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Ubuntu 13.10 Will Not Ship Mir By Default 165

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the remember-when-ubuntu-switched-to-wayland dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu 13.10 is due for release later this month, and the Ubuntu developers were planning to replace the native X Server with Mir/XMir as Canonical's next-generation Ubuntu display server. However, they have now decided Mir will not be the Ubuntu 13.10 default on the desktop over the XMir X11 compatibility layer suffering multi-monitor issues and other problems. Canonical still says they will use Mir for Ubuntu Touch 13.10 images and remain committed to the Mir project."
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Ubuntu 13.10 Will Not Ship Mir By Default

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  • If they continue to have problems perhaps they will go back to the idea of supporting the Wayland project. There's hope for Ubuntu Gnome [ubuntugnome.org] yet.
    • by h4rr4r (612664) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:00AM (#45012805)

      Or maybe they can stick with X and replace unity with XFCE.

      XFCE don't fuck it up, all you have to do is stay yourself.

      • by LoRdTAW (99712)

        Just use Xubuntu then. Since ubuntu 11.something I have liked the interface less and less. Then that unity/gnome 3.0 mess came about and I switched to XFCE until Mate brought back the good ol days of Gnome 2.

        • Yeah, I switched to Xubuntu a while ago and haven't looked back. Part of it was that my 10" eeepc (my only computer running linux) just couldn't deal anymore with the bloat, but I also didn't like the non-bloaty changes.

          Next step was going to be the xfce flavor of mint...but Xubuntu has been working just fine so I have had no reason to switch. I don't think I am set up on a LTS release, so I might make the switch to mint when the updates stop. The computer is getting pretty long in the tooth though...

          • I don't think people realize how much overhead some of those tiebacks to facebook/twitter/etc (for tracking/commenting features) add to their site.

            Have them block the social recommendation crap from resolving using a hosts file, and they'll realize when they see how much faster pages load. I think APK is on to something.

            • I haven't looked into it too much, but can you block this crap but still be able to use the services that are connected to them? (i.e. can I block facebook/twitter integrations in hosts but then still use facebook/twitter directly without issue?)
      • Re:There's hope yet (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jones_supa (887896) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:25AM (#45013003)

        Or maybe they can stick with X and replace unity with XFCE.

        XFCE don't fuck it up, all you have to do is stay yourself.

        A big thumb up for XFCE from me. It runs fast, is relatively bug-free, and has plenty of configurability. However a little tweak which I like to do is turn off the default compositor and replace it with Compton. It is slick, does not suffer from tearing problems, and offers some extra eye candy with fade in/out and shadow effects.

        This kind of setup runs as fast as Windows, which is very fast these days. However on that Linux setup you will also get lower memory consumption, I was hovering around 150MB when in an empty desktop. A Windows desktop grabs about 500MB (you can crank that slightly down by disabling some services, but it is usually not worth the effort).

        • I've switched to XFCE as well. Absolutely no problems. I was up and running at my original Gnome2 spped with half an hour. My only issues thus far have been with 13.04. A lot of the XFCE applets stopped working (as they were actually wrapped Gnome 2 applets), and there were themeing issues.

          Personally, I don't care what Ubuntu do anymore. I've spent the last 4 upgrades fixing things they break for no reason and getting rid of horrible UI redesigns. I'm not waiting to see what they've broken in XFCE this time

        • Compton also works nicely with Lubuntu and the Fedora LXDE spin
        • by Teun (17872) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @11:57AM (#45014869) Homepage
          (First find your bike) and then you should give KDE a go.

          Low on memory, totally configurable, really nice well integrated applications and an interface many people will understand right away.
          As a bonus it has excellent support and future planning.

          • Also, the Qt toolkit is excellent.
            • I managed, (after a lot of late night coffee and bad language) to get Kubuntu 13.04 installed on an old PowerMac G5. What amazes me is that even though there isn't even 2D graphics support, KDE Live Plasma Desktop (thanks to Qt) still manages beautiful, smooth desktop effects - even transparency, with little cpu overhead. I have run Enlightenment on PowerPC machines in the past and this was also pretty nice on the eye-candy.

              For me the bigger mistake that Canonical made was to drop official support for Unit

          • by armanox (826486)

            For something lighter in the QT world, RazorQT is fantastic. I run Razor + KDE apps.

