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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Will Default To The X.Org Stack, Not Wayland (phoronix.com) 194

An anonymous reader writes: Five years after their original goal to ship Ubuntu with Wayland, Ubuntu 17.10 transitioned to using the Wayland display system by default as part of their transition to GNOME Shell as the default desktop. But with the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release, Canonical has decided to transition back to the X.Org Server. Their reasoning for moving to an X.Org Server by default is better support for screen sharing, remote desktop, and better recovery from crashes. But for those interested the Wayland session will still be available as a log-in option.
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Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Will Default To The X.Org Stack, Not Wayland

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  • Really, these things swing back and forth and really is a non-news item. The headline should be changed to read: Defaults to X.org Allows Choice of Wayland. Which is not really newsworthy.

    In other words, "Meh."

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:11PM (#56007743) Homepage

      "Which is not really newsworthy."

      Well it is actually. Various vested interests have been plying the X Windows is dead, Wayland is the way forward line for a few years now. For Ubuntu - a distro not exactly known for its conservatism and aversion to releasing bleeding edge sofware - to return to X as the default graphics system is a pretty obvious statement that Wayland is a long way from being ready for prime time.

      • It's not necessarily that it's a long way from prime time. But it's definitely not stable enough at the moment to be the default in an LTS version, which has to run stable for the next 3 years without relying on any major upgrades.
      • Canonical's Shelf of Broken Dreams is well stocked. It's just one more in a long line of abysmal, over-ambitious failures. However it can still be argued Wayland is still in a Failure-in-Waiting status.

        • Canonical announced dumping Wayland quite some time ago, so this isn't news at all. It was too tough for them, and couldn't be rectified with their new best friends, Microsoft.

          It was over-promised, then never-delivered.... although it's only one of the few Canonical failures.

      • Various vested interests have been plying the X Windows is dead, Wayland is the way forward line for a few years now.

        And they are right for the use cases they presented. Unfortunately those use cases do not overlap with the use cases of those who jump only between LTS releases of Ubuntu.

      • Because let's face it, what's holding back Wayland is the same reason X.org's problems aren't all architecture-related: Money. Developing a modern display server is a money-sucking process and nobody is willing to put them on a table, so everything proceeds at a glacial pace. Even the CLI of linux isn't all that great IMO. You don't get rolodex autocomplete (where you can cycle through the suggestions by pressing tab), autocomplete doesn't automatically fill in quotes for you for filenames with spaces, and
      • is a pretty obvious statement that Wayland is a long way from being ready for prime time.

        Au contraire, mon frere

        Ubuntu has a strong track record of deliberately choosing things that are not ready for prime time - the move back to X is probably an indication that Wayland is finally stable.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:08PM (#56007721) Homepage

    ... the Wayland devs kept telling us that no one cares about remoting with X which is why they hardly bothered to work on that side of it. Were they wrong?? Say it ain't so!

    • I guess that's just a hard to discover easter egg, like mouse paste [gnome.org].

      • Re:But but .... (Score:5, Informative)

        by jbernardo ( 1014507 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:27PM (#56007929)
        Or like being incapable of running GUI apps as root - which breaks among others gparted, and won't ever be fixed for native Wayland apps, but you need to "think of the children" - https://bugzilla.redhat.com/sh... [redhat.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "gparted should not run its UI as root. It should run its UI as a regular user and use PolicyKit or something else similar to gain elevated privileges only when necessary to query or modify devices"

          I'm all about being angry, but this makes sense. root only when needed, we don't need root for the UI.

          • Re:But but .... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by jbernardo ( 1014507 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:50PM (#56008147)

            "gparted should not run its UI as root. It should run its UI as a regular user and use PolicyKit or something else similar to gain elevated privileges only when necessary to query or modify devices"

            Why? Because Wayland devs decided the UI should not run as root? Because breaking functionality in the name of a misguided sense of security is fashionable?

