Ubuntu moving towards Wayland

Przemek Klosowski przemek.klosowski at nist.gov
Wed Nov 10 14:21:24 UTC 2010

On 11/09/2010 01:12 PM, Dennis Jacobfeuerborn wrote:
> X will run as a Wayland client. That means all applications that support X
> will be able to run remotely without change. Since QT and GTK both run on X
> and virtually all apps out there are programmed to use QT and/or GTK for
> most people nothing will change in the next couple of years.
> Now let's assume Wayland is really successull. In that case people will
> want to get rid of X altogether and then you'd also lose the remote app
> support of X and in that case you obviously would need a replacement for
> this so apps can run remotely on an X-less Wayland desktop.

The argument seems to be that toolkit libs like Qt and GTK+ will shield 
us from major rewriting of apps. However, this implies that toolkits at 
some point will switch from the X mode to Wayland mode, with the 
resulting sudden loss of network transparency.

I suppose one could imagine toolkits offering a dual backend: native 
Wayland, and X that would be invoked by e..g. a commandline switch if
remoting was required. This seems a little heavyweight and awkward in 
both deployment and maintenance.

You seem to imply that there's an alternative design involving some sort 
of shim between Wayland and the kernel that could capture and remote the 
GUI inputs and outputs. Can you point to any discussion of how it'd work?

Finally I found it ironic that Wayland was designed to decrease the 
number of layers and roundtrips in X, but at least initially in the 
important use case of user app->toolkit->X API->Wayland it actually 
increases the number of layers. All the same, it's probably the only 
workable approach, so my observation above is more of a cheap shot than 
a serious anti-Wayland argument, but still it is a little funny, 
reminding me of the observation that oftentimes when people try to heal 
a religious schism, they end up creating a third sect :)

Of course if it turned out that remoting can be provided  by a 
Wayland-Kernel shim, this would not be an issue.

> What's puzzling is why people are willing to form hardened opinions on
> things they apparently don't understand. It's baffling.

Unfortunately this seems to be the popular attitude: c.f. attitudes in 
politics and other things like economy, climate science etc etc.

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