back to article Fedora 41's GNOME to go Wayland-only, says goodbye to X.org

The Fedora development team is discussing dropping the GNOME on X11 session in Fedora 41, meaning that the flagship edition will be Wayland-only. The move comes from ongoing online discussions and is planned for Fedora 41, which is the release after next, expected in about seven months' time. It is still under discussion: …

  1. Killdolly

    Being a bit of a minimalist, I am convinced that Debian and XFCE is right for me.

    I find KDE and Fedora to boot, is too top-heavy. I have no need for the bling, BTRFS and eye-candy - ugh.

    Running M1 and M2 Minis on Asahi Linux.

    My opinions are my own, of course.

    Teddy

    1. vtcodger Silver badge

      "Being a bit of a minimalist, I am convinced that Debian and XFCE is right for me."

      Well, OK. But why bother with XFCE? I should think that Fluxbox or Openbox or maybe something even more basic would satisfy the needs of a minimalist.

      1. LionelB Silver badge

        That depends really on whether you want a minimal "desktop" (with task bars, launchers, desktop icons, applets, etc.) or just a window manager. Although the lines are blurred; Fluxbox, for instance (my personal favourite), implements a taskbar and application menus, but no launchers or other desktop paraphernalia. Of course there's nothing stopping you from rolling your own desktop if you want, but if you were going to do that you'd probably save yourself a lot of trouble (or fun, depending on your point of view) for a comparable result by going with, say Xfce, LXDE or LXQT.

  2. keithpeter Silver badge
    Windows

    Hardware minimum spec?

    Just wondering if Fedora Project will update their min specs info to reflect machine generation.

    https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/fedora/latest/release-notes/welcome/Hardware_Overview/#hardware_overview-specs

    Could get complex - is there a general 'profile' for a Wayland only AMD64 processor machine?

    1. AdamWill

      Re: Hardware minimum spec?

      Writing that page is pretty difficult anyway because there's so many different...Fedoras. The "minimum spec" for a minimal console install is nothing like the minimum spec for a GNOME desktop install. But you can't really write a five page long doc covering all the options. So...it winds up being a bit of a compromise.

  3. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Devil

    Wayland only

    Oh, have they finally finished it yet?

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Wayland only

      I'd like to know the decision of going Wayland only is so easily justified in a [Linux] world that constantly hypes "user choice!"

      Are the users actually making this choice themselves??

      1. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Wayland only

        Yes. They can like it, or write the code themselves.

        OK, I'm deliberately being a bit contentious here. I do agree that Wayland is not finished, offers less user choice than X, and users (and particularly non Linux platforms) are increasingly not considered over developer and commercial interests. It also doesn't help there is almost no commercial non Linux Unix, so the perfect storm of X being funded by large companies and having to compromise to work on multiple platforms simply did not happen with Wayland.

        However, it has always been that way to some extent. Pick a less popular configuration and you'll have issues with application support. It's also what a lot of Linux users want - functionality NOW! Forget catering for BSD or whatever, which limits functionality and slows development, but is also very likely to incorporate compromise and flexibility into a design.

        Certain oft quoted benefits such as support for old hardware are also flat out wrong. If you've old, popular hardware it's very likely it still works, but this is only because of ongoing work from developers. There are at least *three* (four?) different display driver models in X, and maintaining old hardware support relies on drivers being re-written each time, it is not automatic.

      2. ldo

        Re: in a [Linux] world that constantly hypes "user choice!"

        Most of the Linux world doesn’t use Fedora.

        Just because Red Hat is big in North America doesn’t mean it’s big in the [Linux] world.

        1. ianbetteridge

          Re: in a [Linux] world that constantly hypes "user choice!"

          Most of the Linux world may not use Fedora, but I would put money on most of the desktop Linux world* using a distribution which is either already or on the way to using Wayland as the default.

          (* And while I know it's fashionable to insist that ChromeOS is Linux, I disagree with this slant)

          1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

            Re: in a [Linux] world that constantly hypes "user choice!"

            > while I know it's fashionable to insist that ChromeOS is Linux...

            Is it fashionable? It's technically correct, but I agree that ChromeOS should not really be counted as "Linux on the desktop", due to it's baked-in limitations.

    2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Wayland only

      It still doesn't remember window positions from one session to the next, which is a pretty fundamental feature for a lot of people. Myself included.

      So, no. They haven't. And with the amount of time they spent getting to this point, they could have fixed every single problem in X11 that they use to justify this change and added some new features to boot.

