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State of wayland in 2022

Published on 2023-01-15 linux wayland

I have written about wayland before and how I try to make the switch about once a year and then quickly give up and move back to X11. Currently I am doing another test run and thought that I could turn this into a series: Every time I try out wayland, I will write a blog post about what improved and what still doesn’t work.

My current test run is still running, so if I am lucky this is both the first and final entry in that series. But, as you will see, there is still a lot of potential for frustration.

Please do not read this as a criticism of wayland as a whole. I understand that my use case may not be super common. These are just my personal notes on how well wayland works for me.

The setup

My OS is Debian Bookworm, so all software is in the version that is included with that OS.

I basically use the same setup I described in 2020 where sway acts as a generic display server and an IPC client does the actual window management.

I am not yet fully decided on sway-bar vs waybar, but for now I am using sway-bar with a custom status script. In addition there are several smaller tools that are somewhat needed for a complete desktop: swayidle, swaylock, grim, slurp, wl-clipboard, and xdg-desktop-portal-wlr.

What improved?

What needs more work?

Conclusion

So there you have it. 14 years after the initial wayland release we do have a usable desktop experience. Unfortunately, there are still gaping holes. Fortunately, there is an active community and things are constantly improving. I am excited to see what will have changed when I will do the next entry in this series.