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Stick a fork in it! KDE's window manager KWin officially has a full fork with a new project called KWinFT, with an aim to support modern development practices and further expand Wayland support.

Announced by Roman Gilg, the same developer who became a contractor for Valve last year and part of that work was actually to improve KWin so it looks like this may have come as a result of that. What's interesting about KWinFT, is that it's supposed to be a "drop-in replacements for KDE's window manager KWin and its accompanying KWayland library" making it easy to get started with it.

Gilg said they did this because "Classic KWin can only be moved with caution, since many people rely on it in their daily computing and there are just as many other stakeholders" so they can push through more advanced changes and overhauls.

What's already in? According to Gilg:

  • My rework of KWin's composition pipeline that, according to some early feedback last year, improves the presentation greatly on X11 and Wayland. Additionally a timer was added to minimize the latency from image creation to its depiction on screen.
  • The Wayland viewporter extension was implemented enabling better presentation of content for example for video players and with the next XWayland major release to emulate resolution changes for many older games.
  • Full support for output rotation and mirroring in the Wayland session.

The first public release was put out along with the announcement and if you use Manjaro Linux, it's already available in the unstable branch under the kwinft package. You can read the announcement here.

What are your thoughts on this? As someone who transitioned to KDE from the GNOME a while ago, anything that can further improve it sounds excellent.

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STiAT 16 Apr, 2020
I am not for full forks. We'll see if this projects won't join together again once KWinFT has reasonable stability, or maybe it will replace KWin and the teams join together.

I understand the need to move faster at the risk of breaking, and that KDE is reluctant to do that. For the future it would be great if those improvements find their way to KWin / get upstreamed. Much like Proton and Wine or DXVK/D9VK.
gojul 16 Apr, 2020
I hope the fork is merged back later on, otherwise it is a waste of time and energy.
CatKiller 16 Apr, 2020
An experimental branch that tests things out before they get polished and moved upstream would be great. This, though, sounds like someone just got grumpy that their "revolutionary" Wayland ideas weren't immediately accepted by Kwin. I hope it turns into the former even though it's starting out as the latter.
raneon 16 Apr, 2020
Roman is one of the few main developers of kwin. A separate branch to develop new ideas in a clear room is more than welcome. I use Wayland every day and the shortcomings of kwin probably can be addressed only by an independent approach like this. There are still several major issues in kwin that are known since forever. KWinFT sounds like there is new hope. A restart is necessary from time to time and I'm sure it will help stable kwin too!

Last edited by raneon on 16 April 2020 at 12:15 pm UTC
Mohandevir 16 Apr, 2020
Does it means that Valve is planning on using KWinFt at some point? SteamOS Clockwerk? Gamescope?
axredneck 16 Apr, 2020
Now waiting for XWayland acceleration on Nvidia
no_information_here 16 Apr, 2020
This looks interesting. I hope his ideas can be rolled back in to KWin once the project is mature.

Quoting: MohandevirDoes it means that Valve is planning on using KWinFt at some point? SteamOS Clockwerk? Gamescope?
That was a question that jumped out to me, as well.
mylka 16 Apr, 2020
Quoting: MohandevirDoes it means that Valve is planning on using KWinFt at some point? SteamOS Clockwerk? Gamescope?

didnt valve do something for KDE and VR?
TheRiddick 17 Apr, 2020
in which millennium will NVIDIA drivers properly support Wayland?
Shmerl 17 Apr, 2020
Nice! KWin + Wayland + Vulkan for the win!
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