      1. NewModelArmy

        Re: Wayland only

        That is really annoying, the window positions.

    3. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Oh, have they finally finished it yet?

      Probably not as the article says this:

      "There are reasons to still want X11 even now: for instance, if you use some accessibility tools, or you need certain graphics driver features that only work with X.org. A fairly common example would be if you run Fedora under VirtualBox and want the additional facilities provided by the Guest Additions' graphics drivers, such as dynamic guest display resizing".

      ^ That says to me that Wayland is still a work in progress and not a finished product and the comment from another forum still applies:

      "You failed to read the fine print at the bottom of all the wayland promises over the past 12 years:

      "It will improve your performance. Next year. Or the year after that. Or maybe the year after that. If you have the right hardware. And the right desktop. On certain tasks with certain apps. Maybe. Depends on the alignment of the stars and the moon, and if Jupiter is in the 2nd house"."

      1. Proton_badger

        Re: Oh, have they finally finished it yet?

        > "It will improve your performance. Next year. Or the year after that. Or maybe the year after that. If you have the right hardware. And the right desktop. On certain tasks with certain apps. Maybe. Depends on the alignment of the stars and the moon, and if Jupiter is in the 2nd house"."

        Well Wayland's objective is not improved performance, it is to show perfect frames at the right time, some confused users might claim otherwise but that's on them. X developers were also fed up with maintaining all the cruft in X. For example very few apps apart from the much loved xbiff use X fonts and all those drawing primitives, most apps does their own direct drawing with their chosen toolkit. But the X code is still available if anyone cares to dig in and show us how easy it is and show the former X (now Wayland) developers a thing or two..

        Anyway. yeah Wayland lacks a few things, for example they're still working on a protocol for windows placement and another for explicit sync with modern GFx cards. Design by committee is unfortunately often very very slow, it's unfortunate but one understands their worry of getting it wrong. The main mistake of Wayland was probably that the initial protocol was too minimal.

  4. MichaelGordon

    Presumably there's going to be some sort of X compatibility layer so that all the commercial and other software that knows nothing about Wayland will be runnable? How will that layer work with this software's use of GLX for hardware acceleration? What about network transparency? We've got several pieces of software that are run remotely on CPU servers because they need more power than an average desktop machine can provide to do their thing but display their GUI on the user's local desktop.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, Pottering does not approve of your use-case.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      > Presumably there's going to be some sort of X compatibility layer so that all the commercial and other software that knows nothing about Wayland will be runnable?

      Hm. I considered specifically mentioning this but decided to keep it short.

      Yes, like almost all Wayland-based distros, Fedora includes XWayland, and all X11 apps will just run without any action or modification on the user's part. It's largely invisible.

      Very few distros _don't_ include XWayland because there are still fairly few Wayland-native apps, and if you don't have it, you have a bunch of terminal emulators and an extremely limited app selection.

      > What about network transparency?

      Discussed at length in the comments to every previous Wayland-centric article I've written.

      There are ways: Waypipe, SSH tunnelling and stuff. It can be done. It's not a standard part but it's perfectly doable.

      1. keithpeter Silver badge
        Windows

        "Very few distros _don't_ include XWayland because there are still fairly few Wayland-native apps, and if you don't have it, you have a bunch of terminal emulators and an extremely limited app selection."

        My cynical old self thinks you'll still be writing that sentence in a review of Fedora 82 in a couple of decades...

    3. ilpr

      Xwayland

      Yes, Xwayland has been used for a long time. It is a "proxy" translating between X11 clients and Wayland compositor.

      Note that they are planning to drop Xserver-based session, Xwayland will still be available for compatibility in a Wayland-session.

      GLX has been replaced by EGL is various applications like Firefox. Even better, many application use DRI which bypasses the need for GLX entirely.

      VNC is a working solution for remote desktops. X11 hasn't been network transparent for ages since DRI uses shared memory: it has been "network aware" but the transparency has been in the minds of the users for a long time. This isn't the 1980's X11 any more..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just do it already

    - Rename systemd to SYS$STARTER

    - Change "root" to "administrator"

    Seriously hobble the command line.

    Remove any pretence that you are a unix-alike OS, and go out in the world, free of your shackles.

    Then at least you'll stop dragging down unix with you.

