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Another exciting moment for fans of Wayland and the future of Linux, especially if you're an NVIDIA user, as the work to provide hardware accelerated rendering for NVIDIA GPUs was merged in for Xwayland. We've been following this work for a while, as an upcoming NVIDIA driver will have the code in for everything to be in place (likely NVIDIA 470).

To save you clicking around, this is what NVIDIA engineer Erik Kurzinger said about the patches:

These two patches are intended to accompany upcoming support in the proprietary NVIDIA driver for hardware accelerated GL and Vulkan rendering with Xwayland. They shouldn't interfere with the current swrast-based GL support, so once the driver-side changes are out the door things should just start working. I wanted to send these out for consideration first, though, in case anyone has any substantial concerns with the general approach. See the commit messages for further details on the implementation.

Performance should be roughly on-par with native X11 based on the benchmarking I've done. There's still an annoying extra copy required for presentation of windowed applications, but the impact doesn't appear to be significant, and full-screen applications won't have that issue (provided the compositor supports the required zwp_linux_dmabuf_v1 interface).

Since more distributions are moving over to Wayland from the old Xorg, this is a huge and important step. Even Ubuntu is targetting Wayland as the default for the upcoming Ubuntu 21.04 release. Still, it will be some time before all the major distributions have releases out with this new Xwayland support in for NVIDIA. It's possible we will see this land in the likes of Ubuntu 21.10, so more likely towards the end of this year.

You can see the Merge Request here.

Other interesting upcoming work includes another Merge Request that's not yet merged, which would enable the loading of alternative GBM backends.

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chr 17 Apr
Quoting: redneckdrowI'm really glad it's finally happening, but I wonder just how necessary the switch to Wayland actually is. Dedoimedo released a rather thoughtful article on the subject, and I tend to agree with him on several points.

Warning! Grumpy lecturing ahead:
Spoiler, click me

Yes X's old code is a possible attack vector, but I don't know of any attacks ever targeting the display server in all the time I've been using Linux. Most attacks/malware seem to be aimed at headless servers and tend to be tailor made to exploit out of date installations. Besides, Wayland could have its own security concerns to deal with.

I don't get the need to reinvent the wheel here.

The desktop user just needs to be careful not to run scripts without checking them for things that look out of place. They're typically pathetically obvious even to people like me who know next to nothing about scripting. Also, never symlink libraries or put old libraries in /usr/lib or other global directories, that can lead to some real haberdashery.

Also, if you can help it, don't run GUI programs as root (pkexec doesn't work correctly with every program) anyway. Wayland does seem to protect the user from this gotcha, from what I read; I'll give it that at least.

Is there any reason to use Wayland other than the perception of security for the end user? I can't get a straight answer. Does XWayland still have any noticeable overhead when gaming? I'll give it a try when the new NVIDIA driver goes stable.

All things considered, I'll give Wayland a fair shake. I'll probably post my experience in the forums. If you've read this far, thank you. It took me 30 minutes to type this with my one good hand, and I appreciate it.

I agree with that article that the end-user experience is critical and that maybe we shouldn't deploy Wayland until it is 99.999% ready. But I disagree with the idea that Wayland exists due to re-writing things for the sake of re-writing things.

For me, the main bit is what Dedoimedo actually mentioned in their article - maintainability. Things that are not maintainable take huge amounts of extra effort to fix, improve and even keep working. So that is a perfectly good reason for redoing ancient software with outdated paradigms.
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