Linux: Xorg vs. Wayland

I think this needs to be emphasized more. There are many people who love Xorg, but there appears to be a big difference between development efforts between Xorg and Wayland.

Wayland would seem to be the future for Linux. By not embracing it now (speaking of distros and developers here), you are just slowing things down for no reason. System76 doesn’t have the bandwidth to do their own distro, their own DE, AND continue Xorg development.

Edit: I misspoke here, as Cosmic DE is natively supporting Wayland and will implement Xwayland for compatibility. This is great stuff!

They just don’t. So, I see this as a reason to avoid Pop OS, unless you are using their hardware. That being said, a good reason System76 gives that they are still supporting Xorg is because many of the hardware configurations they sell only work with Xorg now. To be clear this is only the case because the software they are using has not been updated to use Wayland. (NVIDIA is the biggest culprit here as well. There is a reason why Linus Torvalds does not have the kindest gestures or things to say to them.)

I highly disagree. Wayland is barely useable if you go outside of your web browsing and video watching experience.

Whether it’s the lack of screen capture support, the tearing issues with intel drivers, the broken fractional scaling options and even purposefully breaking netbsd support.

And that is by ignoring the features that worked before and are broken now.

Unless something proves to be more mature and useful you can’t force people to switch. Why would users stay on an inferior platform? Those Xorg users know too well how much of an hit-or-miss wayland is, many have experienced it first-hand, including me.

Even something like hardware acceleration for media playback still requires Xorg on propietary nvidia drivers, even open-gpu has issues.

You can see a non-conclusive list of nvidia issues with wayland here.

Fedora just deprecated Xorg for their next release (this is the first step before removal). Most probably other distributions will not take too long to follow suit.

This may be true if you are using NVIDIA GPUs, but my Framework 11th and 12th gens have been using Wayland for everything. Screen captures is there, remote desktop is there, copy and paste is there. And whatever is missing there is xwayland filling in the gaps.

Wayland has no screen tearing, and is far easier on the hardware, because it isn’t the everything and the kitchen sink bundled together that Xorg is. I seriously have had a much better experience with Wayland than I have had with Xorg.

As mentioned though, if you are using any kind of legacy software or hardware you have very little choice. Xorg is the one and only answer.

In general Wayland is a breath of fresh air, and really, IMHO, is the way it should have been done all along.

Also if I was building a game engine and I had to choose between supporting Xorg or Wayland, I would choose Wayland. It is like a streamlined efficient sports cars, and Xorg is a rusty leaking old steam locomotive.

That is a slight exxageration, and I’m not really trying to poo poo Xorg. There are cases where it is required still, but those cases are NOT because Xorg is just the best choice. It is because it is the ONLY choice.


This discourse should probably be moved to a new thread (The State of Wayland or similar), but I’m gonna interact with it anyway.

Oof, hopefully Wayland support for nvidia will improve before then. I’m still using x11 because of desktop mouse stuttering with my nvidia eGPU on Wayland. All I have to contend with right now is minor screen tearing that can apparently be solved by better hardware (a G-Sync screen)

(Quoted post edited.)

I’ll adopt Wayland when doing so won’t be a regression in functionality. I’m not optimistic about having a lot of reduced functionality now for a better technology in the future: people will adopt what works. Right now, xorg works, Wayland almost works but has a few dealbreakers. I ask the early adopters to be patient with us. I waited two years and six tries to swap to Linux for my dealbreaker issues with my eGPU to be resolved in kernel space. You can do the same with us xorg believers.

Fedora has not deprecated Xorg, you are probably confusing this with the announcement that RedHat is deprecating it in RHEL 10. RHEL can deprecate Xorg without affecting its use in Fedora since it is downstream. Announcing it is deprecated in RHEL 10 make sense, since the release date of RHEL 10 hasn’t even been announced yet, and this will mean they won’t have to support it in RHEL 11 (which would probably be released in 3-6 years, but need to be supported for at least a decade after that). Fedora, with its much quicker release cycle of every 6 months, can afford to keep it around for a while to let more things get fixed to work with wayland.

What Fedora is doing is removing some older Xorg drivers (Changes/LegacyXorgDriverRemoval - Fedora Project Wiki) and some more esoteric features (e.g. Changes/XServerProhibitsByteSwappedClients - Fedora Project Wiki) to reduce the maintenance burden, and also are slowly switching more DEs/DMs over to wayland by default (e.g. Changes/WaylandByDefaultForSDDM - Fedora Project Wiki).


Same here. I switched over fully to Wayland on Fedora 36. Since then it has been flawless, and I do a lot more than just browse and watch videos.

To see the recent updates, just go visit their Gitlab repo at this link:

8 Xorg projects were updated on May 7th, 4 on May 5th, and so on. So it is very active.

And about “technologically sound”: it is very sound, it is network-proof since almost its beginning, whereas Wayland got aware of this requirement (“oopsy”) very recently, and also it marries extremely well with all classical Linux components, contrary to Wayland which was designed in the era of SystemD and so doesn’t believe in supporting anymore what everybody (of a certain age) went to great lengths to learn using years ago, and wants to reinvent the wheel…

Now tell me if you also want to open the VIM/Emacs frontline, I’m ready :grin:

I totally understand. I should have specified that I was referring to distros and developers, and not the end users. I agree with your position.

