GNOME developer proposes removing the X11 session

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The 2 changes are conscionable proposals astatine present, but GNOME's Wayland-only early is connected nan horizon. Whether that's a bully aliases bad motion is little clear.

Jordan Petridis' 2 merge requests successful nan GNOME's source codification successful Gitlab are nan astir definite signs yet that GNOME is getting adjacent to dropping support for moving connected what its developers see nan bequest X11 show server. The first change removes nan gnome-xorg.desktop file. As Petridis says:

The support would still beryllium present, truthful if a personification replaced nan file, they would still beryllium capable to commencement a desktop session. However, his 2nd proposed change is much sweeping. While still marked arsenic a "Draft," and astir apt aimed astatine nan pursuing merchandise of GNOME, it proposes nan removal of nan codification for moving GNOME connected X11 astatine all.

To put this successful context, nan Fedora task is considering a comparable change: removing aliases hiding nan GNOME connected convention from nan login menu, which is already nan plan for nan Fedora KDE rotation erstwhile it moves to KDE type 6, which is still successful development. These changes are nether chat for Fedora 40, nan early type which will travel Fedora 39, presently scheduled for merchandise adjacent week.

It's not really a mobility if this is going to happen. The large mobility is when… and nan smaller 1 is, it seems to us, why.

Currently Wayland still has issues successful a number of areas, including accessibility devices (such arsenic surface readers and magnifiers), DRM leasing, headless distant desktop (as this still needs a show attached), arsenic good arsenic nan adaptable refresh complaint issues we talked astir past year, among others.

Yes, Wayland does connection immoderate useful caller features, though for this peculiar vulture, location is only 1 that is of immoderate usage whatsoever: nan expertise to tally 2 (or more) displays astatine different scaling factors. This article is being written connected a instrumentality pinch 2 27 inch displays, but 1 has a solution of 5120 × 2880 while nan different is 2560 × 1440. That intends that 1 has 4 times much pixels than nan other: doubly some vertically and horizontally. For this to activity without things abruptly and dramatically changing size erstwhile you move them from 1 surface to another, 1 surface must tally astatine double nan pixel density of nan other.

Although tin happily tally 2 aliases 3 displays astatine different resolutions without a problem, it can't grip per-screen pixel densities: for now, that's a global setting.

This alteration will person some affirmative and antagonistic ramifications.

For astir people, it would almost surely beryllium fine, and make small to nary visible quality that astir group would ever notice.

There are immoderate GNOME – and KDE – users for whom it would beryllium bad news though. One ample and rather vocal group are group who usage Nvidia cards pinch nan proprietary Nvidia binary drivers. Another are folks who request accessibility devices to usage their computer.

For now, Wayland only useful afloat connected Linux and FreeBSD. There are experimental projects to port it to OpenBSD, and so to NetBSD and to DragonflyBSD. These are successful their early stages, though, truthful this will mean nan extremity of some KDE and GNOME connected NetBSD and different OSes, astatine slightest for now.

As for different Unix variants, particularly nan various proprietary ones, we foretell that GNOME will ne'er return to them. Long ago, Solaris adopted GNOME, moreover making it nan default, though moreover past it was controversial.

Today, though, nan property of proprietary UNIX workstations is gone, and nan various FOSS Unix-a-likes are UNIX. None of nan BSDs person desktops and laptops arsenic their superior goal, and their users would astir apt favour elemental model managers complete full-fat desktops anyway.

There are over 20 Linux desktop environments retired there, and a ample mostly don't support Wayland. Some of these are based connected GNOME components, including Mint's Cinnamon, Solus OS's Budgie, Elementary OS's Pantheon, and nan recently reinvigorated Unity, and this alteration will yet airs problems for each of them – though of people it whitethorn besides origin their improvement teams to prioritize adding Wayland support. Budgie is expressly moving connected it, and Xfce is adjacent behind.

So, conversely, if nan large 2 spell Wayland-only, that puts much region betwixt them and nan different mates of twelve desktops that remain X11-only. This alteration could beryllium bully news for nan smaller players: they will extremity up having better cross-platform support.

We person nary usage numbers, but location are besides galore – possibly millions – of Chinese users pinch either Kylin's UKUI aliases Deepin's DDE. Both of these only tally connected If China's 3-5-2 program has gone arsenic planned, it could beryllium that GNOME and KDE are not astir arsenic ascendant arsenic they look successful nan West.

(Tilting nan equilibrium nan different way, ChromeOS has its ain show server, Exo – and for nan record, it is Wayland-based. We fishy ChromeOS's Aura Shell has much users than all nan different Linux GUIs put together. And of people ChromeOS is successful move dwarfed by Android's billions of users; it besides has its ain show server, SurfaceFlinger.)

But why?

This scheme seems to The Reg's FOSS Desk to beryllium strong-arming group into adopting Wayland. To us, it's reminiscent of nan benignant of moves proprietary package vendors execute to compel users to upgrade, specified arsenic record format changes.

As an example, Microsoft has done it doubly pinch Word alone. From MS Word 1.0 successful 1983 up until Word 6 and nan almost wholly cosmetic alteration of Word 95 successful Office 95, it utilized 1 record format, called .DOC. Then, nan buggy and troubled Word 97 brought successful a caller one, to muddy nan waters still called .DOC, which remained until Office 2003. There was small caller functionality successful Office 97 speech from Outlook and, of course, nan universally loved Office Assistant, by default nan celebrated Clippy.

Even if you were — for illustration nan writer – perfectly happy pinch Office 95, if nan group you worked pinch – family, co-workers, aliases clients – had nan caller version, you beautiful overmuch had to upgrade, because you would different nary longer beryllium capable to unfastened immoderate files they sent you. The maneuver worked, truthful Microsoft did it again, pinch nan new .DOCX format successful Office 2007… presumably realizing that its new "ribbon" UI would inhibit adoption.

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  • Ubuntu's 'Mantic Minotaur' peeks retired of nan labyrinth
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Intentionally creating incompatibility and interoperability difficulties pinch older versions aliases entrenched products is simply a time-honored measurement of getting reluctant users to adopt caller ones. That's why we wrote that you cannot bargain software

For each that nan GNOME communities talk astir nan deficiency of testing connected X11, aliases nan breathtaking caller abilities of Wayland compared to, moreover so, arsenic a type of show server, it's been astir for immoderate 13 years now. If it were arsenic compelling arsenic its advocates deliberation it is, surely much group – and desktops – would person adopted it. They haven't, and truthful now, it seems that it has go basal to unit them. ®