Yesterday there was quick, airborne coverage of the GTK+ Wayland back-end moving forward for GTK+ 3.0. Not only was the back-end merged, allowing the GTK+ tool-kit to begin working on this alternative display server that's quickly garnering attention, but it also works with the new GTK+ multi-backend capabilities.
While busy discussing Sandy Bridge Linux support, it's been brought to my attention en route to Las Vegas that the Wayland back-end for GTK+3 has been merged!
Development work towards the major Clutter 1.6 stable release has been progressing nicely within the Clutter 1.5 development branch. These recent development snapshots have brought performance improvements, a GLSL generation back-end, greater usage of OpenGL FBOs, new API functionality, and even a Clutter Wayland back-end. A new development release of Clutter (v1.5.10) is now here and it brings an evdev input back-end.
Wayland has received quite a number of new patches in the past month from a variety of different developers, including the ability to run Wayland off a Linux frame-buffer, but now this weekend it has picked up another interesting feature: the ability to run another Wayland compositor instance within itself. There's now patches out there for running a nested/session compositor of Wayland on top of an existing Wayland Display Server that in turn is running on a X11/DRM compositor and communicating with the hardware.
Wayland has experienced a surge in development activities from new developers since it was announced Ubuntu will deploy the Wayland Display Server with patches coming in from various developers that address issues from bugs to letting it run on a Linux frame-buffer. Wayland up to this point has been licensed under the MIT / GPLv2 code licenses (depending upon the component), but Kristian Høgsberg has now decided to change the licenses before it's too late and complicated.
Besides needing to get the various tool-kits and other libraries ported to run atop the Wayland Display Server, another requirement limiting the adoption of this X11 Server alternative so far has been the specialized graphics requirements. From the beginning, Wayland was designed for GPU drivers that support kernel mode-setting (KMS), Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) buffers, and OpenGL ES, among some other smaller requirements. Originally only the Intel Linux driver would work, but since then the various branches needed to support Wayland have been merged to their mainline code-bases and it's possible to run Wayland with the open-source ATI Radeon and Nouveau drivers too. But those using the proprietary ATI or NVIDIA drivers have not been able to run Wayland nor those people utilizing the VESA driver or any of the other obscure graphics drivers that lack any of the needed GPU driver capabilities. This though has now changed as it's been proved possible that Wayland in fact can run off a Linux frame-buffer.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the Wayland Display Server since it was announced Ubuntu is going to deploy their Unity Desktop atop Wayland. The new Wayland mailing list has become lively with end-users and developers and there's more people now trying out this experimental lightweight display server that leverages OpenGL ES, kernel mode-setting, and the Graphics Execution Manager, among other recent Linux graphics technologies. Most people though still haven't seen or used Wayland, but here's a short video showing it off.
In recent days we have been talking a lot about Ubuntu's plans to deploy the Wayland Display Server and the new Wayland activity, NVIDIA's plans to not support Wayland, and John Carmack's interests to support Wayland, but that isn't the only solution in the world. Red Hat's Adam Jackson has addressed the Fedora plans to support Wayland.
While the discussion surrounding the Wayland Display Server and Canonical's plans to deploy Ubuntu atop Wayland continue to be ongoing within our forums (here, here, and here) and elsewhere, some new technical capabilities and plans for Wayland have been discussed. Here's two features that Wayland is set to have that is not currently supported by the X.Org Server.
John Carmack, the co-founder of id Software and lead developer of the Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake games, among others, is apparently interested in Wayland. Yes, actually the Wayland Display Server. He just used his Twitter account to share that he wishes he had the time to contribute to it and then linked to Mark Shuttleworth's blog post announcing Ubuntu will be switching to Wayland with their Unity desktop.
Last week Mark Shuttleworth shared that Ubuntu will begin shipping the Wayland Display Server with their Unity desktop in a future release (likely around Ubuntu 11.10 it will become an experimental part of their desktop stack, but a PPA repository of Wayland for Ubuntu is already being worked on now). While being a supporter of Wayland and the first to cover this display server project two years ago when it was just in its infancy, this even caught me by surprise and a bit of a shock that Ubuntu, the leading desktop Linux distribution, planned to begin shipping support for it so soon.
Mark Shuttleworth's announcement this week that Ubuntu will eventually dump the X.Org Server for Wayland has resulted in a great deal of media coverage for this emerging display server project that up until now was really only talked about and covered by Phoronix from the point in 2008 when we introduced the world to Wayland. While there's still many months of work ahead before all of the pieces of the Linux desktop stack will be ready for a Wayland Display Server by default, it seems many people are already taking a look at Wayland.
This is going to be short as I have another flight to catch to San Diego for the next week [if anyone wants to meet-up to discuss Linux, Phoronix, or the Phoronix Test Suite in the area, contact me]. Anyhow, Mark Shuttleworth just sent over an email saying that they will be deploying the Wayland Display Server with their Unity Desktop -- that's replacing the GNOME Shell by default -- in a future Ubuntu release!
Just earlier today we reported that Wayland is becoming compatible with Nouveau so that users of this open-source NVIDIA driver can begin using this alternative, lightweight display server that leverages the latest Linux graphics technologies. About the only caveat right now is the needed Nouveau page-flipping support, which is here for some hardware but not in the mainline Linux kernel yet and the page-flipping hook-up for the newer NVIDIA GPUs is coming soon. Kristian Høgsberg, the creator of Wayland, also made another announcement today.
