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Why I embraced Wayland

published on 2021-03-07T00:35:00Z, last updated on 2021-03-08T02:55:00Z

Some of the folks that knew me from around 2014 know that I wasn't impressed with Wayland and really didn't see the point of it. X11 worked well enough for me and I didn't want to switch to something else, it felt like reinventing new stuff just for the sake of it to me (like systemd and pulseaudio; the fuck are those doing on in the first place…). And I disagreed quite badly on it, sorry for folks related to wayland. Hopefully less and less folks will do this "politically conversative" opinion and actually wonder about the reasonings.

Screenshot of firefox chunks ghosting over the terminal on my NVidia laptop running on XOrg

The motivation was because using X11/XOrg (specially with NVidia) gave me some years of:

And that made me just done with X11 and it's design of being similar to a Unix where everyone is root… so basically not a Unix. If you find yourself saying that X is the Unix way: What one thing is X doing and what is it doing well?Daniel Stone
By the way, if you're that kind of people which is like "X11/Xorg never threw me a bug" you're likely just ignoring the elephant in the room in the first place or not seeing it as a bug (this is why I usually don't care about statements like "$thing just works for me" and "$thing never broke for me", there is high chances of it being delusional or clueless).
Plus with actually informing myself about the wayland protocol design rather than just seeing that you can rotate windows in weston (which is labelled a reference compositor but should be taken as a demo) and that GNOME is doing it's normal thing of trashing everything in it's way, specially good things like an awful teenager.

But at some point I gave Sway an honest try on my NoVidya-plagued laptop, the one where the screenshot at the begining of this article comes from and I actually ended up with less bugs, it was still a mess because of NVidia having trashed the proprietary driver so much that nouveau, an open-source garage-hacker alternative that they're unfriendly with worked better, you know the adage: Fuck You NVidia.
At least now that I replaced that badly aged laptop (Spectre/Meltdown was the final blow) with a full-AMD one (yay, no proprietary drivers), I don't have X11 kind of issues nor NoVidya kind of issues.
Oh and my phone already was using Wayland (in fact it doesn't have X11) since 2015~2016 as I switched to SailfishOS because Android is a system that loves to trash itself. I maybe just didn't knew or ignored that fact as it's not as desktop/laptop. Wayland works really well on it btw, and X11 never made sense to me on handhelds, which is yet another point for Wayland.

All that said:

See More

  1. Wayland misconceptions debunked
  2. "Write a single library to handle all input devices, it'll be easy" they said… (46 minutes 53 seconds): Talk about a linux-induced burden but relates a bit to Wayland on Linux and FreeBSD
  3. The Real Story Behind Wayland and X - Daniel Stone ( 2013) (45 minutes 34 seconds)
  4. wlroots: Pluggable, composable, unopinionated modules for building a Wayland compositor; or about 50,000 lines of code you were going to write anyway.
  5. sway: i3-compatible (with few extras) Wayland Compositor
  6. wio: Wayland compositor for Linux & FreeBSD which has a similar look & feel to plan9's rio
  7. hikari: Wayland compositor inspired by CWM
  8. Wayland Book by Drew DeVault

And yeah a lot of that list is linked to wlroots, feel free to pass on links from others, I know MATE is planning to switch to Wayland but it's still mostly for the future and I don't know how well wayland works in KDE (hopefully quite well).

Note: I usually read replies to my articles but I'm not going to bother if you're going to just throw the typical clueless wayland-hater bile one can see on internet. I will probably answer honest questions though. Hopefully that will save some people's energy and time.

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