Even supporting something like VNC on top of it would require a lot of internal changes and probably kernel-level support code too, and the developers basically consider this Someone Else's Problem.

Compatability mode (3, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598279)

My understanding is Wayland is not ready for prime-time just yet, but when distros start using it will have X11 legacy support to handle stuff like this.

By putting a 1.0 out there they are telling developers of X11 apps to start planning/testing/adapting.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598593)

Total and utter bullshit. OS X supports X11. Windows can support X11 via small, free add on programs. The same can and will be done for weyland.

Re:Why? (4, Informative)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598269)

As I understand it, X11 is horribly out of date.
It should be clear to anyone that there are some stone-age omissions in X:
- Basic transparency is either an ugly hack that glitches all the time (xcompmgr) or else a fairly extravagant system like compiz.
- Smooth fonts is an extra.
- Multiple displays is an extra.
- There are serious security flaws in areas such as screen locking. See this great series of points [jwz.org] by the author of xscreensaver.
Then, there's all this support for legacy technologies that don't affect 90% of Linux/BSD systems, let alone the potential general market.
All in all, X11 has fundamental weaknesses, doesn't reflect modern usage and is really too big to fix. Legacy support and compatibility are so important that problems can't be fixed.

I haven't been following Wayland too closely, but my understanding is that it will address these issues as fundamentals of the system. I hope it does address each of these issues, because they are important. Performance could certainly improve on X. Let's hope it does with Wayland.
I'm not that familiar with how display servers work either, so correct me if I'm wrong about anything. No need to rage, I'm not trollling anyone.

My prediction is that it will become fashionable to whine about Wayland, lots of people will resist it for a while, but in the end it will be the most suitable alternative and only the truly stubborn and those who need X for some reason will avoid it. See the history of PulseAudio for reference.

Sorry about the identical AC post below. I forgot to sign in.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598623)

Thing is, X on weyland will be relatively trivial to implement, so there's really no reason to fear it.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598455)

IIRC X11 has a lot of redundancy with stuff that's already in the Linux kernel.

Great. How about those of us that run the X server on Mac OS X and BSD boxen? Or run clients from Solaris and AIX servers?

X11 has many deficiencies, but I loved being able to SSH into a box and just run a program without having to futz around with VNC/NX servers and clients: things just showed up like any other program on my desktop. It could get laggy at times, but it was nice to be able to run NetWorker consoles on IRIX machines in another city over the corporate WAN.

Hopefully, if anything comes after X11, it will have similar remove capabilities.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597415)

Because Everyone wants shiny eyecandy GUIs made of pixmaps, and X11 is rather more built for vector graphics than pixmaps, particularly where hardware support (drawing to textures, compositing, etc.) is concerned. There's all manner of hacks to make it work on X11, but one can expect better performance and easier programming with a dedicated pixmap-based rendering server designed for modern graphics cards.

Whether the benefit is worth the cost of a new platform, and of some specific design decisions in Wayland, is not as obvious as proponents like to think, particularly if, like me, you prefer to avoid the eyecandy shit that Everyone must have.

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598189)

As I understand it, X11 is horribly out of date.
It should be clear to anyone that there are some stone-age omissions in X:
- Basic transparency is either an ugly hack that glitches all the time (xcompmgr) or else a fairly extravagant system like compiz.
- Smooth fonts is an extra.
- Multiple displays is an extra.
- There are serious security flaws in areas such as screen locking. See this great series of points [jwz.org] by the author of xscreensaver.
Then, there's all this support for legacy technologies that don't affect 90% of Linux/BSD systems, let alone the potential general market.
All in all, X11 has fundamental weaknesses, doesn't reflect modern usage and is really too big to fix. Legacy support and compatibility are so important that problems can't be fixed.

I haven't been following Wayland too closely, but my understanding is that it will address these issues as fundamentals of the system. I hope it does address each of these issues, because they are important. Performance could certainly improve on X. Let's hope it does with Wayland.
I'm not that familiar with how display servers work either, so correct me if I'm wrong about anything. No need to rage, I'm not trollling anyone.

