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07 November 2010 @ 09:36 am
X11, Wayland, network transparency  
This morning, I heard that Ubuntu was going to transition from Xorg to Wayland, and I immediately wondered what was going to happen to some of the features I loved in X11. I popped into their IRC channel, and asked. Here's a transcript. (Slightly redacted to remove other ambient conversation.)

14:11 -!- Irssi: #wayland: Total of 74 nicks [0 ops, 0 halfops, 0 voices, 74 normal]
14:11 -!- Channel #wayland created Mon Jan 25 17:35:42 2010
14:11 -!- Irssi: Join to #wayland was synced in 0 secs

14:11 < oliver602> How often do people make use of network transperency in X?

14:11 < shortcircuit> * I DO *
14:12 < shortcircuit> That's the big reason I came in...to ask if Wayland was going to support that...
14:12 < shortcircuit> In fact, I'm in the process of setting up an app server, since I've got a box with more beef than I can otherwise use.

14:13 < MatthiasF> shortcircuit: yes but it will only support bitmap protocols

14:14 < shortcircuit> MatthiasF: Will it at least support intelligent compression (i.e. limited update regions)?
14:16 < shortcircuit> Also, one of the things I love about X's network transparency is the seamless integration of remote apps into the local X server, resizable and all. RDP and VNC don't do that. Will Wayland?

14:17 < MatthiasF> shortcircuit: yes and yes, the protocol can do it. but network transparency is the last priority

14:19 < shortcircuit> MatthiasF: Cool. At least it's on the list. Will it be supported before the X11 shim is dropped?

14:20 < giselher> shortcircuit: nobody knows :)

14:21 < MatthiasF> shortcircuit: probably

14:24 < shortcircuit> MatthiasF: One last question; will Wayland expose GPGPU processing capabilities (such as available through OpenCL)? How will such computation libraries coexist in the Wayland architecture?

14:25 < MatthiasF> shortcircuit: Wayland doesn't expose any rendering API, that's what makes it simpler

14:26 < shortcircuit> MatthiasF: Point, but processing libraries that make use of the GPU will compete with Wayland's rendering for resources. Do you have any thoughts or plans for managing or coping with that?

14:26 < MatthiasF> shortcircuit: that's handled by drm not wayland

14:27 < shortcircuit> Ah, ok. Thanks. :)

squiggleslashsquiggleslash on November 7th, 2010 03:21 pm (UTC)
Have to say I'm very excited by it
I've always seen X11 as a very good prototype for a UI API, but creating a production version is long overdue, and I love the fact that a lot of Wayland seems to be based around OpenGL.

I'm glad that network transparency is apparently a TODO item even if it's somewhere near the bottom. In fact, in some ways I'd prefer it to be near the bottom, the biggest risk is that a basic "Let's just copy X11" or "Let's just copy VNC" type thing will happen, and I'd really like to see something different. Indeed, I'm wondering if Wayland is the right place to put it.
Michael Molmmol_6453 on November 7th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Have to say I'm very excited by it
You know, in your case, I'd strongly recommend you hit #wayland on Freenode and participate.
ext_312804 on November 7th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
Ummm yeah. Cool.
Decades of networking transparency down the crapper, since its "last priority".

Dudes, that is what makes X rock so hard. I use it everyday. I'm 1500 miles away from my Colo and Co-Workers are in 2 countries, 6 states... Some of them use Ubuntu, many use CentOS v.latest, other use OSX. I use (GUI) tools on Co-Workers machines regularly to fix up things for them.

If that networking transparency just up and "goes away" or takes a *serious* dive in functionality... feh, this isn't much more than a self-centered plan to remove the remote ability I need everyday.

FYI, I'm all for it, though from an improvement on the "local computer" side of things, but if it breaks things I need everyday... I'ma gonna be pissed.
Thadcoderjoe on November 9th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Looking at their architecture page, I don't understand why the need a new protocol between the client and server. I would think they could keep the same protocol, while still moving the compositor features into the server. Ignoring protocols spoken between blocks, that is the only difference I see between their X diagram and their Wayland diagram.