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              In general, each process should operate with the least possible privilege [wikipedia.org]. Windows went through this in 2007 when Windows Vista cut off services' ability to display a GUI. Splitting it into a GUI to parse (possibly untrusted) user input and a worker to do the actual work, with a narrow communication channel between the two, makes it less likely that an inadvertent flaw in the GUI will cause problems in the elevated part.

        • but you need to "think of the children"

          Actually I think it's more like "think of the security hole". I can't say I disagree with the fact that old software should use the modern way of interacting with a modern system if it wants to work for users.

          Expecting full backwards compatibility for everything for ever just invites any script kiddy to take over your computer. It's amazing how we're progressive about protocol adoption and depreciation in Linux, ... until it comes to some GUI application that hasn't gotten its act together in the past sever

          • What security hole? I'm more worried about my user data than about some imagined security hole, and blocking root apps won't protect the user data.

            Obligatory xkcd - https://xkcd.com/1200/ [xkcd.com]

            • What security hole?

              The one they fixed through the introduction of polkit to allow fine grained access control to the system. If you don't understand why Polkit exists and why it's preferred I don't expect you'll ever understand the security aspects of what Wayland specifically avoids here by design.

          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            What forever? Wayland is barely used. You sound like it's been the dominant GUI display for 5 years.

      • I guess that's just a hard to discover easter egg, like mouse paste.

        No, fuck you, we ARE going to turn Linux into a cheap half-arsed knockoff of Windows 95, uhhh Windows XP, er I mean OSX.

        Screw anyone who actually uses it. We HAVE to assume that the only way of getting The Year Of The Linux Desktop is to make it a crap version of everything else out there.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      Actually, for executing a remote application, Wayland can accomodate with Xwayland.

      Here the thing is sharing your screen, like in a teleconference situation or accessing your whole screen remotely rather than X forwarding which Wayland can't accommodate, in part due to intentional design decisions to mitigate security risks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

      ... the Wayland devs kept telling us that no one cares about remoting with X which is why they hardly bothered to work on that side of it. Were they wrong?? Say it ain't so!

      Not at all. Remote desktop was always important to a subset of users that were not at all targeted by Wayland. Those same users happen to also be the ones who would use LTS releases of Ubuntu.

      If you read the original post they will use Wayland as defaults on all other releases and specifically rushed Wayland to 17.10 to gauge if it will be a default in 18.04LTS. But there are some features that need to be worked on before it will be suitable for LTS release.

      But by all means smug on.

      • This is absolutely incorrect.

        Remote desktop was always going to happen on Wayland, the dev's just didn't want it baked right into the protocol where it would cause all the same problems it's caused on xorg over the last 20 years. There was a wicked misunderstanding between users and the devs and yes it was probably the dev's fault, but they always intended for their to be remote desktop capability, just not baked into the protocol where it doesn't belong.

        • by Uecker ( 1842596 )

          What is the fundamental problem with remote?

          You have to understand that any efficient graphics system today has to treat buffers as remote anyway, as they live on the other side of the PCI bus on a discrete GPU. It is also therefor not too surprising that both Wayland and X are in fact very similar in how graphics is done with modern clients. There is no fundamental difference. Wayland just lacks a lot of functionality compared to X and is not backwards compatible.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Yuh huh. They also don't mention that the Nvidia drivers don't work with Wayland. They put an optimistic "yet" at the end of that. First thing I ended up doing in The Big Upgrade of a couple of machines a few days ago was force X.org sessions in GDM so I could get 3D acceleration. Remote windows? Don't tend to use 'em here, but have in the past and do consider it important.
    • by jon3k ( 691256 )
      I don't think so, I think it's more about application compatibility or just general maturity.
  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@gm a i l . c om> on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:11PM (#56007747)

    Despite it's touted simplicity, Wayland lags behind X functionality in both network awareness and driver support, as well as still a slight lag in performance [phoronix.com] despite its purported closeness to the hardware compared to X. Am I misunderstanding something?