My prediction is that it will become fashionable to whine about Wayland, lots of people will resist it for a while, but in the end it will be the most suitable alternative and only the truly stubborn and those who need X for some reason will avoid it. See the history of PulseAudio for reference.

The conspiracy aspect (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598197)

Giving it a conspiracy look, one might interpret it as an attempt of the unwashed hordes trying to take over Linux. Instead of going the sane unix-like route of moving graphics into virtual filesystems, like it's done on Plan9, they want to essentially replicate X11, but without its good parts. Wayland is not network transparent. It still needs libraries to be linked with your software. What you get is a bit more gimicky graphics, but you loose a lot of important features.

It's perhaps not quite as bad as the proposed move to binary log files, but still it offers next to no advantage for quite a bit of cost.

Replication of functionality between the kernel and X11 could be elimnated easily, buy building an X11 server that accesses the kernel.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598603)

One problem with X.org is that it has been stagnating. The multiple monitor support has actually gotten worse over the years if you can believe it.

Windows and OS X can seamlessly blend all my monitors and graphics cards together, all running at full acceleration, and all features available. X.org can't do it and has to rely on hacks like Xinerama that break all sorts of stuff so that you end up with a crippled machine.

Then there is stuff like resolution switching, etc. that are all hacks in X.org.

Now it's true all of this stuff could be fixed in X.org if someone would just sit down and do it but the people with the time are kids and kids want new and shiny. Plus they would need someone with skill and experience to do the design and planning but all of those type of people are stuck in the past.

Wayland vs X (4, Interesting)

sick_em (1603731) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597347)

Okay so I understand the whole desire to toss out X and it's extreme amount of legacy code, but Wayland to me seems like even at version 1 will be crippled compared to X. The no network transparency I can handle (just barely), but no apps that require full OpenGL? I've tinkered around with OpenGL ES in the past and it does not seem like an acceptable substitute when you need full OpenGL. Why are distros planning on adopting it so quickly? Are these flaws that normal users would not notice or care about?

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597405)

I can't deal with the lack of network transparency. Sure, you can run X on top of Wayland for now, but once people start writing Wayland only apps that's not going to be a viable way to work anymore.

Here's hoping Wayland flops.

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597511)

Isn't gtk working on remote run ? I imagine similar will happen for qt.

This has the disadvantage of making those projects harder to do, but the advantage that the widgets know more about what's going on than x does, so it could be done more efficiently.

I've found x's network transparency to consistently be letter useful than vnc

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597547)

I can't deal with the lack of network transparency.

Nor can I. Wayland seems to be an attempt to take most of Windows' worst mistakes and push them onto Linux.

Re:Wayland vs X (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598045)

Windows' remoting is objectively superior to X11 in every way (except the licensing nonsense).

Unix's worst mistake = X-Windows

Re:Wayland vs X (5, Interesting)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597571)

This.

Network transparency is huge -- I often need to run graphical installers for commercial software, or run graphical diagnostic software, on systems that live in my machine room, and have fairly basic video cards, and in any case don't routinely have graphical displays attached.

The really-right answer to this, of course, is to separate the display from the the installer and/or diagnostic executable, and connect over a network socket or something, but in practice this doesn't happen. In practice, I connect via SSH with the X session forwarded, and run the graphical app that way.

The loss of network transparency makes remote access much more complicated. It's not lethal, there are things you can do with remote desktop viewers that work, but you end up hacking together a rickety, insecure new solution to what used to be a solved problem -- it really doesn't feel like progress.

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597633)

The loss of network transparency makes remote access much more complicated. It's not lethal, there are things you can do with remote desktop viewers that work, but you end up hacking together a rickety, insecure new solution to what used to be a solved problem -- it really doesn't feel like progress.

I don't think running a VNC server bound to 127.0.0.1 with port forwarded through a ssh tunnel (ssh -L5900:localhost:5900) is much more complicated neither insecure.

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597815)

As I understand it, you can't run Wayland at all without having a recent GPU that supports it right now because it relies on hardware OpenGL support in order to actually be able to send graphics from the Wayland applications to the compositor. So VNC is probably a no-go too.

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597855)

Really? That's not any more complicated than 'ssh -X'? It works anywhere and everywhere, without any additional software.

