Now, I really like Wayland, and it’s definitely better than the mess that is X11

BUT

I think the approach to Wayland is entirely wrong. There should be a unified backend/base for building compositors, something like universal wlroots, so that applications dealing with things like setting wallpapers don’t have to worry about supporting GNOME, Plasma, Wlroots, AND Smithay (when COSMIC comes out). How about a universal Wayland protocol implementation that compositors are built on? That way, the developers of, say, wayshot, a screenshot utility, can be sure their program works across all Wayland compositors.

Currently, the lower-level work for creating a compositor has been done by all four of the GNOME, KDE, Wlroots and Smithay projects. To me, that’s just replication of work and resources. Surely if all standalone compositors, as well as the XFCE desktop want to, and use wlroots, the GNOME and KDE teams could have done the same instead of replicating effort and wasting time and resources, causing useless separation in the process?

Am I missing something? Surely doing something like that would be better?

The issue with X11 is that it got big and bloated, and unmaintainable, containing useless code. None of these desktops use that useless code, still in X from the time where 20 machines were all connected to 1 mainframe. So why not just use the lean and maintainable wlroots, making things easier for some app developers? And if wlroots follows in the footsteps of X11, we can move to another implementation of the Wayland protocols. The advantage of Wayland is that it is a set of protocols on how to make a compositor that acts as a display server. If all the current Wayland implementations disappear, or if they become abandoned, unmaintained, or unmaintainable, all the Wayland apps like Calendars, file managers and other programs that don’t affect the compositor itself would keep on working on any Wayland implementation. That’s the advantage for the developers of such applications. But what about other programs? Theme changers, Wallpaper switchers etc? They would need to be remade for different Wayland implementations. With a unified framework, we could remove this issue. I think that for some things, the Linux desktop needs some unity, and this is one of these things. Another thing would be flatpak for desktop applications and eventually nix and similar projects for lower-level programs on immutable distros. But that’s a topic for another day. Anyways, do you agree with my opinion on Wayland or not? And why? Thank you for reading.

  • ExLisper@linux.community
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    9 months ago

    So? What features essential for average Linux user are missing in X11? If the code is so bad I’m sure users struggle to use it. Do they?

    So what that those are the same devs? If X is bad code it would mean we should probably look for other devs to do it, right?

    • Gamma@programming.dev
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      9 months ago

      features

      • mixed refresh rates
      • (not GNOME) mixed VRR/nonVRR
      • (not GNOME) Better mixed DPI?
      • (not yet, experimental in gamescope) HDR support
      • (not yet, experimental in KDE) persistence through compositor restart

      It was the inability to add features like mixed refresh which caused Xorg devs to push for a new protocol. Otherwise it would be yet another series of janky patches to break assumptions made in a 40 year old protocol.

      Other devs have been working on it. Valve’s contributions to wlroots, KDE, and gamescope can’t be understated.

      • Gamey@feddit.de
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        9 months ago

        I admire your effort but there are a lot of people in the open source community and especially on Lemmy that just don’t want to understand it, I try not to argue with them but they are fucking everywhere with their trashtalking of various amazing open source projects!

        • Gamma@programming.dev
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          9 months ago

          I was curious about what they’d say next. Their argument is “most users don’t need more than Xorg, so it’s ‘silly’ to expect investment in Wayland”.

          I found some agreement in “as more people need Wayland features, investment will grow”, especially with the Valve and KDE/wlroots/gamescope. Also Automotive Grade Linux embracing libweston.

      • ExLisper@linux.community
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        9 months ago

        None of those features are essential for average user. None of them are even ‘nice to haves’ for like 90% of users.

        • Gamma@programming.dev
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          9 months ago

          They are becoming more essential by the day. HDR and VRR is supported by just about every graphics card for the last 5 years, and displays which support both can be found for $200 or less. Valve had a reason to add HDR support to Gamescope/Steam Deck; it is a highly requested feature.


          I will agree with you on one point: Xorg is not bad code. Xorg is an awesome project, and has developed and changed to the needs of users exceedingly well for decades. But X11 itself is tech debt. The first ten years of Wayland were spent paying that debt off (while simultaneously continuing Xorg development).

          If the features aren’t what you need, then Wayland wasn’t built to support you today. But you might find yourself in 6 years looking at a gorgeous HDR display which works out-of-the-box on your favorite Linux distro thanks to Wayland.

          • ExLisper@linux.community
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            9 months ago

            They are becoming more essential by the day.

            Exactly, they are becoming essential now. They are still not essential and definitely were not essential 14 years ago. That’s all I’m saying. Expecting that everyone will invest a lot of effort to support a project that does not deliver any value to vast majority of users is silly. 14 years later the need is slowly growing so the support is materializing. That should be the approach from the beginning: build something people need.

            • Gamma@programming.dev
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              9 months ago

              14 years later the need is slowly growing so the support is slowly growing

              Yes! I agree wholeheartedly. Adoption has been slow because Wayland did not meet the needs of most people more than Xorg did. Cinnamon isn’t moving any time soon because the value-add isn’t enough for the average desktop user.

              But…

              build something that people need

              People have needed HDR and VRR for years. HDR is essential for professionals in video and image editing. They needed Wayland years ago, and it was being built with them in mind, not just the average desktop user in 2012.

              Not every feature is used by every user of that software. I used X-forwarding over SSH once, ever. It did not add any value to me. SSH forwarding adds no value to the average user either. But it is essential to someone.

            • Static_Rocket@lemmy.world
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              9 months ago

              If you’re going to marginalize a subset of an already marginalized community then nothing will ever be enough. What kind of an argument is this anyway?

    • zwekihoyy
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      9 months ago

      any form of security in the display server would be nice. X is incredibly insecure with no trivial means of locking it down.