The Review of Wayland Progress In 2016: Weston, GNOME, KDE, Enlightenment

The Review of Wayland Progress In 2016 – Part 2: Multimedia, Web, Games, Office, Programming Tools

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.

The Review of Wayland Progress In 2016 – Part 2: Multimedia, Web, Games, Office, Programming Tools

Read more:

KDE Plasma and KDE Apps on Wayland Review and Video: The First Plasma Wayland Live Image

Life with Wayland – Fedora Rawhide: Real Experience And List of Native/XWayland Applications

Ring – The Free & Open Source Text/Audio/Video Messenger As Alternative To WhatsApp/Telegram/Facebook Messenger: Review And Video Demonstration

NayuOS Review – Free & Open Source Alternative To Chrome OS With Node.js And Without Google Services

  • Steven Stern

    I have only one application in Fedora 23 that blocks my adopting Wayland — Shutter, the screen capture tool. It totally bows up the desktop environment. If there’s a similar tool that runs under Wayland, I’d switch over.

  • Roberth Sjonøy

    KDE has just been through a major rewrite, no suprise that it is so far behind GNOME, while GNOME’s last rewrite happend in 2011, of course they have should be further ahead.

  • Arik Kfir

    In Fedora 23, the Wayland session is significantly slower than X. Although I couldn’t find any actual bugs, the slowness is a definite blocker for me (running on Intel Haswell mobile graphics)

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      It also depends from your video card. On Intel HD 3000 with Fedora Rawhide & GNOME 3.19 the Wayland session is visually faster than X.

  • Leszek

    The KDE Plasma in this video is more than a month old. Actually it is a version from December. (I saw that video after the KDE Wayland first ISO appeared)
    It is not the state of Plasma currently. So the title state 2016 I wrong.
    There is an ISO available from February 2016. Why not testing that?

    The same goes for e20. From the video I can see that this is quite an older build. I am not sure it is a build from this year.

    If you want to test current state in 2016 then please use their software from 2016 😛

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      Thanks for tracking, I understand your position. The latest KDE Plasma shows a black screen after start of Wayland session and I must include the previous version.

      Check the video at 29:32 – E20 build; last verion from official website – 0.20.5.

      Let me clear – I’m not interested in manipulation, I’m interested in software testing.

  • Rok Kralj

    For me, the serious blocker is middle button paste.

  • Jzn


    I believe this deserves mentioning: an implementation of i3 (subjectively the best [tiling?] window manager) in Wayland. Project is showing great progress, but more people is always better for open source of course.

  • Ricky Goldsmith

    I can’t make out your English much. But what did you mean here ?

    “Copy, paste and cut text works OK, but you can paste text between the Qt- and GTK-based applications”