Re:Wayland vs X (3, Informative)

agwadude (666995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597939)

I don't think running a VNC server bound to 127.0.0.1 with port forwarded through a ssh tunnel (ssh -L5900:localhost:5900) is much more complicated neither insecure.

Is this a joke? Here are some of the missing steps in the VNC "solution":

  • Starting the VNC server, with all the right arguments, on the remote end
  • Making sure applications on the remote end will display on the VNC server (e.g. setting your DISPLAY variable)
  • Starting the VNC client on the local end, with all the right arguments
  • Determining what port number to use - if there's another VNC server running already on 5900 (on either end) you would conflict - this would definitely happen in practice if you have ssh sessions to several systems open at once
  • Securing the VNC server against unauthorized access if there are other users on either the remote or the local end

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

ebh (116526) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598643)

I work remotely almost all the time, and I routinely access remote systems in all the normal ways (VNC, remote X, RDS, etc.)

> Starting the VNC server, with all the right arguments, on the remote end

$ vncserver -geometry WxH

> Making sure applications on the remote end will display on the VNC server (e.g. setting your DISPLAY variable)

VNC servers are pretty good about starting GNOME (or whatever) sessions; $DISPLAY is set correctly by default.

> Starting the VNC client on the local end, with all the right arguments
> Determining what port number to use

All you need is the right server/port number, which you're given when you start the VNC server.

> Securing the VNC server against unauthorized access if there are other users on either the remote or the local end

You can set a password for your VNC session that's different from your Unix (or whatever) password.

IOW, this is no harder than RDS, and over WANs/VPNs, you tend to get much better performance than pointing $DISPLAY back to your local machine.

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598685)

Right.. Get back to me when I can do this with VNC:
1. Run matlab -nodesktop in screen on remote server
2. Let it run some calculations for a few days or so
3. Connect with ssh -X and set the DISPLAY variable
4. Plot the results

I can with X11 network transparency.. VNC is all or nothing - either I connect to an entire desktop session and waste bandwidth on sending pictures of a bunch of characters or I don't get any graphics at all.

Re:Wayland vs X (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598051)

The network transparency argument is a CANARD. X *is already crappy at network transparency*. Try using X over even a decent broadband connection and prepare for agony. Oh.. try running a GUI application remoted over X on one device like your PC and then ship the same application over to your cellphone or notebook without having to close & restart the application.. YOU CAN'T. Just because Wayland is primarily directed to actually letting Linux take advantage of modern GPU hardware does not mean that X's mediocre at best network transparency needs to hijack all future development. Wayland can implement network transparency *on top of a good display system* instead of trying to hack a display system *on top of sub-par network transparency*.

Before I hear the litany of responses about how wonderful X's remote features are: Why does NX even exist if X is already perfect???

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598067)

I think a better solution would be for commercial software developers to stop assuming every system you install their software on has a graphical display available.

It's even more insulting when you're installing a command line application, and the installer is graphical. WTF? And many times it's implemented in a very bloated manner, with a JVM that takes 30-40 seconds to start.

CLI based installers are the best. Not to mention they're likely a lot easier to write. The best of both worlds, yet commercial developers don't go there. Arrgh.

Loss of network transparencey (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598519)

Its more than more complex, its makes the entire thing totally useless and a REAL bad idea.

Great if they want to clean things up, but to go a completely different direction at this stage of the game is ludicrous.

X works. Don't break it.

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598655)

Network transparency is huge -- I often need to run graphical installers for commercial software, or run graphical diagnostic software, on systems that live in my machine room, and have fairly basic video cards, and in any case don't routinely have graphical displays attached.

I can run an X server on Windows and do this using Putty just as I can under Linux while running X 'natively'. I don't see how this would be a real problem.

On the other hand, Wayland will make Linux desktop use more capable. It'll be faster, and being able to do something like RDP will be more tenable. Additionally, Wayland is better suited to serve as a general display manager for all ranges of Linux, not just the desktop - this is something which X fails at due to its size and complexity, neither of which is needed or desirable on, say, Linux. The lack of a display manager like Wayland is why GTK did a frame buffer at one point for embedded use and why Android doesn't use X or its toolkits at all (in part), IIRC.

