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Ubuntu's Mir Gets Delayed Again 241

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-a-little-longer dept.
jones_supa writes "Delays keep piling up for the Mir display server on the Ubuntu desktop. After already being postponed multiple times, Mir might not be enabled by default on the Ubuntu Linux desktop until the 16.04 LTS release — in two years time! This was the estimate by Mark Shuttleworth in a virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit. Using Mir, Mark says, will lead to supporting more hardware, obtaining better performance, and 'do some great things' with the technology. He expects some users will start using Mir on the desktop over the next year. Mir is already packaged as an experimental option, along with an experimental Unity 8 desktop session."
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Ubuntu's Mir Gets Delayed Again

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  • by bazmonkey (555276) on Friday March 14, 2014 @12:36AM (#46480029)
    If Wayland is able to make decent ground before Mir is ready, there's still hope Ubuntu will drop the whole thing.
    • by dbIII (701233) on Friday March 14, 2014 @12:51AM (#46480081)
      Why?
      I think we need both to compete. Some of the early limitations proposed in Wayland were frankly, utter shit, and it was only pressure to lift their game that led to them being dropped.
      • by Microlith (54737)

        I think we need both to compete.

        Why? Given they both solve the same problem, but one has wide support and has shipped on devices, what use is the other?

        Some of the early limitations proposed in Wayland were frankly, utter shit, and it was only pressure to lift their game that led to them being dropped.

        Mir did not appear until way, way late in Wayland's game, and it appeared with a lot of terribly uninformed commentary from Canonical regarding how Wayland worked.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Why? Given they both solve the same problem, but one has wide support and has shipped on devices, what use is the other?

          If this is true then why even have Wayland? It solves pretty much the same problems that X had already solved. We could have simply modified X.

          If Wayland is justified then so is Mir.

          • We could have simply modified X.

            From what I've heard, there is nothing whatsoever "simple" about modifying X. Something about only 4 or so people on the planet understanding how the mangled internals work...

        • by mx+b (2078162)

          I think we need both to compete.

          Why? Given they both solve the same problem, but one has wide support and has shipped on devices, what use is the other?

          "KDE solves the same problem as GNOME, what use is GNOME?"

          "Firefox solves the same problem as Chrome, what use is Chrome?"

          "iOS solves the same problems of a phone OS as Android, what use is Android?"

          We can go on like crazy with this concept. Competition spurs people to do better, even if ultimately one wins out over the other. The challenge is never to let anyone stay dominant for too long, lest people get lazy. Each of my examples above I think was in a bit of a rut until the competitors came along, and no

        • by spitzak (4019)

          No, it is obvious if you follow development mailing lists that the announcement of Mir was a big kick in the pants for the Wayland developers and they started actually working on the real thing. So I think Mir did a good thing.

      • by Bengie (1121981)
        Mir is being designed by people who don't fully understand the problem domain or now Wayland works. The lead "devs" of Mir have spouted a lot of factually wrong information based on misunderstandings. I don't know about you, but I don't think it's a good idea to have programmers who don't understand what they're trying to accomplish.
      • by Dcnjoe60 (682885)

        Why?
        I think we need both to compete. Some of the early limitations proposed in Wayland were frankly, utter shit, and it was only pressure to lift their game that led to them being dropped.

        People seem happy that the upstart/systemd decision has been made. I imagine they will be happy when the Wayland/Mir decision is, too. We don't need both to compete, we already have X for that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      Then there are those of us who are hoping that Wayland will get dropped as well.......
      • More precisely, I wish the transition will not fragment the system between a lot of still potentially useful apps that cease working and the new stuff that will take years to mature to the point of old apps. Think about the transition between kde 3 and 4, or end up like people running classic unix apps under OSX.

        Network transparency is a MUST to me, but if it is important for many it should end up getting implemented into any solution eventually.

        • by Ash Vince (602485) *

          Network transparency is a MUST to me, but if it is important for many it should end up getting implemented into any solution eventually.

          I am curious as to why?

