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X Window System

X11 – Wayland

The link references provide a short overview on the interaction between X server & X clients without going into excessive details. Already in 2010 the slowly arise of Wayland signaled the end of X11 – at least in this comment. Additionally, an insight into operating modes of the X Window System – without overwhelming the reader ⁽¹⁾. A short historical summary for the 30th anniversary found its way in an article by Heise ⁽²⁾. And if there is greater interest in this topic, you can jump into a deeper introduction regarding X11 without being overtaxed ⁽³⁾. Generally speaking is X11 a very different beast. An intellectual differentiation from Wayland is only possible if you have dealt with the topic on a conceptional basis.

  1. heise: c't → Kommentar: »Die Woche: Das Ende von X11?«
    Date: 2010-11-11 | Author: Dr. Oliver Diedrich
  2. heise: iX → »Das X Window System wird 30«
    Date: 2014-06-20 | Author: Jürgen Seeger
  3. WikiBooks → »Guide to X11:/Introduction«
    Last edited: 2013-10-02

Linux distributions with X11

But the swan song was a little ahead of time, as this latest decision of Canonical shows regarding their LTS version of Ubuntu ⁽¹⁾.

  1. LinuxNews → »Ubuntu 18.04 LTS kehrt zu Xorg zurück«
    Date: 2018-01-26 | Author: Ferdinand Thommes


First references of Wayland in articles 2008 ⁽¹⁾. Some components that were separated under the display server protocol X11 are accumulated under Wayland. This may cause irritations regarding the understanding of the functionality of window managers under Wayland ⁽²⁾. At this point it may help to have a look at the Wikipedia article, cause it is visually well-prepared where the Wayland compositor is seated and how it interacts with the applications ⁽³⁾. The Wayland architecture integrates the display server, window manager and compositor into one process. This is visualized and outlined here in a very focused way ⁽⁴⁾.

  1. H-online → »New Wayland X server looks to how a modern desktop works«
    Date: 2008-11-06 | Author: D.J. Walker-Morgan
  2. Wayland → »FAQ«
  3. Wikipedia → »Wayland (display server protocol)
  4. Wayland → »Wayland Architecture«

Applications using XWayland

How applications connect to a Wayland compositor, if they are still adapted to X11? 2014 they got rid of this problem and integrated an X server named XWayland. This one allows to run applications under Wayland ⁽¹⁾. This is illustrated here ⁽²⁾.

  1. Heise: News → »Xwayland führt X11-Anwendungen unter Wayland aus«
    Date: 2014-04-08 | Author: Thorsen Leemhuis
  2. Wayland → »X Clients under Wayland (XWayland)«

Remote desktop with Wayland

For administrators the topic network transparency has some relevance and under  this aspect Wayland was no option till now. But the remote desktop under Wayland is on its way. In this context it is necessary to have a look at the multimedia framework PipeWire to comprehend the current status ⁽¹⁾. A short jump into the wiki of PipeWire, where are relevant functions are summarized ⁽²⁾. This article is focusing on the aspect remote desktop via PipeWire ⁽³⁾. The Git repository is located here ⁽⁴⁾. The list of bugs is from the article of Daniel Aleksandersen. With this the missing pieces will be connected. As long as this issue is not closed it helps to have a look at the development on a regular base ⁽⁵⁾ ⁽⁶⁾ ⁽⁷⁾.

  1. LinuxNews → »Multimedia-Framework Pipewire soll PulseAudio ersetzen«
    Date:2017-09-19 | Author:Ferdinand Thommes
  2. GitHub: PipeWire/pipewire → Wiki → »Home«
  3. → »Remote desktop making a comeback in GNOME on Wayland«
    Date: 2017-11-26 | Author: Daniel Aleksandersen
  4. GNOME: GitLab → Jonas Ådahl / gnome-remote-desktop → »GNOME Remote Desktop - remote desktop server«
  5. Bugzilla: GNOME → »Add screen cast and remote desktop support«
    Reported: 2017-06-26 | Bug: 784199
  6. Bugzilla: Red Hat → »Review Request: gnome-remote-desktop - Remote desktop server for GNOME«
    Reported: 2017-08-21 | Bug: 1483499
  7. Bugzilla: GNOME → »sharing: Add Wayland screen sharing support«
    Reported: 2017-08-21 | Bug: 786565

Linux distributions with Wayland

One of the early adopters regarding the transition to Wayland was Fedora. Easily traceable. The GNOME desktop is not a possible option as in many other distributions. It is what defines Fedora as a workstation edition. And GNOME? Intermeshes more and more with Wayland ⁽¹⁾. 2014 experimental option for GNOME under Wayland ⁽²⁾. 2016 Wayland as default for Fedora Workstation ⁽³⁾. Other distributions have followed.

  1. GNOME: Wiki → 3.9: Features → »Port GNOME to Wayland«
    Last edited: 2013-09-19
  2. Fedora: Wiki → »Changes/Wayland«
    Last updated: 2014-05-05
  3. Fedora: Wiki → »Changes/WaylandByDefault«
    Last updated: 2016-08-23

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