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

dmbasso (1052166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597587)

Don't you prefer VNC? Every time I had to run a graphical application remotely I first tried through X but ended up using VNC.

Btw, last week I tried to run firefox from a remote machine (ssh -X) and it seemed to have opened a new instance of the local running firefox (I'm not really sure, I was just trying to do something quickly and didn't have time to verify wtf happened)... if that was the case, was that the expected behavior?

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597677)

VNC sucks ass. The only benefit it provides is that the latency is lower than X, but there are other alternatives for forwarding X sessions which don't suffer from the same latency problems.

And yes, Firefox sucks donkey ass for opening a new copy locally on my machine when I try to start it on a remote machine. Whoever designed in that behaviour was a fscking retard; if I'm trying to start Firefox on a remote machine it's because I want to run the fscking thing on the remote machine, not locally.

We're NOT talking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597761)

the ordinary VNC protocol here. (I wish people would stop saying VNC in this context.) The trivial remoting solution for Wayland is VNC-like, that is "screen scraping" (or window scraping) -- just like Remote Desktop which is the only way of doing remoting which doesn't suck utterly.

Re:We're NOT talking (3, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597835)

Remote Desktop on Windows seems to be somewhat more intelligent then just "screen scraping".

Similarly, VNC on Linux can be like this.

But by far the best solution I've encountered is x2go, which is based on NX, which notably just caches and removes some of the overhead of straight networked X.

Surely, the better answer here would be to tackle that problem - implement a well behaved network protocol.

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597825)

Whoever designed in that behaviour was a fscking retard; if I'm trying to start Firefox on a remote machine it's because I want to run the fscking thing on the remote machine, not locally.

Or, you know, you could just do a "firefox --help", and find out there's a "-no-remote" switch...

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597713)

VNC on unix is an X server. No X apps, no VNC

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597811)

It's not like there's only one VNC server. There's x11vnc, which connects to a running X server and serves the entire display over VNC. I'm not certain that will work with Wayland's X11 compatibility layer, but it should (giving you access to any Wayland-native apps), and if it doesn't... well then it's not really X11 compatible, is it?

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597971)

firefox --no-remote will open a new instance. use -ProfileManager if the existing profile gives you probs. Handy for double login on the same webapp.

Back to topic, the trend is the dumbing down of the PC. Not the interface. the PC as a whole. Wayland is handy to further that objective, so it will be a success even if it kinda sucks. Or so my model of the universe predicts.

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597925)

Sure, you can run X on top of Wayland for now, but once people start writing Wayland only apps that's not going to be a viable way to work anymore.

Hardly anybody is writing X apps and hardly anybody will be writing Wayland apps, instead people will continue to write Gtk+, QT, HTML or SDL applications and network transparency can happen somewhere between those and Wayland.

Also network transparency in X sucks. It's far to slow, cumbersome and inflexible for todays world. It works ok in simple situations where you have dedicated X terminals with a limited set of apps, it doesn't work for situation where you might want to move a videoplayer or game from your desktop to your TV (can't move windows between displays, video streaming is far to slow).

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597979)

There's no reason why the networking protocol needs to be built into the display server, and no reason why a display server that does not have its own networking protocol has to do without network transparency. From what I've seen, Wayland is flexible enough to allow for networking in multiple ways.

Re:Wayland vs X (5, Insightful)

Burdell (228580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597473)

Okay so I understand the whole desire to toss out X and it's extreme amount of legacy code

Why? What part of "legacy code" automatically means "toss [it] out"? The Linux kernel is over 20 years old, and the core BSD code is older than that. Do you also want to just throw them out and start over from scratch because they're old? Now, I agree with you that something that is less functional than its predecessor should not be adopted as its replacement, but I hate the assumption that "old == replace from scratch" that seems to be common in software development (especially in the open source/free software community).

I have tools in my toolbox that belonged to my grandfather, and my father has tools from his grandfather (100+ years old). We still use them because they work. We have other tools that we've bought to perform other tasks, but the old tools are not replaced just because they are old.