            • by Teun (17872)
              I absolutely concur on Razor being an excellent shot at a light QT based desktop.
      • by wjcofkc (964165)
        While I agree XFCE is is pretty wonderful, I have been using Gnome 3.10 for awhile and it really is pretty incredible and very stable. I think it would make for a more appealing modern desktop experience. Past that, TWM would be an improvement over unity.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          I can find a single appealing modern desktop.

          Samsung reinvented tiling windows for android! In 2013 they are selling this as a big new feature!

    • by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:02AM (#45012819)

      Gentoo user here, just to side-step any Ubuntu fanboy responses.

      Why are two competing display server stacks considered a problem in this case?

      Over the years we've had countless situations like this
      The various desktop environments, package management systems, initialisation systems, boot loaders, audio stacks, etc. etc.

      Often seen as the benefit of open-source software.
      The ability for multiple software components to exist that fulfil the same function. May the best man win.

      Innovation and progress comes from each project trying to out-do it's rivals.

      Often these competing solutions have a single distro or company behind them, driving development forward.

      Why is Ubuntu's new display server, competing against X.org and Wayland any different?

      • by somersault (912633) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:25AM (#45013007) Homepage Journal

        Because fanboys.

      • by wertigon (1204486)

        It's good as long as they use a common interface.

        KDE, Gnome, XFCE and Unity all use the X display server right now.

        However, with this move, some of those will use Wayland, some will use MIR, and some will be able to use both.

        As long as the parts are interchangable - great. But as soon as interfaces change, it's generally bad.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Competition is great where you can run multiple choices in parallel, it's not so great when you can only pick one. I don't know who the heck considers the ALSA/OSS/aRts/PulseAudio/JACK FUBAR a benefit of open source, I see that more as a bad case of not invented here, reinventing the wheel and lack of cooperation, my gold standard for things like that is Linux the kernel which has kept it all together and still makes great progress. The display server is another one of those mutually exclusive choices, it's

        • by the_arrow (171557)

          You're mixing your audio solutions. ALSA and OSS are the drivers. aRts and PulseAudio are audio servers and APIs for applications to play sound if the don't want to use the drivers directly. And JACK is to chain multiple applications together in an audio-processing chain.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > Why are two competing display server stacks considered a problem in this case?

        Device drivers. The display server isn't just another piece of user level software. It drives one of the key bits of hardware in the entire system.

        It can quite literally mean the difference between a machine being very respectable or being a doorstop.

      • Because Ubuntu has no real reason to develop Mir, and it's a huge waste of resources.
        Most of the *nix world is backing up Wayland as a replacement for X, and Cannonical, with no actual justification, went it's own way to develop Mir. This means porting things like gtk, qt, etc, etc over to Mir. It also means that porting software to/from Ubuntu is now a bit more complicated.

        While there are thing where you benefit from variety (ie: music player, paint app), some things just add overhead, with no actual benef

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash (241428)

      I'd rather they stick with X.

      Yeah, yeah, cue all the "X11 is crufty and nobody needs all those awesome features it has". Sure. Right. One question: what do you think Wayland and Mir will look like in five years, especially if you're leaving out highly desirable features from day one?

      • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:12AM (#45012893) Journal

        One question: what do you think Wayland and Mir will look like in five years, especially if you're leaving out highly desirable features from day one?

        Dude seriously. The latency of X is killing me. Have you seen, the signals have to make 4 extra IPC calls before they're seen by the application. By my count that adds at least 40ms of latency.

        Oh hang on a mo.

        Looks like the turbo button isn't pressed and my 386 SX/25 was only running at 4MHz.

      • Re:There's hope yet (Score:5, Interesting)

        by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:48AM (#45013231)

        Yeah, yeah, cue all the "X11 is crufty and nobody needs all those awesome features it has". Sure. Right. One question: what do you think Wayland and Mir will look like in five years, especially if you're leaving out highly desirable features from day one?

        The problem is that X11 doesn't have "awesome features". It has a critical path which acts as a bottleneck and a bunch of crap that nobody uses any more. And increasingly it has a bunch of extensions trying to work around the framework's deficiencies which reside in their own processes and increase the render and network latency.

        So whatever form Wayland takes the chances are it'll be a damned sight more maintainable than X11.

        • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @10:00AM (#45013381) Journal

          It has a critical path which acts as a bottleneck

          Bottleneck to what? High performance rendering has been in the X server for ages now. It gets a direct path to the GPU when such a thing exists.

          and a bunch of crap that nobody uses any more.

          My god the horror. That old line drawing code from the 80's. Sitting all alone, stable and debugged in some source file somewhere. And paged out on disk taking up no resources if it's really not being used.

          And increasingly it has a bunch of extensions trying to work around the framework's deficiencies

          It's amazing, really. In any other system updating the API to have new features is considered a good thing. The bias against X is so strong that even this is taken as a negative.

          which reside in their own processes and increase the render and network latency.

          WTF? The extensions are part of the X server and reside in the X server. If you're talking about the input latency to the compositor then you're full of crap. The IPC latency on a 10 year old Linux desktop is down in the microseconds. You won't notice the 4 extra IPC calls.

          So whatever form Wayland takes the chances are it'll be a damned sight more maintainable than X11.

          Maybe. But the thing is which I find mildly disturbing is that while X11 has many, many defincies, the Wayland folks seem to enjoy making up straw men and picking on things which are easily refutable.

          As I pointed out here and in another post, the latency thing is one of the big lies they keep propagating. Yes it exists, but it is so small that it is negligable. So not a lie, more a half truth which is far more dangerous since it's as deceptive but harder to refute.

          If Wayland is better, it should be better on its merits.

          • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @11:03AM (#45014173)

            Maybe. But the thing is which I find mildly disturbing is that while X11 has many, many defincies, the Wayland folks seem to enjoy making up straw men and picking on things which are easily refutable.

            You do realize that "the Wayland folks" and the X11 folks are the same folks, right? Perhaps you should give this a watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIctzAQOe44 [youtube.com]

            • by Patch86 (1465427)

              The Wayland folks were the X11 folks. X11 doesn't have any folks anymore.

              With a cynic's hat on, Wayland is the new pet project of the guys who used to do X11, and they'll move heaven and earth (including smearing X11) to get people to adopt their shiny new product. It is against their interests for anyone to claim that X11 doesn't need wholesale replacing, or that the replacement should look different to how Wayland looks.

              (With the cynic's hat removed- I honestly don't have an opinion. I'm not close enough

            • You do realize that "the Wayland folks" and the X11 folks are the same folks, right?

              Yes, I certainly mean that. This is what's so disengenuous. They know X11 well enough to know the claims that they are making are very, very dubious. This is one of the things that's so disappointing in the whole affair.

              Don't forget it was also the X11 (and now Wayland) folks who removed the thing to kill active grabs on the grounds that it "shouldn't" be needed. Very user hostile move that.

              For goodness sake, X is badly in n

              • by armanox (826486)

                I'm of the opinion that it was time for X12, not a replacement.

          • X's deficiencies are in its architecture rather than any noticeable performance issues. In many ways its similar to the whole pulse audio thing. The code is going to be much better, provide better capabilities, and introduce a bunch of annoying bugs and other issues along the way.

          • by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @11:18AM (#45014371)

            My god the horror. That old line drawing code from the 80's. Sitting all alone, stable and debugged in some source file somewhere. And paged out on disk taking up no resources if it's really not being used.

            Yes the horror. It's junk which must be maintained and tested and impedes development of new functionality.

            Maybe. But the thing is which I find mildly disturbing is that while X11 has many, many defincies, the Wayland folks seem to enjoy making up straw men and picking on things which are easily refutable.

            They're not straw men and you didn't refute them so much as pretended that the brokenness didn't matter. Many of the people supporting Wayland are former X11 developers fed up with having to work around broken design. There are some good technical articles describing what is wrong with X11 such as this one [phoronix.com].

            • I concur! The ditch of X11 is more political than technical. X11 has become so entrenched within itself that the notion of dropping all of the old crap that gets in the way from making good drivers, is hard to fathom.

              X.org does not equal the X developers alone. X11 was good while it lasted, but it was high time to start developing something for a new generation of developers and devices. X could have been that, but the inertia within the group to change anything was just too much for devs to deal with.

