back to article Ubuntu reverting to Xorg in Bionic Beaver

Ten years' worth of effort to replace the Xorg graphics framework has been given a “must try harder” mark by Ubuntu, which says its next release will not use Wayland by default. Ubuntu's desktop engineering manager Will Cooke made the announcement last Friday, saying the decision applies to the Bionic Beaver release due in …

Linux

Waylaid

Wayland also doesn't work with propriety drivers, which you have to use on Ubuntu now if you have an Nvidia Optimus card or just want decent performance. I thought I'd give Wayland a try in Ubuntu 17.10, big mistake. No matter what drivers I use, Wayland just refuses to work anyway. So I'll be sticking with Xorg for the foreseeable future which in Linux terms is probably a decade or more.

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Re: Waylaid

I use the open source driver in Ubuntu with my AMD APU with Radeon graphics, and it is much preferable to the proprietary drivers in terms of stability. I've never had much luck with the proprietary drivers from either NVidia or AMD, as I have a very low tolerance for crashes.

On the other hand, I don't play games, so I can't say much about performance. The desktop is fast with no lags or visible graphics defects, and that is good enough for me. I would rather have the greater reliability of the open source drivers over the theoretical speed improvements of the proprietary ones. AMD's current proprietary drivers are based on the open source driver anyway, with just some features added.

As for Wayland, they're like nuclear fusion. They've been a year away from being "ready" for a great many years now. I'll believe it when I see it.

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Re: Waylaid

I use the open source driver in Ubuntu with my AMD APU

If you do that with Nvidia on a laptop you will fry it. Been there, tried that as recently as mid-2017. The thermal control in the Nvidia open source drivers does not work properly till this day. Last time I tried It survived trhough installing OS on it only to die reproducibly later on while moving data to the laptop.

This is the main reason I stick solely to AMD by the way - I also prefer the open source driver as well. While it's power control is incomplete on some of the most recent chipsets it is good enough for the system not to overheat. It has reached the point where you need to fight with Catalyst only if you want OpenCL.

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Anonymous Coward

I find this slightly embarassing

...in a "not much better than Microsoft" sense.

Goddamn, X sucks. But nothing else really works.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I find this slightly embarassing

Will Mr Gates please stop chuckling in the background and will Mr Balmer please stop rolling about the floor ....

Will Mr Nadella please stop his Database development for Linux, it's likely to get blamed for the Graphics Drives problems...

Just another one of those Linux things that geeks love it but everyone else hates ...

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LDS
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Re: I find this slightly embarassing

Even in Windows it's many years a crash of the shell doesn't bring down the whole session. Even the graphic driver can stop and be restarted, at least since Windows 7. If Wayland is way behind, it's far worse than Microsoft as well.

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Re: I find this slightly embarassing

Having had things go a bit odd if I've not dug in and turned off 'USB suspend' in the power settings, and seeing my lighting control box go dead -- then be able to restart the lighting software and no-one notice is a good thing.

Sorry folks, I rather like W10 (just like with any penguin flavour - it can take a while to configure things so a smooth ride)

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Re: I find this slightly embarassing

Obligatory read:

https://simson.net/ref/ugh.pdf#page=161

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Re: I find this slightly embarassing

Ha! Lovely. However: https://simson.net/ref/ugh.pdf#page=37

I also tried wayland. It is lighter and smoother in many ways, but I reverted back to LTS for the instance, since I actually want to use my computer.

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Re: I find this slightly embarassing

Strangely enough, every single contributor to TUHH is now happily using a system that is based on un*x. You will be assimilated ...

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Re: I find this slightly embarassing

Even in Windows it's many years a crash of the shell doesn't bring down the whole session. Even the graphic driver can stop and be restarted, at least since Windows 7. If Wayland is way behind, it's far worse than Microsoft as well.

That may well be the result of a "needs must" development ethic on account of just how frequent the blue screen of death used to be.