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597681)

People like being associated with the new shiney, since all the core work was done for X11 years ago. It is the same phenomena with politicians writing laws that cover things that are already illegal.. attach your name to a gripe as having come up (or being part of) the solution. Though I suspect part of it is over the years the flavor of the month programming has changed enough that a lot of people look at older code and go 'hey, this does not look like the twue programming we did in school! it must be wrongz!', so the fact X11 was written before the current fads is enough that some people will want to rewrite it for that alone.

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597755)

Throw them out? Yes, some people do. They have for a while. You can take the success of their intentions for either a demonstration of their task being unwanted or a sad commentary of entrenched resources. And no, I do not agree that something that is less functional than its predecessor is a less suitable replacement.

Sometimes simplicity and streamlined is better. Your analogy to tools is misplaced, the old tools work, and hopefully have few obstacles. But imagine if you had some three flanged hammer, but just needed one or two. Taking off the third might be worthwhile.

Re:Wayland vs X (4, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597791)

X was designed for how video cards worked and what they could do decades ago. Support for newer features is hacked on. The kernel may be 20 years old, but the video drivers have been changing all the time. Wayland is targeted at modern hardware, and aims to be simpler to use and perform better.

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597877)

Why can't we do this without losing important features? Features that actually do something useful instead of just look pretty?

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598083)

I'll disagree slightly: Looking pretty is a feature (or rather, looking ugly is a bug). It's just that other features are more important.

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597805)

A hammer is not the same as a codebase. Over time the code will grow and things will not stay clean, people leave and those taking care of it will not know how parts work so they code around it. After awhile some projects become a nightmare to work on.

Re:Wayland vs X (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597883)

What you don't understand is that Linux might be 20 years old, but what you call "Linux" today is almost incomprehensible compared to the original Linux other than both being mostly UNIX-like. The same cannot be said of X which is still adhering to a basic protocol that is over 20 years old and was designed long before anything that remotely resembles a modern GPU had come into existence. That's why large portions of the X server are *already being bypassed* by modern programs to give you halfway decent performance. Did you know that the large majority of graphically intensive applications (like everything using Cairo) are basically just shoving bitmap images across the X server now instead of trying to use the ancient and convoluted drawing commands that were cool in the 1980's but haven't been useful in a long time? X needs to go away.

    Oh... and don't get me started about network transparency either. X's network transparency SUCKS over anything other than a gigabit LAN *and* you can't disconnect from X and resume the same GUI application on another device like any decent remote GUI system should allow (e.g. why the hell can't I start a remote GUI program on my PC then shift the same program it to my smartphone and keep working on it? The reason is that X's network protocol is *not* the be-all end-all that many people think it is). If X's network transparency was so awesome then NX would never have come into existence.

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598159)

> "Linux" today is almost incomprehensible compared to the original Linux

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

You probably meaned incomparable.

Re:Wayland vs X (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598221)

No I meant incomprehensible... just use your time machine to pull Torvalds 1991 into today and have him stare at the 3.3 kernel code sources ;-)

Re:Wayland vs X (2)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597905)

I think that when people talk about "legacy code", the word "legacy" isn't just supposed to mean "old", but also, "outdated or poorly written". The concept is that old programs may have been written to support hardware or situations that don't exist anymore, or else were anticipated to exist when the software was written but never materialized. Or they have features/functions that never really worked as hoped, or were not properly written or optimized at the time. This "legacy" code isn't necessarily imagined to be the oldest code, but just code that, if you were writing it again from scratch, you wouldn't want to include.

So for some people, yes, there's an "out with the old, in with the new" mentality. For others, there's just the idea, whether it's a reality or a misconception, that there is probably old code in there somewhere that should be removed or replaced.

Re:Wayland vs X (5, Insightful)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597927)

Why? What part of "legacy code" automatically means "toss [it] out"?

He didn't say everything that's legacy should "automatically" be thrown out. But X has a huge amount of cruft nobody uses anymore. Nobody actually writes towards Xlib, they use a toolkit. Nobody uses the orignal font functionality and descriptors, the bitmap fonts, the pixel-based rendering primitives, the image system that has no less than three different ways of storing an image (ximage, xpixbuf, xpixmap), that distinguish drawable and non-drawable images, depending on where they're stored. Et cetera. It's not thread-safe either.

