Bonum Certa Men Certa

IBM Gaslighting While Breaking the GNU/Linux Desktop Experience

Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer.

IBM Gaslighting: “The New Linux Technologies Work Fine. It’s Just You!”

Wayland is Not Robust.

I got a heckler a while back who seems to do work involving administering IBM Red Hat systems, and he tried to tell me that Wayland works fine and it’s just me or my distribution.

I’ve searched the Web for “plasma crash wayland” and variations, and found users on recent releases of Ubuntu, Arch, and openSUSE (Leap and Tumbleweed) complaining about it and of course there’s me, with Debian 12.1 and I ran screaming to X11 when Wayland was causing issues here too after I had previously experienced all sorts of issues trying to run KDE on Wayland in openSUSE Leap 15.5.

I can’t believe Debian made this pile of crap the default. I’m far from the only person having lots of issues with KWin and Plasma Desktop on Wayland, and the issues just disappear for everyone when you go back to X11 (which is the default for openSUSE KDE on Leap).

IBM is just replacing all of these mature and stable interfaces, to the Linux kernel (with inferior and buggy systemd units/code), they’ve replaced Pulseaudio with Pipewire, leading to audio corruption issues of the sort Pulseaudio had 15 years ago which have been fixed since forever.

Oh, you want to smack it so it’ll stop sounding like a crackling tin can? Restart Fedora and wait until a few hours later when it does that again.

And they’ve done Wayland to “replace X11”, and now there’s no reliable way to run KDE on it and even in GNOME, you run XWayland for Wine and it causes Windows programs to flake out and crash when you do something like drop files on them from Nautilus (the file manager).

As long as X11 remains an option I’m going to use it.

KDE themselves has a list of “Wayland Showstoppers”. Some are fixed upstream in Qt6, but Long Term Stable distributions are shipping Plasma Desktop 5.27.5, which is based on Qt5.

Of course, many issues are still unresolved regardless, and don’t even have a proposed patch on the bug tracker.

IBM doesn’t care what sort of damage they cause to non-GNOME desktops on Linux.

Their answer to KDE was to throw it out of RHEL.

In Fedora, it’s maintained largely by Windows and Mac users (as revealed by Element, the Web app for

Since KDE has a traditional desktop, it’s what most PC users would really want to use.

If they sat down to two identical PCs, one running GNOME and the other using KDE, most would pick KDE.

In over 10 years of using GNOME 3 and 4x, I couldn’t get past expecting there to be a desktop there, with a system tray, and a taskbar, like every normal desktop environment has.

IBM doesn’t even ship GNOME looking like it does in Fedora. Ubuntu doesn’t either. Neither does System76.

They all hack it to death with shell extensions to try to beat it into some kind of shape.

As much as I dislike Ubuntu in general (mainly because of Snaps and cozying up to Microsoft), I think they’ve gone to the most effort of restoring some kind of sane and usable desktop experience to GNOME.

It’s really a shame that there’s so much backing of GNOME, which is just inferior in every way, especially this Windows 8-like “Let’s see how much we can torture them and force our branding everywhere.” mentality to the GUI.

It’s more of a shame that the people behind GNOME (largely IBM, through Red Hat) feel like they have to “shoot out the tires” of the competition with broken garbage like Wayland instead of a little competition for who can write better programs.

There’s really few arguments in Wayland’s favor.

The worst thing about defaulting Debian KDE to Wayland is that Debian promotes IBM’s vandalism and helping them make Linux appear to be “broken” if a user does not know to turn off Wayland at the log-in screen and choose “Plasma on X11” instead.

This whole Wayland farce has been going on for long enough without any real results.

The more you look, the more people who got blindsided by this idiotic default look for a way back to X.

One user in Reddit says that if you use Nvidia cards, the log-in screen immediately returns to the log-in screen in Debian KDE on Wayland and it’s not even clear to the user why.

In 2023, more than 10 years later, remote desktop software still won’t work in Wayland. Why? More bogus “Something something SECURITY!”.

This guy here says KWin on Wayland makes his brightness controls go from “15% to 100%”.

I mean, you can go on endlessly. People are clearly having problems with Wayland and the consensus is “just wait longer” and hopefully some of the issues will start disappearing.

What does the user get in exchange for using Wayland? Nothing. Only bugs that don’t happen on X11.

It would be completely different if they found a way to make Wayland draw things to your display 40% faster or something, but….it doesn’t even do that.

I’ve been around Linux since 1998. It was far from perfect then, but by 2010 or so it had been cleaned up and was really easy to install and use without any serious problems.

IBM has brought us full circle and vomited out the biggest mess onto desktop users I’ve seen in over two and a half decades.

Almost everyone is having some trouble out of Wayland if they’ve tried using it for a while or for enough NORMAL desktop tasks.

But IBM only considers running GNOME so you can open Firefox and load Microsoft Office as the sole purpose of desktop PCs now, and Wayland can handle that, so “stable”.

Apparently, enough time has gone by that the Old Guard of IBM who at least remember how badly Microsoft screwed them over on OS/2 are all gone. Now they’re a satellite state.

I like to say Wayland is “Negative work.” not only because it just replaces X11 with inferior beta software-quality interfaces, sometimes missing entirely, where everyone has to rewrite the same function from scratch, but because it requires work that doesn’t involve actually improving the desktop and window management for the users.

A lot of work has been poured into get KDE to do things it already did on X11, and with code that is new and unstable, and incomplete.

“Negative work” was also a direct quote from IBM.

They accused Microsoft of “negative work” when Microsoft was rewriting OS/2 modules that had already been written by IBM, and Microsoft said they were optimizing it. But what was really going on was they were adding bugs and breaking OS/2 software and causing IBM’s customers to get mad at IBM.

This Wayland thing is just “rewriting modules that worked” and “breaking programs” in the process, forcing other software developers to write bad Wayland code and get negative feedback on it from users. “Negative work.”

In IBM’s case, they could care less what happens when I drag files onto a Windows program, or one using XWayland. None of the IBM execs are using desktop Linux.

But I care.

I do not consider X11 programs, the majority of programs, to be some “optional legacy code”, due to office politics at IBM, coming down from managers who don’t even run Linux.

Community distributions like Debian have an excellent opportunity they’re not taking.


Hell, it’s easier than ever. Its applications (and GTK ones) are in Flatpak or AppImage or something, where the GNOME people can containerize the mess so it’s not spewing GTK nonsense out everywhere.

Set KDE back to X11.

GNOME applications are no great loss anyway. Most of them are trash. Remember, the people paying to develop it it don’t even use it.

When I needed to file PDF documents with the US federal government and had Fedora with GNOME, I quickly found GNOME’s PDF application to be unusable, and had to bring in Okular, a KDE program, to do the job of…..fillable forms.

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