Aspects of the Linux desktop change all the time, but some components have been around for decades. Take the X Window System (mainly known as X). Work is underway to make a replacement that is faster and more secure. That replacement is Wayland.
Wayland has been around for a long time, and many Linux-based operating systems have adopted it as the default display server protocol. If you haven’t yet, there’s a chance soon. Here it means using Linux with Wayland.
What is waland
Wayland is a protocol that tells programs how they should appear on your screen, depending on your actions (such as moving a window or clicking a button). Technically, Wayland is not a replacement for X Server by itself – Wayland only defines the way in which such performance servers should talk to those applications.
To serve as Wayland Performance Server is known as a Wetland compositor, depending on a third party. Examples include Mutter and Kevin (GNOME and KDE Plasma Desktop respectively). Wayland Performance Server strives to simplify communication, making future development easier and faster.
Like many future technologies, there is something beginner to work with via Wayland. X has been around for a long time and is built continuously. This means that Wayland has a lot of catchups (with display servers that implement this). But for now, it is very easy to know some things.
Avoid GTK + 2 or QT4
Most Linux apps that you interact with day to day are written for one of two graphical toolkits: GTK + and Qt. These frameworks serve as clients of display servers, which ask for things to be drawn on your screen. However, these requests need to be understood first, and it is up to the toolkit to do this.
As a result, only certain types of programs can actually run on the Wayland desktop. For example, GTK + 3 programs can also run properly. So can they be written in Qt 5 (toolkit is based on desktop desktop).
That being said, if you try to open, say, the Qt 4 application, you will have a fair chance of running it. Wayland does this by running X server behind the scenes, listening for apps he can’t understand. However, this may cause higher memory usage and slightly lower speeds. Also, there are some things that just cannot do at this time.
Some apps are incompatible with wayland
Wayland and X are designed in different ways, so some apps that work with X will not be able to work only on Wayland.
Consider screen color changing apps like redshift and f.lux. These apps filter the blue light from your display based on the time of day. They use XR extensions, such as RandR, which provide an easy way to ask X to change the display of your screen.
While Wayland provides the means to recreate this capability to some extent, it is up to each Wayland compositor to actually implement it. This means that where a desktop environment can support Redshift (such as the GNOME Night Light feature above), that functionality is not available elsewhere.
You can expect to run into similar issues with screen recording software. As a security feature, a walland display server prevents the screen from being recorded. This is not to say that screen recording is fundamentally impossible on Wayland. Developers are working to implement the feature in a different way.
Composing is a must
Compositing is a technique that helps prevent screen tearing and artifacts. This is usually done by keeping copies of your display in memory with the help of your graphics card. That way, even if the apps stop responding, your display server will still have something to work with. Compositing also provides window animations and shadows.
Wayland is designed to be a lot more efficient than X, making this process mandatory. X has composing as an optional feature through an extension called Xcomposite. But because of how it is implemented, it takes a little longer than Wayland.
That being said, compositing can cause some problems. Compositing occurs due to poor performance of programs like games. In X, most desktops stop compositing when an app goes full-screen. But many Wayland compositors still need to implement this. If you are interested in using graphics intensive programs on a Wayland desktop, this is important to keep in mind.
Nvidia graphics cannot work with wayland
In particular, if you are using Nvidia’s proprietary graphics driver, Wayland probably won’t work for you. This is related to the above composing problem. For the process to work, your graphics driver must talk to Wayland compositors in a certain way.
This problem can be solved in two ways: Nvidia drivers implement GBM, or Wayland Compositors implement eGLStream. Currently, Nvidia is indifferent in pursuing the former solution.
How to use violand
You can search for Wayland in your distro’s repository, log out from the desktop and select Wayland when logging back in.
Fedora was one of the first distortions to ease the trend and has now been running Wayland by default for a few years. Fedora is known for using the latest technologies that the Linux desktop has introduced, while also being quite useful. But Fedora is not alone.
Why didn’t more distortions make the switch? Many are waiting for some more issues to be resolved. Many people expect to use Nvidia’s proprietary graphics driver to achieve the most optimal gaming experience. Some want to record their screen to create podcasts or stream videos online.
Given that performance servers are not something most of us notice, distros are not keen on presenting such noticeable problems in return for benefits, while the actual ones are largely behind the scenes. And if you try to fix things using a remote desktop, well, it’s just a kind of thing that may or may not work under Wayland.