Nobody is using the core X functionality, it's all outdated and largely replaced. The one redeeming feature of X - the network transparency, isn't that 'transparent' (again, the API distinguishes server-side and client-side stuff). Nor does it support modern stuff like drag-and-drop, and cut-and-paste has always been inconsistent (highlight-middle-click not being the same as the desktop or application's cut-and-paste buffer). Since nobody's using the core libraries anymore, the network transparency in X mostly consists of it passing events and bitmaps back and forth, something a simpler protocol like VNC can do just as well if not better.

In short, people don't need any of the things that are unique to X, and the things people actually use X for can be done better without it. It's a big load of cruft that exists for backwards-compatibility purposes only. Which is why it's entirely the correct decision to dump X11 and relegate X11 support to a compatbility library, so we don't need to have stuff held back and complicated by these legacy designs.

Re:Wayland vs X (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598475)

Okay so I understand the whole desire to toss out X and it's extreme amount of legacy code

Why? What part of "legacy code" automatically means "toss [it] out"? The Linux kernel is over 20 years old, and the core BSD code is older than that. Do you also want to just throw them out and start over from scratch because they're old? Now, I agree with you that something that is less functional than its predecessor should not be adopted as its replacement, but I hate the assumption that "old == replace from scratch" that seems to be common in software development (especially in the open source/free software community).

Yep, it's what jwz called Cascade of Attention-Deficit Teenagers [jwz.org] development model. And it's not the whole F/OSS community -- this disease is specific to the Johnny-come-lately Linux community. It's the flip side of CatB, and it's not pretty -- I go back and forth on whether it's worth it all or not.

Re:Wayland vs X (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598727)

Because I think that with 1+ GHz multi-core computers being the norm, I ought to be able to flip the "on" switch on my car, boat, thermostat, whatever and have the thing INSTANTLY cold boot and be ready for use. I don't think I should have to wait for the system to spin up 100 services I don't care about, probe ISA bus, the PCI bus, etc. or a myriad of other things a "stock" runs everywhere including on some retarded 1997 Compaq portable distribution has to do.

There's a lot of value to be had by rearchitecting software for what today's hardware offers and throwing out the legacy hooks that make software harder to maintain, debug and optimize.

If your distro offers cold-boot to functioning GUI (i.e. you can drive, change the station, turn on the AC, whatever) in less than 5 seconds, than ignore me. But if it doesn't, then you advocating making millions of people wait for their device just so you can be happy that your software runs on some old piece of shit hardware no one but you and two other nerds care about.

Leave legacy support to old distributions. Let's lighten the load.

Source links? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597367)

Any non-Phoronix links available for this information? Say, the Linux Foundation site maybe?

Wayland is a huge step backwards. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597517)

To start with: the best wayland-related comment of all time appeared right here on slashdot:
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2699657&cid=39198273

Second, please note that all comments in this post are regarding unix or linux as a desktop operating system as opposed to HPC or server-based usage.

Now to move on: Currently the only wayland compositor implementation is weston. Weston requires kms, which makes it pragmatically linux-only, and it also requires udev, which makes it *actually* linux-only. To compound the problem, the developers are talking about integrating it with systemd. When asked how that will affect porting efforts, developer response was along the lines of "just port systemd to bsd."

Wayland is meant to replace x.org entirely, but it simply replaces the overcomplicated xorg ecosystem with an overcomplicated mess of build-time dependencies while removing all of the features that have kept x11 on top. To make the whole situation an absolute joke, x11 integration is regarded as the most important part of wayland's code.

Fedora and Ubuntu want to switch to Wayland entirely. This is another in a series of awful interface decisions that have lead to things like Linux Mint and Scientific Linux creeping up and taking userbase away from what have been powerhouses. What I can't figure out is why no overarching community has arisen among the 'conservative' linux users. There's clearly a lot of backlash to the ridiculous things going on at freedesktop.org -- xcb, wayland, systemd, journald, et al -- but there seems to be no alternative standards committee coalescing... and that will be the death of linux as an alternative for power users.