    1. AdamWill

      Re: Just do it already

      There is absolutely nothing anywhere in anything to do with Fedora where we claim to be "a unix-alike OS".

      https://www.google.com/search?q=unix+site%253Afedoraproject.org

      https://www.google.com/search?q=unix+site%253Afedoraproject.org/docs

      https://www.google.com/search?q=unix+site%253Afedoraproject.org/wiki

      fedoraproject.org says Fedora is "An innovative platform for hardware, clouds, and containers, built with love by you."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just do it already

        Nothing personal. It was a dig against the current direction of Linux distros generally, and not an attack directed specifically at Fedora.

        But to counter your pedantry, and be pedantic myself, Linux based systems are constantly called "unix alike", and Fedora embraces the "Linux" label.

        https://fedoramagazine.org/announcing-fedora-linux-39/

  6. Jeff3171351982

    To do list:

    1. get an amd gpu (my GTX 760 is legacy & is v.470-thx for article info & link)

    2. get a Wayland alternative for autokey

    3. test distros again (I wonder how many years I could get a solid x11 KDE experience on Debian for)

    1. Random person

      Re: To do list:

      A quick search for "autokey wayland" finds this page https://luxagraf.net/src/replacing-autokey-wayland-plain-text-snippets

      There seems that there is or was some work to port autokey to Wayland perhaps you could see if you can help. https://github.com/autokey/autokey/discussions/866

      There may be some alternatives that run on Wayland. https://medium.com/@canadaduane/key-remapping-in-linux-2021-edition-47320999d2aa

      I don't have direct experience of any of these.

  7. thx1111

    > In our testing, we found that the version 390 legacy drivers refuse to compile and install on kernel 6.5 or newer.

    390 legacy drivers are still working for me, running X11 on Arch Linux with kernel 6.7.8. Did you, instead, mean nvidia-390xx drivers were not working with Wayland?

    1. NewModelArmy

      To get round the Xwayland problem i was guided to use the line "QT_QPA_PLATFORM=xcb" before the application name form the command line. Works for an Intel GPU but does not work for nVidia GPU with Nouveau or nVidia driver.

      This is apparently to be corrected in fedora 40 with Qt6.

  8. Flat Phillip

    One other use-case

    I'm generally happy with running GNOME on Wayland. The weird odd bugs are old history for me now.

    The one reason why I run GNOME on Xorg is for Teams, specifically when there is a presentation on. I know this is more of a Teams problem rather than a Xorg/Wayland problem but that is, unfortunately, the collaboration tool of choice of my employer. I haven't tried Teams on Xwayland on Wayland; perhaps that will work.

    1. Yankee Doodle Doofus Bronze badge

      Re: One other use-case

      I could be wrong on this, but I think you most likely have tried Teams on Xwayland if you are (mostly) happily running GNOME on Wayland. Unless there are separate Wayland-only and legacy versions of Teams? Not many apps have native Wayland support yet, so I'd wager that Xwayland is indeed installed on your system, and doing some heavy lifting to give you the decent experience you are having.

      I too am currently running GNOME on Wayland, but I use the web version of Teams, rather than a standalone native app. I tried a linux version of the Teams app maybe 18 months ago and found it lacking, though I can no longer remember what my issues were.

  9. rg287 Silver badge

    There are reasons to still want X11 even now: for instance, if you use some accessibility tools

    I'm not sure why this gets relegated to a throwaway comment in one line. The Wayland developers have largely screwed disability users. The security model prohibits communication between windows, which is a very fine thing in principle but locks out applications like screen readers, which rely on being able to read other windows. Notionally this is then handled by the Wayland Security model, being effectively implemented at a higher level by the compositor.

    However, support for this has not been a "1.0" feature. It's been treated as a nice-to-have bit of feature engineering that "we'll think about when we've got it working". Which isn't really good enough in the 2020s.

    The adoption of Wayland as default is one of the most regressive moves by major distros in years. The idea that major distros are saying "yeah, fine, we'll make it the default, screw those with visual impairments" is woeful. The discussion between major distros with Wayland devs should have been "we can't touch it until it supports screen readers out the box. Accessibility is not optional or a "nice to have, it needs to be baked in at the start and accessibility users get a pain-free transition".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wayland's security model is pure security theatre, which they only promote to claim "look how much better than X we are". It offers no actual benefits. If someone is at the point where they can sneak a peek from one window to another, your machine is already fully compromised.

  10. bobd64

    Ease of use, not technical features

    NVidia cards are very common, both for graphics use and for machine learning. If Fedora transitions to a (close to) Wayland-only world that requires NVidia’s drivers then what will make or break it is how integrated the non-free Wayland drivers will be. Will the installer have a button for “add NVidia repository”? It’s this that will make the difference, not whether or not specific features are the same or different.

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