We live in time of Linux graphic revolution and it’s not a scenario of popular blockbuster. X Window System from the 1980’s with old architecture isn’t good as 10 or 20 years ago. Wayland provides the modern speedy protocol without tons of legacy code and make the Linux desktop better and faster. Time to testing the most popular Linux desktop environment on Wayland. If you have interested working experience with Wayland – I’m will happy to read it in the comments.
Many of peoples think that Wayland has a similar client-server architecture with X Window system. Wayland specifies the communications between a display server (compositor) and clients. Wayland it’s only a protocol and most operation on desktop environment like a move and resize window, virtual workspaces and many others performing by compositor – Weston, KWin (KDE), Mutter (GNOME) etc.
The another popular myth – “Wayland is not ready”. First release of Wayland was published in 2012 and today it’s stable. All problems in software and desktop environments support, not in Wayland.
Weston is the reference implementation of Wayland compositor and written by Wayland developers. He’s ideal for the first acquaintance with Wayland and look at the window manager with minimal configuration and can be run inside a X session. Weston can be useful for geeks and advanced users, the typical option for desktop environment such as font size, background, display resolution available for editing in the configuration file.
No serious bugs were found in test drive. Several application have a problem with hiding and moving window – for example, several GTK+ based applications can be resized with a special button to 70-80% instead 100% of workspace. Copy, paste and cut text work OK on applications based in one toolkit, but you can’t paste text between the Qt- and GTK-based applications. By the way, fast work and minimal resources can be a good choice for old or slow hardware.
Verdict: good, 4/5.
GNOME developers was the one of the pioneers in Wayland porting to traditional desktop. Text manipulation, tiling and window management working without issues. Several things can be unexpected for typical user: context menu appears outside of the application window. Small cosmetic bugs are available, but they can’t seriously disturb. Wayland session also was planned to be default in Fedora Workstation 24.
Verdict: perfect, 4.5/5.
I can’t run the latest KDE Plasma 5.5.4 with Wayland session and guess Wayland support it’s now broken; my opinion based on Plasma 5.5.3. Problems with text manipulation: text from the Kate editor can be copied to Konsole terminal, in reverse order it’s doesn’t work. Tiling working good, but many applications crashes in Wayland session. During the test drive Plasma was crashing several times. Some applications and widgets can’t start or working incorrectly. Sad that KDE looks definitely the worst in this review and now not ready to work with Wayland.
Verdict: bad, 2/5.
The developers did a great job over the last few releases for Wayland support and I must send them a big respect. Of course, size of the Enlightenment software is small in comparison with KDE or GNOME. Visually all works nicely if you use only EFL-based software, the most of Qt/GTK+ application crash after start. Text manipulation works only with EFL-based software; no problem with tiling and focus of the cursor. Sometimes I was seen unexpected freezes, but they can be no-Wayland specified issues.
Verdict: nearly good, 3/5.
Progress is better than I expected and hope this work will continue. If you want to try Wayland maybe the better candidates is GNOME, Weston and Enlightenment. Your help with bug reports will be highly appreciated. Personal thanks to the RebeccaBlackOS, Fedora Project, and all desktop environment that was used in this review.