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Coat

Yes

But they're keeping systemd? - Mine's got K&R in the pocket >>===>

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Took 'em long enough.

Next up ... systemd, hopefully.

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I wonder...

What could have happened if all that (apparently) wasted effort had been used to help enhance Xorg itself?

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Re: I wonder...

Xorg's problem is it doesn't need enhancing, it needs drastically simplifying.

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Just to be clear...

This is not a change in direction. They are only reverting for 18.04 LTS, specifically because it is an 'LTS' release. 18.10 and onwards will be Wayland.

Like it or not, Wayland is the future, and a number of distros have already made the leap.

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Coat

Re: Just to be clear...

"Like it or not, Wayland is the future,.."

Mr Yutani would like a word.

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Re: Weyland will be the future when ...

IIRC the reasons for Wayland were to get the network out of the way so it would be fast and light and to drop a pile of legacy code.

Disks are cheap and no-one is going to notice a few megabytes of old libraries that never get paged into RAM. They will notice their absence when old applications stop working. Wayland needs (has?) a compatibility library so cutting out the legacy code is a non-starter.

The old requirements of X were 4MB RAM and 12MB of swap. Yes megabytes. X is small and light. Its the applications that can be huge and inefficient. Swapping in Wayland for X is not going to fix bloated applications.

If the client and server are the same machine, X uses shared memory for 'networking', so no overhead. When the client and server are on different machines, X can run well over networking kit from the 80s by sending a command stream. Wayland draws a picture, compresses it, sends that over the network, and decompresses it on the far side (they got this working in August of last year!). Calling that a huge step backwards is over generous.

When Weyland has been stable for years, working over a network (around 50% of my use case) on kit that runs on batteries then it will be a competitor for Xorg and might actually have a future. I expect the sun will become a red giant first.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weyland will be the future when ...

> IIRC the reasons for Wayland were to get the network out of the way

You're going to break my "ssh -X"? Noooo.......

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weyland will be the future when ...

Well, with more and more people adopting Linux for the desktop, running X over the wire (or air) is becoming an edge case.

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Unhappy

Re: Just to be clear...

"Like it or not, Wayland is the future, and a number of distros have already made the leap."

Or, "Resistance is futile!"

Now where have we heard that before?

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Re: Weyland will be the future when ...

more people adopting Linux for the desktop, running X over the wire (or air) is becoming an edge case

Back when people started to have more than one desktop, X over the wire became an every day occurrence. Now that desktops are slowly fading into the sunset, it makes sense to put cheap X servers where you want displays and have a big X client where the noise does not matter.

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Anonymous Coward

@Kroes Re: Weyland will be the future when ...

Thank you. Finally someone has made an actual technical contribution to these comments!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weyland will be the future when ...

Well, with more and more people adopting Linux for the desktop, running X over the wire (or air) is becoming an edge case.

Seems to me that with more widespread adoption of cloud services and thin clients, running a remote desktop over the wire is becoming the standard way of working.

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Trollface

Re: Mr Yutani would like a word

Yutani is a proto Indo-European word that translates roughly as "Sis Demdee". Really. You can't just make shit like this up...

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Alternatives?

There is Arcan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07nqZIFRDJg

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It is the video hardware driver's fault

To be honest, it is a problem with video drivers by lazy manufacturers like NVIDIA. On my Macbook with Intel Iris I did not have a single Wayland crash since the beta of 17.10, and I am hotplugging different monitors and projectors with HDMI and DP (Thunderbolt) all the time.

And it by the way has very useful features, e.g. flexible scaling when mixing high- and low-dpi screens. And all remote things still work if you just set the permissions, which you had to do before anyway for anyone who's not root.

However, making it non-default for the LTS version sounds like a sane choice from Ubuntu's perspective.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

I blame the customers for buying hardware without sufficient publicly available documentation for creating an independent open source driver, but I cannot see any way to fix that without a hypno-toad.