Chia-I Wu, the open-source developer who previously worked to bring Mesa to Android devices and worked on the new EGL state tracker, is now working for LunarG and has just published a patch-set that enables the Nouveau graphics driver to run the Wayland Display Server.
The Wayland Display Server continues moving forward and is nearing the point of usability by enthusiasts and those interested in easily trying out this display server that leverages the latest and greatest Linux graphics technologies.
Last week in Toulouse I learned just how much interest Intel has in Wayland and the active role they are playing in its development. Wayland and related work to bring it up is not limited to just Kristian Høgsberg, who switched from being a Red Hat employee to Intel during Wayland's development, but Jesse Barnes and other Intel OSTC X developers are also contributing to different areas. Jesse Barnes has been working on the Qt support within Wayland and that's hit a new milestone.
While the Wayland Display Server is not being discussed officially in any of the talks at the X.Org Developers' Summit in Toulouse, it has been mentioned a few times during other talks and can commonly be heard in discussions between Intel and Nokia developers outside of the event. At the pre-event I also discussed Wayland for a short time with Kristian Høgsberg, the project's founder, where it was learned Intel may deploy Wayland in MeeGo Touch, among other facts. Wayland was also brought up by Kristian during his talk on libxkbcommon, which is a common XKB library for keyboard input that can also be utilized by Wayland.
Yesterday there was a gathering for a few hours among X.Org developers for those who arrived early into Toulouse. There were a number of topics discussed over those few hours while drinking Paulaner (though unfortunately, no interviews were yet recorded), including Wayland with Kristian Høgsberg.
While Kristian Høgsberg is now likely on his way to Toulouse, France for the 2010 X Developers' Summit, over the past day he has been working on some minor changes to the Wayland Display Server that he has now been working on for a while to leverage the latest Linux graphics technologies like kernel mode-setting and is something we initially reported on back in 2008 when it began.
The work going into Mesa the past few months that will eventually be released as Mesa 7.9 continues to get more exciting. There's many improvements and new features in Mesa and Gallium3D for the 7.9 release and the latest feature was brought this morning by Kristian Høgsberg with merging support for the EGL_MESA_drm_image extension.
Yesterday we reported on the state of Wayland with the project's founder, Kristian Høgsberg, showing the initial GTK+ 3.0 tool-kit running under this interesting display server. Besides the lack of tool-kits being fully ported over to run under Wayland, another stumbling block for advancing Wayland's development and usage has been the relatively high barrier to entry for simply getting Wayland to run. Fortunately, that barrier is slowly being lowered.
Earlier this month the Wayland TODO list was updated -- a month after it received some summer love -- and now we some new information from the founder of the Wayland Display Server, Kristian Høgsberg.
For those interested in the interesting Wayland Display Server, Kristian Høgsberg has updated the project's TODO list for what still needs to be tackled with this display server that's much simpler and cleaner than the X.Org Server by leveraging newer Linux graphics technologies throughout the open-source stack.
Last week we openly asked the question if and when will X12 emerge to replace X11, which was met by a variety of responses. Some view the Wayland Display Server as being a potential successor to the current X11 / X.Org Server, but others don't give it much credit seeing as it's not too actively worked on -- well, directly, but it leverages a lot of work actively going on with the Mesa and kernel DRM. The last time the Wayland Display Server received new commits to its code-base was back in March, but that changed this weekend.
Beyond working towards the X Server not running as the root user and the X.Org/Mesa/Kernel upgrades planned for Ubuntu 10.10, it may also be easier to test the Wayland Display Server in this Ubuntu "Maverick Meerkat" update due out in October.
Last month we reported that the Wayland Display Server was losing its Eagle-specific bits and today this dependence migration from Eagle to Mesa's EGL stack has been confirmed.
We first talked about the Wayland Display Server back in 2008 as a project that was conceived by Kristian Høgsberg to build a lightweight display server around the modern needs of the Linux desktop while leveraging all of the latest and greatest components in the Linux graphics stack (e.g. kernel mode-setting) and doing away with all of the cruft that has built up in the X.Org Server over the years. Wayland still is very much under development, but it hasn't received much traction yet. Part of the reason why is that as it's riding on all of the bleeding edge software bits with some of the code not even being in the mainline code-bases, there are a few hurdles that interested users first need to overcome.
The Wayland Display Server hasn't received any new commits to its code repository since early October, but now it has received some new work. In particular, Wayland is now able to take advantage of the KMS page-flipping ioctl that was recently pushed into the Linux 2.6.33 kernel.
A few weeks back there was the Linux Plumbers Conference and one of talks was hosted by Kristian Høgsberg where he talked about his Wayland project. We were the first to publicly talk about the Wayland Display Server when it was in its very infancy at being an alternative to the X Server. Wayland leverages kernel mode-setting, DRI2, and other newer Linux technologies to provide a much simpler implementation than running a full-blown X Server (though you can run multiple X Servers inside Wayland) and its code-base is remarkably small. Wayland is also designed around the modern-day needs of the Linux desktop with compositing and ensuring that each frame is rendering perfectly with no tearing, etc.
457 Wayland news articles published on Phoronix.