    • Those guhnome fellows pulled one over on them.
    • Wayland lags behind X functionality in both network awareness and driver support

      So things that matter to users of LTS releases and pretty much no one else?

      In the meantime there's a laundry list of reasons X.org is a horrible system to use on a desktop. Which is also why you'll see Wayland as the default in 18.10 again.

      • In the meantime there's a laundry list of reasons X.org is a horrible system to use on a desktop.

        OK, I'll bite.

        Like what?

        So far about 80% of them are "I refuse to acknowledge the existence of any new API calls past about 1987". A few others centre around the kernel being unreasonably slow, and there's one or two decent points.

        • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
          Yeah I was doing some big X11 development a couple years ago and was stunned by just how far things haven't progressed since I was looking at Motif in the '90's. In fact the application I was working on was a Motif program, if you can believe it. Oh God that thing was crap, and there was really no way to fix it in X. Oh, in theory you could do some sort of quad-tree thing back with double-buffered bitmaps on the client, but whoops, our clients (Windows running some crappy X11 server) didn't support the dou
          • Yeah I was doing some big X11 development a couple years ago and was stunned by just how far things haven't progressed since I was looking at Motif in the '90's. In fact the application I was working on was a Motif program, if you can believe it. Oh God that thing was crap, and there was really no way to fix it in X.

            Well, no. I mean you're using a program using a late 1980s era toolkit. It'd be like using the Windows 16 bit API on modern as a reason to not use Windows. Yes being M*tif, your experience will

  • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:14PM (#56007775)

    ...we even have Wayland/Mir.

    The X Server stack was fast enough back in the days of the FOUR-EIGHTY-SIX.

    And almost all the implementations of the new system lack features that we already expect to work on x server without thinking about it.

    • by jouassou ( 1854178 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @01:08PM (#56008335)
      Most of the Wayland maintainers have also been working on X.org for a long time, and I trust the developers to know better than the users when a rewrite is due. From what I've read, in addition to the issue of maintainability, X.org is inherently insecure (any app is allowed to draw over / screencapture / keylog any other app), contains a lot of code that is never used anymore (e.g. the builtin font rendering and GUI toolkit in X), while modern developments such as DRI and compositing were bolted on as ugly extensions. So if the X.org maintainers say it's cleaner to rewrite it than to keep bolting on new features on top, then I believe them.

      If you're genuinely interested in why people are developing Wayland, I recommend looking at this [youtube.com] talk :).
    • The X Server stack was fast enough back in the days of the FOUR-EIGHTY-SIX.

      And I'm sure if all we care about is drawing rectangles on the screen it still would be.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      There's a lot of politics around the X design and code base. At some point in the past some XFree86 guy was probably a dick to some future Wayland developer on a forum or in a bug tracker, and the Wayland guy was probably all like "Fuck you! I'm going to make my own GUI, with blackjack and hookers!"

      Funnily X11 is a lot like Lisp in that, during the course of rewriting it, they'll probably make exactly the same mistakes and require the same work-arounds until the Wayland is such a steaming pile of shit tha

      • The blackjack and hookers was Ubuntu's Mir and Unity - Half a decade wasted on that.

        • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
          I won't disagree with you, but you know sometimes you get a developer boner to make something shiny. A lot of UIs I work with (Android in general and Samsung's version of it in particular) are very shiny, but also infuriating to work with. Unity kind of felt like that, for the few minutes I was ever able to stand it. I like my focus follows mouse and having multiple windows far too much to stand something that wants to arbitrarily deny me those things. Funnily I can make Windows work for me a lot better th
  • Does this mean that all the things that broke in 17.10 that I then had to work out how to fix will now rebreak because of those same fixes? And I will have to return to where I was?

    Really screwed up installing 17.10. Should have stuck to LTS.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:16PM (#56007813) Journal

    This is the first time in a long while that a company steps back from what looked like suicidal commitment to a bad idea, and actually went back to what works.