I am not root. All the remote stuff works fine with Xorg. I did not need to change any permissions. What are you talking about?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

Feel free to create you independent, open source hardware as well....

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

If you are user A running a X session and want to run an X app with user B, A has to set:

$ xhost local:

Before Wayland, this was not required if user B was root. With Wayland, it is required for Root as well. That is the only differnece. Set it and you can run Synaptic etc.

Btw: It is really not a good idea to run graphical apps as root like Synaptic does, and everybody knows that, so this is just legacy mode anyway. The graphical admin app should run as user and only execute batch jobs as root.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

Hardware does not have a license, hardware has patents.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

I'd have to disagree. On my NUC (Intel Iris graphics), I had major problems with 17.10. Every time the monitor is disconnected, the session crashed and all running programs closed. Disconnecting the monitor is often for me as the NUC runs as a little home-server and is controlled via a KVM. Only solution I could find in the end was to downgrade. Not sure whether this is a Wayland issue or a Gnome one, but either way it was a pretty nasty bug.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

"Hardware does not have a license, hardware has patents."

1. Drivers are S/W, not H/W

2. These days H/W is apt to include microcode (just ask Intel if you're in doubt) and that's S/W.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

Microcode is software, but in the sense that video files are software. Microcode are not computer programs.

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Anonymous Coward

"1. Drivers are S/W, not H/W"

Still, the driver may need to know and use patented features in ways that may yield a lot of information about the inner workings of a device. Face it: between protecting valuable IP and giving it away to support 4% of the PC market, they will choose the first option. Maybe writing optimized drivers for some vertical markets that happily ignore Stallman ideology.

BTW: you can have software patents as well.

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Re: "1. Drivers are S/W, not H/W"

I think patents are public and the authors are required to not keep anything secret.

So what is it that is protected ?

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Re: "1. Drivers are S/W, not H/W"

> So what is it that is protected ?

My understanding has always been that they are protecting their infringement of someone else's patent. Because nothing else makes sense.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

Software has copyright, hardware has patents, and anyone who has permission to use either of those from someone else has a license.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

Hardware has licenses too: https://www.ohwr.org/documents/294

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Re: Thanks baloc

I misunderstood what you were doing in your first post.

(I avoided synaptic partly for the reason you gave and partly because I I have some kit too small for graphical applications. dselect serves the same purpose as synaptic without the need for a GUI.)

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

You have Nvida and AMD. Now show me a video card manufacture that does what you want .

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

...in the sense that video files are software. Microcode are not computer programs.

You badly misunderstand microcode. I was a microcode developer. They are most certainly not equivalent to video files.

video files are files - they are not software. A video file isn't going to change based on input, the video player *software* does that.

Microcode output might be fixed for a specified input, but it is certainly capable of altering a systems output/behaviour as a function of the input. This is the very intent of microcode in HW - to allow configurability of HW once all those transistor circuits are baked.

Some architectures allow microcode to execute load/store and logical tests for Hw to exercise. This is why the Spectre and Meltdown bugs have microcode updates on supported HW.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

@Dave K Every time the monitor is disconnected, the session crashed and all running programs closed

The graphics core on most NUC products is mobile, rather than desktop, in origin - i.e. it's a CPU+GFX intended for laptop designs. As such, it assumes that it will ALWAYS have a monitor attached (laptop panel via eDP, or whatever) and hence, in its NUC incarnation, behaves oddly when there isn't one. Yeah, sucks.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

My servers have been headless for decades. It's not like you need a GUI to admin them.

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Re: It is the video hardware driver's fault

In this case, the "S/W" is the instructions for setting up the "H/W". Without those instructions, the hardware is useless. IMNECTHO, the instructions are an integral part of the hardware.

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Anonymous Coward

Bionic Beaver?

Sex robots, again?

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Re: Bionic Beaver?

Open sauce...

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Gnome shell really sucks.

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