          • [Old X11 cruft is] paged out on disk taking up no resources if it's really not being used

            Not if your computer doesn't use a paging file. (It's common for handheld devices not to use one because of NAND flash wear considerations.) And not if the old X11 cruft happens to have been placed in the same 4 KiB page as a heavily used part of the code.

      • by MtHuurne (602934)

        Which highly desirable features are you referring to?

        In case you meant network transparency, X11 doesn't have that anymore either. Sure, you can run xterm remotely with decent performance, but as soon as you start using client-rendered fonts (the only way to get anti-aliasing), gradients or lots of images, performance of X11 becomes so slow that the networking can no longer be considered "transparent". Overall you'll probably get better performance from VNC than from X11.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jedidiah (1196)

          You have no clue what you're talking about.

          VNC is a joke. It can't even manage simple things across a LAN. On the other hand, X can handle media intensive applications under the same conditions.

          X isn't designed well for the WAN but it's an easy enough problem to solve.

          So X runs better across the Internet than VNC does across the LAN.

          Regardless, the X approach to network transparency is now the norm rather than the exception. If you gut Linux in this regard you are putting it at a disadvantage and setting it

          • What's with you?

            You come into all these threads claiming you do stuff and people keep telling you you don't. You need to start ignoring the flawed evidence of your eyes and accept the fact that X is bad.

            Just accept it.

            It will make the transition much easier.

      • It's not about feature, it's about X being unmaintanable, huge, and impossible to understand.
        This video [linux.org.au] is extremely insightful, and quite worth watching.

    • by Tailhook (98486)

      There's hope

      I really don't think there is hope. Ubuntu/Canonical/Shuttleworth have shown a level of stubbornness and indifference that I don't believe can be explained as a function of any rational thought process. Distrowatch, for what it's worth, has Ubuntu in the #3 spot behind Debian itself during the last six months. Mint is coming up on x2 Ubuntu's hits.

      Ubuntu hasn't hit bottom yet. It is going to have to fall much further before these people get the message, apparently.

      The best thing we can do is continue th

  • Christ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:02AM (#45012823) Journal
    Was it pure failure,or today's sick fascination with 'mobile' that would lead a 'modern-replacement-for-X' project to have "multi-monitor issues"?

    I can be sympathetic to the weirdness sometimes experienced in that area with classic X, given that it's a hoary design from the age when 'multi-monitor' meant "Computer that costs more than everybody in front of it" bodged and genetic-drifted into a totally alien environment; but this is the future, the one where you are hard pressed to buy a motherboard without at least two built-in video outputs, not infrequently more, you'd think that that would be a major consideration in any new graphics system design.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Was it pure failure,or today's sick fascination with 'mobile' that would lead a 'modern-replacement-for-X' project to have "multi-monitor issues"?I

      The thing is that Weyland is just as mobile friendly as Mir: The freedesktop site says [freedesktop.org]: "The Weston compositor is a minimal and fast compositor and is suitable for many embedded and mobile use cases".

      • There isn't anything necessarily incompatible with 'mobile' use and multi-monitor use (indeed, many contemporary mobile devices have both a screen and a video-out, and some of them can even treat them both independently, rather than the video-out being a fixed mirror of the screen); but, as a matter of priorities (not of actual technical conflicts) the fashion for 'mobile' seems to have led to some remarkably shoddy treatment of multi-monitor scenarios being allowed to ship on desktop/laptop OSes. Not just
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Even in 10.7 you can't extend a single wallpaper across two monitors. You can cut to images from one larger picture yourself and make it look like one wallpaper, or have the same one twice. Both of which would be fine in 1999, but not in 2013.

          • Good thing that OSX is Naturally Superior for photoshop-wielding 'creatives' so they can handle doing that manually.

            And wasn't Apple the company with the reputation for delivering remotely-usable-by-people-who-are-neither-uber-geeks-nor-UNIX-workstation-buyers multi-monitor support atypically early in the game, somtime back in the classic era?
          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            Even in 10.7 you can't extend a single wallpaper across two monitors. You can cut to images from one larger picture yourself and make it look like one wallpaper, or have the same one twice. Both of which would be fine in 1999, but not in 2013.

