Wayland takes the wheel as Red Hat bids farewell to X.org

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Red Hat reckons Wayland is now complete abundant to booty over as the alone affectation server in the accessible RHEL 10.

A blog post by Carlos Soriano Sanchez, arch of the GPU aggregation on RHEL, spells out account that doesn't appear as a big surprise: the abutting adaptation of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, accepted in 2025, will bead X.org and will accommodate alone a Wayland affectation server. As RHEL alone offers GNOME, that agency it will action the Mutter compositor and annihilation else.

When RHEL 8 was appear in 2019, Wayland became the absence affectation server, and back RHEL 9 appeared three years later, X.org was clearly deprecated. Soriano Sanchez goes on to say:

We begin this account agreeable for two reasons. Firstly, the X window arrangement is much afterpiece to 40 than 30 – we celebrated its 38th birthday in the average of aftermost year. X tore through its aboriginal ten above releases in aloof a few years. The first version was in 1984, and the 11th – which is why it's alleged X11 for abbreviate – was in 1987.

Secondly, as we acclaimed back a GNOME developer proposed that Gtk5 bead X11 support, Wayland itself is accepting old now. Work on it started in 2008; if RHEL 10 does address in 2025, Wayland will be 17. So at the time back the better action Linux goes Wayland-only, that agreement will in the aforementioned accepted ballpark age-wise that X11 was back Kristian Høgsberg started assignment on its replacement. At that time, X11 had been about for 21 years.

The Reg FOSS board charcoal somewhat agnostic about Wayland, but the analytical accumulation is accepting there. KDE 6 will be Wayland-only. As it happens, personally, this vulture isn't a big fan of either GNOME or KDE, so it reassures us that two of the best accepted Wayland holdouts are both adjusting their attitudes. Mint is experimenting with abutment in Cinnamon, and so is the Xfce team.

Over on the Arm ancillary of things, the new desktop in Raspberry Pi OS 5 has a array of grafted-together LXDE and Wayfire, and it works (so continued as you're not using a touchscreen anyway). The Asahi team, alive on Linux for Apple Silicon, appear six months ago that it was only targeting Wayland.

Some of the big, important apps are accepting there too. Firefox 121 aloof went into beta, and it will absence to apprehension anon to Wayland instead of via the complete XWayland server (don't panic: it will still assignment with X.org if you're not active Wayland). Another ambiguous app, the OBS Studio screencasting software, got built-in Wayland abutment in version 27. This was a deal-breaker for bodies accomplishing – well, whatever it is that livestreamers do. Its address is acceptable to abide a abstruseness to this graybeard, if we're honest.

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The absolute acceptation of this isn't activity to be the end user experience. There are still glitches, and some bodies will accept to apprentice new methods and techniques. When we wrote that Xfce now has the backing of Budgie in its Wayland efforts, the comments absolute a accomplished chat about brim Wayland desktops over SSH. For now, there are accessibility issues such as with awning magnifier and awning magnifier tools, application VR headsets, and best of all with Nvidia disciplinarian support… but they will get ironed out.

The absolute affair is developer support. Red Hat's all-inclusive aggregation of developers is the capital force abaft a huge aggregate of assignment on Linux, from the atom down. In Red Hat's own terms, it is upstream of about the accomplished industry. X.org still generally has CVEs and addition has to advance it, alike if it's not accepting new appearance any more. If Red Hat stops all its development efforts on X.org, it's not bright that anyone abroad will footfall up and volunteer.

One of the problems with how Wayland works is that anniversary window administrator charge apparatus the contour for itself in its own codebase. Wayland is aloof a protocol, not a affectation server. There's no absolute one-to-one bout amid Wayland's apparatus and those of an X11-based system, but the point is that there's no axial aggregate "Wayland server" for desktops to allotment and assignment calm on. The abutting affair to a "display server" in a Wayland arrangement is the compositor, and that's abundant like the window administrator beneath X11. Almost every desktop ambiance has its own, and actual few allotment them with added environments.

X11 works on every UNIX™ and Unix-like OS, but proprietary UNIX is dead. OSes such as AIX, Solaris, and HP-UX are in aliment mode. The aftermost bartering UNIX still affairs is Apple's macOS, and it doesn't use X11 at all, although you can still download XQuartz if you charge it.

X.org was forked from adaptation 4.4 of XFree86 in 2004 (XFree86 itself got to release 4.8.0 about the time Wayland came into existence). X11 is a actual ample and circuitous allotment of software, and as one of the primary accumulated backers accomplish aback from X.org and redeploys its developers, the approaching does not attending acceptable for this aftermost accommodating implementation.

If cipher volunteers to booty on the ample workload of advancement X.org, it will die. The assignment of accepting OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and DragonflyBSD to all abet on advancement a aggregate implementation, conceivably based on OpenBSD's Xenocara, is apparently alike added difficult. Xenocara does run on Linux – Hyperbola acclimated it, but that OS is in the action of affective to a BSD base.

Our advancement for anyone who wants to see the X Window System alive is to actively alpha alive out what must be retained, and animate the X12 initiative. Junk as abundant bequest as possible. X.org recently dropped byte-swapped clients, so accomplish X12 little-endian alone – the endianness angelic war is over. Only acquiesce accurate color, 24-bit (or higher) or nothing. No avant-garde X ambiance uses a font server, bead them. Some of this was already being discussed [PDF] in 2005. Today, maybe cede anon to OpenVG or Vulkan.

This would be an ballsy task, and after a bartering backer, it doesn't assume acceptable to happen. Perhaps it absolutely is time to aloof let X die. If that seems drastic, we admonish account chapter 7 of The Unix Hater's Handbook.

Perhaps the added independent-minded Unixes could do an end run about Wayland and switch to Arcan instead. Or alike alpha over. Don Hopkins, the columnist of that chapter, appropriate to us that a bigger plan would be to reimplement article affiliated to NeWS application JavaScript instead of PostScript. That sounds fun. ®