Bonum Certa Men Certa

XWayland Rootfull: For When the Mountain Won’t Come to Muhammad



Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer.

I was actually looking into the problem of IBM Red Hat/Fedora trying to kill the X.org Server with fire, and came across something funny that I didn’t know about.



XWayland “Rootfull”, or Rootful.



They’ve spelled it both ways in patches, and as everyone who has dealt with IBM Red Hat knows, quite often the patches are the documentation.



Anyway, the idea with “Rootfull” is that desktop environments that don’t “support” Wayland (because their developers don’t like going down rabbit holes) will run under Wayland whether they like it or not.



Since IBM has done about umpteen million patches to try to beat XWayland into some sort of shape so the user can run something besides the three applications with native Wayland support that are not from their desktop environment, and it STILL does not work properly in common cases under a native Wayland window manager, they are apparently going to have a session for these desktops that’s technically Wayland.



As long as you define Wayland as, “About the only thing it does is open XWayland, then run the X11 window managers and give them the entire screen.”



Well, that’s one way to handle this, I guess.



“We have to kill X11!”



Why?



“So you can run X11!”

-IBM Red Hat


Since KWin_Wayland is nowhere near ready, it would be really nice if Fedora would at least let KDE users run the working KWin_X11 under XWayland Rootfull as an X11 window manager.



In fact, KDE should have only “supported” Wayland like this if a distribution insisted on dropping the X Server.



They should not have written one line of code for “native” Wayland support, because it duplicates everything that already works fine, and does it poorly, and now IBM is pissed that almost nobody wants Wayland and is going to open up a really big fake-o X Server that’s really doing and drawing everything the user is interacting with the desktop for.



Nothing running directly under Wayland is very stable or dependable.



I’m going to laugh hard when they do this “Rootfull” thing and Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, and the dozens of X11 window managers which will never be ported to Wayland work better than the ones where they rewrote everything, despite the fact that the Wayland specification is woefully incomplete, inadequate, buggy, requires custom protocols to handle totally foreseeable use cases, and largely has to be re-written in different code for each window manager leading to different bugs depending on what implementation you’re using.



The most reliable way to support Wayland appears to be to not lift a finger, keep using X11, and let IBM continue to pay salaries claiming that we’ve moved beyond the X Server.



And sure everyone involved in this Wayland quagmire has done more work trying to get rid of X11 only to fail and keep the bulk of it around forever anyway.



Just don’t say “wasted efforts” or “angry users” or “confused developers”. Just don’t tell them they’re on meth.



IBM Red Hat has invested a lot of money in this thing, and now like George W. Bush having failed to find the WMDs, has to explain why it really is all a success and you’re just not smart enough to see it for what an incredible success it really is.



About the only thing I’ve heard anyone say Wayland does better than X11 that might be true is “crash the entire desktop if the screen locker dies instead of just unlocking the screen”, however Jamie Zawinski did a really good job at not allowing unauthorized screen unlocks with XScreenSaver.



It was when other people came in, started screwing around, and tying it into complex GUI toolkits, code libraries, and stuff, that you could just “mash the keyboard and crash the screen locker”.



No matter how good the code you write is, nothing is going to stop people from [1] screwing it up with their own incompetence, or [2] (IBM Red Hat) swiping code they’re too dumb to understand and plagiarizing it, and then going on to write Wayland.



For what it’s worth, I think XScreenSaver is a good program.



I use it on KDE on Debian on X11 now that this Wayland nightmare on GNOME has (for me) been put to bed, and for live wallpaper of flying toasters on my Android phone.



When I was a child in 1994 and woke up in the recovery room after a fairly awful surgery, I probably sat and stared at Flying Toasters for an hour because I was in a lot of pain and I couldn’t really move and it was the After Dark module on one of the monitors in the hospital.



I ended up buying a port of After Dark to Windows, published by Sierra On-Line (one of the better software publishers for games in the 90s for the PCs of the era).



One thing Wayland definitely does do is take my Flying Toasters from me again. It has no concept of screensavers, just like GNOME 3 didn’t.



I want to know, where on the doll, screensavers touched Red Hat.

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