            You can't do it in Windows easily either - you have to stitch two wallpapers together in the right order for your monitor configuration. Of course, there are tools to do this, but that's what they do in the background. Though not all of them do it "right", especially w

    • Was it pure failure,or today's sick fascination with 'mobile' that would lead a 'modern-replacement-for-X'

      Not even that. Maemo/Meego which by all accounts were slick and responsive used X. You could even change the window manager if you liked, since it was standard X.

    • Was it pure failure,or today's sick fascination with 'mobile' that would lead a 'modern-replacement-for-X' project to have "multi-monitor issues"?

      Neither. One of the things being glossed over or ignored by most of the discussion here is that Mir is working absolutely fine (including with multiple monitors). The issue causing them to "undefault" Mir is that XMir is not as complete and stable as they would like when apps that require X11 try to operate in multi-monitor mode (XMir is a compatibility layer between Mir and X).

      In other words, the "weirdness sometimes experience in that area with classic X" in fact IS the problem, or at least the major con

  • Otherwise the Russians will be pissed!

  • X is X (Score:4, Insightful)

    by deviated_prevert (1146403) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:15AM (#45012909) Journal

    Like Pulse audio it takes a long time to make a WM that does not have some serious issues somewhere. Ubuntu choosing to try to create a WM more suitable to the Unity gui is understandable. But it is no small task. This is the great part about the Linux kernel not a weakness as the nay sayers that peddle the poison crap that Linux distros are too fragmented. Unlike the alternative which is only united by the fact that with a Windows or Apple window manager you have NO CHOICE PERIOD.

    Ubuntu is stable and very usable always with the window manager that they choose, so is Slackware, Knoppix, Mint etc etc etc. The detractors and shills do not realize the real significance of this. Which is the fact that different groups can do what they want as witness the Google WM on top of the kernel. Shills that harp that fragmentation there is a problem are starting to be exposed for what they are as witness the fact that Android is kicking but all over the planet.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Has pulse ever gotten to that point?

      Maybe they should first get rid of Unity. It sucks. It assumes you have one app open at a time, so there is no one step way to pick the 4th window of some application you have. It hates tons of apps like Rdesktop. You get a ? for an icon and if you dare open more than one you again have no way to select a single one. Tiling window managers are more useful.

  • by zuse (457033) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:15AM (#45012911)

    Both to RedHat and Cannonical for actually trying to innovate in this space.

    At least one of the projects will fail and there will be instability for those trying out the new solutions, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't try. I love seeing this because whatever happens, it will make desktop Linux more fun!

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @09:54AM (#45013307) Homepage

    Go and try Debian. There is a reason why they have a huge following and most of what people like in Ubuntu is there in debian with none of what people dislike.

    • by iggymanz (596061)

      no, while a great server distro Debian does not put the thought and effort to make the common Linux dekstop components work together, it's a ragged mess that needs hours of manual fixing. other distros derived from Debian DO put in the effort so things have some hope of being configured to work together.

      Debian desktop is a huge waste of time.

    • by occasional_dabbler (1735162) on Wednesday October 02, 2013 @01:24PM (#45016165)
      Personally I DO like Canonical's direction. I see exactly the same kind of ill-informed hate on /. for Unity that I see for Metro, and from the same people who've not spent more than a few hours using them (and starting with a negative attitude at that.)

      Unity is an amazing product, it is visually beautiful, my Mac uber-fanboy flatmate was fascinated by it and it's perfectly obvious to a 'granny' that you click on the buttons to make stuff happen and they soon get the hang that you click on the top button to find stuff.

      The real beauty of Unity though is how it works for power users with the keyboard. How many of you know about click/hold the super key? How many know about the HUD? Click on Alt in any app and see what happens. Unity at the start was a pure desktop solution, the touch stuff was added later because a lot of the ideas translated . Once you get used to it it is brilliant

      I've pretty much always had a Linux box somewhere in my den but only yesterday I set up my new, main dev machine as pure Ubuntu 13.10 booting from UEFI off a SSD and running Mir

      If it weren't for Canonical making Ubuntu such a polished distro I would probably be dual-booting Win7 or 8 and some-other-linux and mostly only ever booting to Windows.

  • I understand where they think Wayland falls short, but rather than going off and trying to create there own display server, they could have instead contributed the functionality they wanted to the Wayland project. And if Wayland wouldn't want it, fork a version of Wayland that is compatible but has what they felt was missing.

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