Re:Wayland is a huge step backwards. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597753)

What I can't figure out is why no overarching community has arisen among the 'conservative' linux users

I see what you did there.

Re:Wayland is a huge step backwards. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598291)

So what you're saying is that the "innovative" open-source community should throw up firewalls to resist change at all costs... especially when it comes to changing what is undeniably one of the weakest elements in the Linux desktop experience? All in the name of sub-par "network transparency" that is worse than a sick joke over WAN connections and that has fallen behind other network transparency solutions? Wow... I want to live in your brave new world of waiting 10 seconds for responses from remoted X-terms and steadfastly refusing to even consider using modern graphics hardware in an efficient manner! You sir are a visionary!

Re:Wayland is a huge step backwards. (5, Insightful)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598437)

To start with: the best wayland-related comment of all time appeared right here on slashdot:
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2699657&cid=39198273 [slashdot.org]

Second, please note that all comments in this post are regarding unix or linux as a desktop operating system as opposed to HPC or server-based usage.

Now to move on: Currently the only wayland compositor implementation is weston. Weston requires kms, which makes it pragmatically linux-only, and it also requires udev, which makes it *actually* linux-only. To compound the problem, the developers are talking about integrating it with systemd. When asked how that will affect porting efforts, developer response was along the lines of "just port systemd to bsd."

This is a prime example of Linux developers doing "Embrace, extend, extinguish" on Unix. "We're dominant - let's lock everything down to our solution, and force anybody else to play catchup."

It may not be particularly intentional to damage other systems - having Linux blinders on, it's easy to see "All the world's a Linux machine", just like it used to be "All the world's a VAX" and "All the world's a Windows machine" - but it does the same kind of damage as if it was intentional.

Eivind.

I don't understand (3, Interesting)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597575)

How can X11 support be "basically ready to go" but window management only be "implemented as a hack"? Isn't window management the very essence of the task?

Re:I don't understand (4, Informative)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597611)

To be clear, for Wayland to be "ready to go," it should manage X11 windows. The X11 implementation itself would not (and should not) handle window management, any more than X.org does.

Re:I don't understand (2)

eobanb (823187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597779)

In Unix/X parlance, the 'window manager' is distinct from, and higher-level than, the 'windowing system'. XFree86 and X.org are display servers like Wayland but have also taken over the job of being a windowing system. In contrast, examples of window managers are twm, openbox, compiz, etc.

Re:I don't understand (1)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597943)

Right. Having used at various times in the last fifteen years Irix, Linux, OpenBSD, NetBSD, whatever that thing SCO had was called, and Solaris, I'm well aware of the distinction. My point is that while Wayland may support the X11 protocol, unless Wayland can also manage those X windows, it has "X11 support" only in a technical sense and not in any meaningful one (by analogy: Windows NT's POSIX support).

Giant Step Backwards (5, Insightful)

agwadude (666995) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597649)

One of the features that always distinguished X from other display systems like Mac and Windows has been network transparency. You can ssh to another Linux system, start an X application, and that X application will appear on the system you ssh'd from. This is immensely useful and evidence of a well-thought-out design, but it's an afterthought to Wayland. They say they might be able to render to a VNC server, but VNC works like crap and is full-desktop forwarding rather than individual window forwarding.

It's extremely ironic that when X was created in the 80s they recognized the importance of distributed systems and network transparency, but now it's 2012, the Internet and the cloud is king, yet network transparency isn't a core feature.

All this because you can't cross-fade when switching VTs in X or have a "rotating cube" animation [freedesktop.org] (see "Is wayland replacing the X server").

Re:Giant Step Backwards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598483)

"One of the features that always distinguished X from other display systems like Mac and Windows has been network transparency."

That feature is not a requirement for the GUI in my car or boat. I'm working with a "major company" (read: Multi-billion $) that is going to use wayland as part of the software stack for their embedded GUI. Seamlessly repeating the car's dashboard via an ssh tunnel is worse than useless--it's a scary privacy thought.

Wayland gives them a way to composite multiple OpenGL apps without the overhead and legacy crap of X.

