Should I be using Wayland?

I like to try new things all the time, and with X11 being so old, I feel like I should be using Wayland.
But what are the benefits? Everything just feels the same to me. Are there some upsides to Wayland that I’m not noticing?

Wayland is definitely newer; X11 almost as old as the internet.

You got me to wondering for myself, and I dug this up:

Easier settings, screen tearing artifact fix, and folks expect it to be extended.

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There’s a good architecture comparison on the wayland website. Also here’s what’s wrong with X as stated there:

The problem with X is that… it’s X. When you’re an X server there’s a tremendous amount of functionality that you must support to claim to speak the X protocol, yet nobody will ever use this. For example, core fonts; this is the original font model that was how your got text on the screen for the many first years of X11. This includes code tables, glyph rasterization and caching, XLFDs (seriously, XLFDs!). Also, the entire core rendering API that lets you draw stippled lines, polygons, wide arcs and many more state-of-the-1980s style graphics primitives. For many things we’ve been able to keep the server modern by adding extensions such as XRandR, XRender and COMPOSITE and to some extent phase out less useful extensions. But we can’t ever get rid of the core rendering API and much other complexity that is rarely used in a modern desktop. With Wayland we can move the X server and all its legacy technology to an optional code path.

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There are a lot of improvements that you wouldn’t notice in terms of security and small features.

It is much better for scaling on HiDPi screens. It’s pretty much fully ready now and distros are including it by default.

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When did they start including it by default? I honestly didn’t know this nor notice it. That is interesting though. I really haven’t looked much into it but since they include on most distros it must be useful for a lot of people.

From Wikipedia:

As of 2020 most Linux distributions support Wayland out of the box, some notable examples are:

  • Fedora starting with version 25 (released 22 November 2016) uses Wayland for the default GNOME 3.22 desktop session, with X as a fallback if the graphics driver cannot support Wayland. Fedora uses Wayland as the default for KDE desktop sessions starting with version 34 (released 27 April 2021)
  • Ubuntu shipped with Wayland by default in Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark). However, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS reverted to X.Org by due to several issues. Since Ubuntu 21.04, Wayland is the default again.
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux ships Wayland as the default session in version 8, released 7 May 2019.
  • Debian ships Wayland as the default session for GNOME since version 10, released 6 July 2019.
  • Slackware Linux included Wayland on 20 February 2020 for the development version, -current, which will eventually become version 15.0.
  • Manjaro ships Wayland as default in the Gnome edition of Manjaro 20.2 (Nibia) (released 22 November 2020).

Most improvements would be minor for most people. Really, it is something most people don’t need to be using but some of the minor improvements are worth it for others. I think it just comes down to preferences.

Hmm. This is interesting. If it will be extended, I would imagine they will have it do more in the future. I am going to have to look into this more.

Thanks, everyone for your replies!

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This reminds me of the NXHost functionality provided by the NeXT. It showed up in Mac OS X Server v1.x (basically NeXTSTEP for Macs), but disappeared with Mac OS X. It was so cool to be able to run a program on one system, and display it on another system.

Anyway, thanks for posting about this. Neat that people have found a solution for some of X11’s problems.