          I have seen the amazingly cool things X can do when someone showed them to me a decade or so back, but it has never once been useful to me in the real world.

          When I admin a linux server I do everything on the command line via ssh. This is the whole strength of Linux in that you can do everything without needing a GUI. What I have needed far more is the responsiveness that direct display writes from app to hardware give me when running stuff locally.

          I never seem to have a need to run a

          • I never seem to have a need to run a GUI on a remote machine but I use them on my local machine every day

            Plenty of people have the need to use a remote GUI, that's why Microsoft made remote desktop. Usually though, you just need one or two applications, and it's more convenient to have them show up by themselves instead of needing to deal with the entire screen of the other computer.

            Of course, if all you ever do is admin on the command line, you're not going to need that. You probably don't even need a GUI at all on those servers.

      • by DrXym (126579)
        It's hard to see why anybody with an interest in Linux would hope it be dropped.
        • It's hard to see why anyone with an interest in Linux would want us to move away from X11 to an unstable untried display system that will be missing features by design, simply because some X11 developers feel that the core X.org server has a lot of cruft in it.

          Wayland will look elegant to those programmers until the day they start adding the missing features. It'll be far more crufty and inefficient than X.org long before it ends up being feature complete. That's how programming works.

          • by DrXym (126579)
            Well that's a pretty weak argument.

            Linux has always featured choice. Personally I dislike KDE and I am critical of it but I'm not required to use it so I don't. Nor are you required to use Wayland. Stick with X for as long as you like. Gather a core of likeminded people and produce a dist that suits your requirements. I'm sure Amish Linux will be a huge hit.

            And every software is "unstable untried" until it is. I'm quite certain Wayland will have bugs in it and will fail to function in certain configurat

            • And those bugs will be fixed, either in Wayland itself or in the code it depends on

              I'm not convinced that's true.

              And just "some X11 developers"? The most prominent supporters of Wayland are major X11 developers who know how broken X is.

              Yes, that is the problem. x.org developers aren't known for their project-management skills, and doing a big rewrite of something that basically works is a rookie project-management mistake.

    • tablet and phone (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's already default on the tablet and phone, which is what Shuttleworth is excited about these days. So in that sense, it is already here.

      So wayland is going to have to do a lot more than make decent ground if Ubuntu is to drop Mir. Wayland will need to do everything that Mir and X11 can do, and exceed them, and also be on a mature and well tested code base. Merely being an adequate competitor won't cut it.

      • by pijokela (462279)

        Do you mean that Mir is already on a phone? Or Wayland?

        I already have Wayland in my Jolla phone running Sailfish OS, so Wayland is just as ready in the mobile world. That is a working device that I bought.

    • by angryfeet (2876521) on Friday March 14, 2014 @01:43AM (#46480209)
      But remember Wayland was floundering until just after Mir was announced. Only once all the righteous indignation kicked in did it start going anywhere. Without Shuttleworth we'd all be stuck in the 70's.
      • by Chrisq (894406)

        But remember Wayland was floundering until just after Mir was announced. Only once all the righteous indignation kicked in did it start going anywhere. Without Shuttleworth we'd all be stuck in the 70's.

        I was going to say the same thing. without competition Wayland would have moved very slowly, if at all.

      • Competition is always healthy, which is why Windows sucked so badly for so long.

        Also, I can't help every time I see the name "Mir" - didn't that crash and burn years ago after an intentional de-orbit?

    • by davydagger (2566757) on Friday March 14, 2014 @03:10AM (#46480425)
      ubuntu didn't adopt wayland because they said it lacked too much functionality, so instead of contributing back, like most other companies do, they decided to do what they normally, do, make an incompatible, inhouse version only they use, and then blame everyone else for not marching around them.

      I liked ubuntu early on, because when it was X11 and Gnome 2, they made using linux easy, with using the exact same technologies everyone else running a linux desktop was using. They were using the most mainstream widely supported technologies.

      And thats all I want out of a newbie distro. To take wideley supported, most default software, package it together, with support, make the best sane configs. Find the best GUI config tools, and make a coherent OS family like windows and mac do, for everyone who is non-technical, so they can enjoy what we do, and I have something to recommend to non-techies.