Re:Giant Step Backwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598679)

You can run seamless apps on RDP and ICA, and have been able to do so for at least 10 years now.

Re:Giant Step Backwards (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598689)

I don't understand how or why you think Wayland will prevent you from running X apps remotely. You can do this in Windows using Xming without a problem. What it might allow you to do is use the full desktop remotely without full bitmap transfer (ala RDP).

UGH. (2)

b5bartender (2175066) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597749)

A shaky 15-minute amateur video of a powerpoint presentation? WHY

Re:UGH. (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597823)

For a more authentic "Blair Witch" / "Cloverfield" documentary vibe.
No comment on whether either film is an apt metaphor for the projects themselves.

neckbeard rage! (0)

not already in use (972294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39597765)

I'm always entertained by diehard linux folks who simultaneously desire greater adoption of linux on the desktop while wildly opposing any actual steps to make it a reality.

Re:neckbeard rage! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39598225)

I'm always entertained by diehard linux folks who simultaneously desire greater adoption of linux on the desktop while wildly opposing any actual steps to make it a reality.

You are talking about two totally distinct groups as if they were one and the same.

I don't care about Linux adoption by the general desktop or phone using public, I just want a powerful OS that puts me in control of my machine.If NeckbeardOS gives me more control, I will happily use that.

thoughts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39597931)

If anyone actually read up on wayland, they would see that you can plug RDP or VNC or whatever you want in for remote access. SSH in an forward VNC over the session, or RDP over the session. Same effect. In my opinion, this effectively negates the argument about network transparency. I find that X over a WAN connection is completely useless anyway.

X has a lot of legacy code, and a lot of layers. A new display server/interface is what is needed to get the linux desktop up to performance par with Windows7 and OSX. I'm not trying to start a thread war here, but X without a compositor feels very old and X with a compositor feels very laggy. Wayland is supposed to solve this and still provide for backwards compatibility with apps requiring X.

Re:thoughts (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598583)

VNC or RDP does not replace the network transparency of X. it would just be a terrible kludge to get around lost core functionality.

The problem Wayland attempts to solve (1)

Ponder (3878) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598061)

is to provide display management for linux devices that generally do not require network transparancy such as phones and tablets and which are resource constrained so the bloat of a full xorg stack is unacceptible. Clearly Ubuntu which has designs on becoming the tablet king is embracing this - Fedora also has an interest because it is the basis of the olpc, raspberry pi and other lightweight device spins. The obvious simple way to support network transparency is to run an X server as a Wayland app and this works fine so backward compatibility is easy to provide in fact Gnome is adding westin support into mutter so apps will use wayland if available and X if not. Going forward adding network transparency nativly to wayland is a fairly trivial and can be implemented more efficiently than X - according to the developers.

So:
Plusses: smaller leaner and simpler code base, backward compatibility for legacy X apps, possibilty of network transparency not based on what was state of the art 30 years ago. Tight integration into linux.
Minuses: linux only (possibly), some pain in the transition possible while support is added to distros. Developers currently focussed on solving specific problems for Tizen.

   

Quite exciting times ahead (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598473)

That isn't the term i would use.

tl;dr? 60 FPS on an embedded GPU! (4, Interesting)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39598687)

Discussions of Wayland on Slashdot tend to be all about a lack of network forwarding or missing features, so I think I'll share some of the positive things I expect to see from Wayland:

  • Fewer CPU cycles spent in the graphics stack, shortening time to sleep
  • Less memory used by the graphics stack
  • More efficient compositing, meaning less memory bandwidth used in memcpy routines, lowering DRAM power and greatly improving speed in certain scenarios
  • A graphics stack that's fast enough to get 60 FPS scrolling on an embedded GPU

I'm not aware of any X.org implementation that's gotten 60 FPS on an embedded GPU. That's not me trying to knock X.org, say anyone should stop using it, or say people need to "upgrade" to Wayland before it's feature-complete. That's me recognizing the reality of X.org not being "one size fits all" in a world where embedded or mobile Linux (think Android) outsells (and out-deploys) Linux on big core 10 or maybe 100-to-1.

Disclaimer: A big part of my job of performance optimization of applications on Linux running on mobile devices.

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