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Wayland was updated 2 hours ago. Just having a commit in gitlab doesn’t mean that it is actively being developed. It could be just maintained. My point is that almost all distros are moving towards Wayland, and there is a reason for it.

That said, I’m not trying to start a war between the Xorg users and Wayland users. If Xorg is still being actively developed (versus maintained) then I whole heartedly support it. Something still require it, and it getting updated could be the lifeline those applications need to stay usable.


Xorg is mainly maintained because it is already full-featured, precisely.

But there are still features being worked on, for example the amdgpu driver hot-plug capability has been added very recently.

Almost all distros have also migrated to SystemD, and that’s a shame in my opinion…

Oh, don’t worry! You can’t start something that was already going on without you :grin:

Right now if I wanted to switch to Wayland, it would be quite a big deal if I don’t want to change everything I’m used to: Xfce is incompatible with Wayland, so I’d have to use an intermediate layer such as XWayland, and also I’m not so sure that it can run without SystemD and DBus like Xorg does. (yeah I’ve managed to get a very lean system, and I’d like to keep it like that, for the sake of easy monitoring and repair)

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@Mapleleaf I totally get it. There are many things about Xorg that I really like. For me though, most of the time, I just prefer things taking up as little of my system’s resources as possible. A pure Wayland system just uses significantly less resources.

On today’s hardware such a concern isn’t that big of a thing, but it is still a metric worth noticing.


Okay, this thread is getting pretty long in the tooth.

Most popular distros support both. Gnome makes it easy to use what works best for you at user login.

Appreciate the perspectives from all sides, use what you prefer. Let’s call it done from here. These things work themselves out in development. /end


Does wayland actually exist?

Every time I get a new computer, I install linux on it and for fun I try wayland. To date I tried 6 computers with different linux distributions, and not a single one booted into wayland. And no, not a single one has a nividia gpu, Processors are intel, amd you name it of different generations

At this point it makes me think that wayland is some april fools joke and everyone is in on it.

But if wayland is going to be the norm, it has to actually at least boot properly! Now sure if I spend a day or 2 debugging it I am sure I’ll figure it out, but I don’t bother because if it can’t even get that right I can only imagine how many other issues

Wayland is a concept (if concepts or specification “exist” is a philosophical topic above my head), there are a couple implementations of it that definitely exist.

I have only used sway (that uses the wlroots implementation) so far and that worked pretty great but you have to keep in mind that the wayland landscape improves at a rapid rate.

Wayland is not involved in booting, if booting fails something else is quite wrong.

I am starting to think you and I have different meanings for the word boot. Anyway, I initially switched over for better gpu hotpluging and it worked pretty much right out of the box.

The state of wayland is that what works works as well or better than on x11, and what doesn’t doesn’t at all and is really hard to impossible to work around until it gets implemented. It’s pretty binary in that way.

As long as you don’t use nvidia of course, with nvidia everything is various levels of boned and you should probably stick to x XD.

I don’t know if wayland is ready for mass adoption jet, especially because nvidia is still a thing and probably won’t stop doing so for a while and x is still fine, it’s just not getting better.

Anyway, the beautiful part of linux is you can do what you want with it, if you want to use x for the next 10 years you can.

Sorry, I should have been more clear, probably a more technically correct way to say it is start wayland session. Whenever I pick wayland, I generally just either get a black screen or just it freezes up and nothing happens.

I can understand things crashing here and there, but not being able to start it out of box makes it a no go in most people’s books

What flavour of wayland were you trying and on what distor?

I have Nvidia gpu in my laptop.

I tried sway on manjaro and it worked when I started it with sway --unsupported-gpu from tty (the one from Ctrl+Alt+F) but it didn’t work when I tried to start it by editing the greeter file. Greeter way is crashing for me.

I couldn’t record my screen but I could watch video, record via webcam, browse via firefox and change display’s DPI. Some settings were off too and I don’t know how I’d change them.
Also I’d have to find alternatives to power manager and so on that currently work on X11 so I didn’t even bother to test hibernation.
Volume control buttons didn’t work too.
But screen tearing was fully nonexistent. I experience it a little bit when I use i3 via X11.
Also I love the DPI setting in wayland. I use a hack via xrandr to increase size and it’s alright but it could be better without this hack.

My boy over here on hard mode XD. Shitty drivers plus flaky distro isn’t making thing easy.

Sway is probably the least nvidia compatible wayland one out there and starting it from a x based greeter isn’t making things better (the wayland based greeters are still a bit shit though).

Pretty sure screen recoding was implemented fairly reccently.

tlp or what do you mean by power manager?

Hybernation and sleep work just fine but they also don’t really have anything to do with the display manager.

Depends on how you do audio, if you do pipewire you can use pw-volume + a few lines of sway config to get that.

I’d freaking hope so with the forced vsync and all that XD.

That’s pretty much the wayland difference summed up, x can do everything as long as you do enough hacky stuff, wayland can do some stuff but with way less hacks.

Your problems with Wayland probably come from an incorrect device configuration. Previously, the kernel was causing issues when I’d try to boot with Wayland, but now as long as I build the kmods on Wayland, it’ll start just fine, no greeter modification needed (stuttering’s another story…). PRIME (the name for the tool to run a laptop with two gpus, one Intel one nvidia) is notoriously difficult to set up devices for correctly.