      It would also make my life easier, being I'm the one who generally fixes the computer.
      • by RDW (41497)

        And thats all I want out of a newbie distro. To take wideley supported, most default software, package it together, with support, make the best sane configs. Find the best GUI config tools, and make a coherent OS family like windows and mac do, for everyone who is non-technical, so they can enjoy what we do, and I have something to recommend to non-techies.

        Welcome to Mint!

    • by DrXym (126579)
      Wayland will still be experimental in Fedora 21 and turned on in 22. That means it will have possibly 12 months on Mr but it's still away from any sort of widespread use.

      I don't see Mir as being in much competition though. Canonical have hobbled interest in it due to the restrictive licence and contributors agreement and most people regard it as divisive. I will be interested to see what the gubuntu dist do when GNOME shell is fully Wayland compatible - whether they intend to use it or if they will be con

    • by Mashdar (876825)
      gome24ever.
  • by dacut (243842) on Friday March 14, 2014 @01:36AM (#46480197)

    I've found (as a rule of thumb) that, when asking a grad student "How much time do you think you have left before you can write up your thesis?", if the answer is two or more years out then it really means "I don't know." The student honestly believes this answer, but in reality he/she doesn't know how much he/she doesn't know.

    I'm starting to feel about the same with Mir and Canonical here. Shuttleworth is the tenured but aloof professor who casually coaxes his students (employees) toward completing milestones but without too much urgency. Money's not plentiful, but the professor has enough contacts and contracts to keep his lab going and give a stipend to his students. They put out a few papers (releases) each year, and each time the students think this grand project is "almost done"... only to discover that there's still more left to do.

    There's tremendous value in this kind of exploratory research. I'm just not sure it makes sense to package it up for end users.

    If I were Mark Shuttleworth's technical advisor, I'd suggest examining RedHat's Fedora model. Create a small group called Canonical Labs where stuff like Mir and Unity can flourish, with continuous releases and without the artificial constraint of a set release date. (If this makes the environment too lackadaisical and development isn't progressing fast enough, find some other way to instill discipline and/or motivation; don't make it the threat of moving alpha code to end-users.) When it's stabilized (no longer shuffling menus and window icons around, for example), then integrate it with the main Ubuntu branch. Something a bit more edgy and up-to-date than Debian Stable or RHEL, but not so much that it constantly upends your users.

    • If I were Mark Shuttleworth's technical advisor, I'd suggest examining RedHat's Fedora model. Create a small group called Canonical Labs where stuff like Mir and Unity can flourish, with continuous releases and without the artificial constraint of a set release date.

      This brings a different kind of problem, which is that there becomes a whole new management level of keeping the two groups in sync. Otherwise, the "Canonical Labs" group might run off and do all kinds of things that are great, but which never get integrated into the main project.

      I'd sooner suggest that they just be more clear in announcing these release dates that they're very tentative estimates of when it'll be included as the default, so that people aren't so damned disappointed. That said, having an

      • by dacut (243842)

        This brings a different kind of problem, which is that there becomes a whole new management level of keeping the two groups in sync. Otherwise, the "Canonical Labs" group might run off and do all kinds of things that are great, but which never get integrated into the main project.

        But PARC was so successful! Oh, wait... ;-)

        Your point is well taken. I believe it's a problem they already have, though: the Mir slip, shipping Unity before it was really ready, etc. Reorganizing -- even if it's done purely in Shuttleworth's mind and not on paper -- would bring these issues to the forefront.

  • No big deal (Score:4, Funny)

    by Thanosius (3519547) on Friday March 14, 2014 @02:01AM (#46480253)

    Delays just mean they're working on perfecting and producing the best of what they're trying to develop, and that once released it'll be a crowning moment of awesome as a consequence of the delays. Just like Duke Nukem Forever.

  • So get off my lawn!

"When it comes to humility, I'm the greatest." -- Bullwinkle Moose

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