    I wish Lenovo did the same with the 7-row keyboardes on the ThinkPad. Also I wish Linux companies (except RedHat, of course) would ditch SystemD.

    • from what looked like suicidal commitment to a bad idea

      So you mean you didn't read the post? The only reason they stepped back from Wayland is because it specifically breaks screen sharing and many developers have not ported their programs to the Wayland way of doing it, as well as architectural issues with Gnome Shell which can bring down the system and are due to be fixed in 4.0

      If you think this is some massive backflip and a thumbs up to X.Org, you're going to be very upset when Ubuntu 18.10 is released.

    • by reanjr ( 588767 )

      Actually Ubuntu does this pretty regularly. That might just mean they make lots of bad decisions, though. Unity. Upstart. Wayland. Nautilus has been upgraded and subsequently regressed twice, I think. Et al.

      • Good examples:

        Unity - adopted because Gnome Shell was a bucket of shit that looked unfix-able. Dropped once Gnome Shell became "fixed".
        Upstart - adopted because sysvinit was garbage and there was no replacement providing the suitable features. Dropped once systemd became suitable.
        Wayland - I assume you meant mir? adopted because x.org has it's warts on a modern desktop and it won't ever change without a ground up re-write. Dropped because Wayland became suitable. Wayland still the default, still shipped and

    • by Ramze ( 640788 )

      holy jumpin' speculation, Batman!

      16.04 is an LTS release. Most servers run the LTS version of Ubuntu. So, while your average Joe is fine with upgrading every 6 months, there are a massive number of production servers running an almost two year old LTS about to upgrade to this, and their sysadmin concerns have to be taken into account before this is released. It's going to have to keep them happy for another two years 'til the next release as well.

      Ubuntu is smart enough to keep that backwards compatibili

  • by e r ( 2847683 ) on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:16PM (#56007817)
    It's an LTS right? So isn't it the right move to keep it in stable territory for now?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:25PM (#56007903)

    The shit is a total clusterfuck with Wayland. Something happens to gnome-shell--REBOOT. Some random gnome-shell plugin acts bad, no way to unload it--REBOOT. Mouse stops working--REBOOT. Come back from screen lock and clicks don't work--REBOOT.

    All of this shit is possible to completely fix non-destructively when gnome-shell runs under X by Alt-F2 'r', or lacking input, Ctrl-Alt-F1 'killall -HUP gnome-shell'.

    Now Alt-F2 'r' is disabled, and every other previously working solution causes EVERYTHING to be killed, because now gnome-shell is the parent of the entire session. The gnome-shell developers have basically said tough, this is intended operation, and you shouldn't need to restart the shell ever. Fuck them. I leave my workstation powered up for months on end, yet I have to restart gnome-shell it seems every week or two sometimes.

    • by Junta ( 36770 )

      The problem is it is out of gnome shell's hands in wayland. in X they have a responsibility, but that responsibility isn't core to the applications working.

      In Wayland architecture, gnome shell is basically the X server. Now they could do a better job segregating their code and have a more bulletproof core to be the wayland compositor, but it's just a whole new role they had never had to handle in the past.

  • Good job Canonical (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 26, 2018 @12:34PM (#56008003)

    I think they should be congratulated on responding to user sentiment. I wish more companies would admit they acted prematurely and roll back changes that didn't work out. I can think of one or two very large Linux features that I could live without, but which are foisted on all of us.

  • talk to Poettering, I am sure he can hook you up to be the de-facto standard despite the shortcomings of Wayland.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 )
    The clue is in those letters. Wayland isn't going to stop being the focus going forward, irrational hate for it notwithstanding.
  • You have to admit, they do tend to stick around no matter what newfangled graphics server comes around. Hold old X11 now? 30+ years or something? ... Nice.

  • No wonder Google switched to Debian as a distribution base. Shuttleworth has turned Ubuntu into a major clusterf*ck.

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