This weekend a group of KDE hackers met in a small mountain village, Randa, in Switzerland to discuss the future of the KDE Frameworks. I was not present, but started on Saturday an endevour for the future of the KDE Plasma Workspaces. Yesterday evening I arrived in the new world:
This is not just the Desktop Grid effect. The gears window you can see on each of the desktops is a Wayland
client, all other windows are X clients. For me this is a rather historic event, not just for KDE but also and especially for Wayland. Up to now there have only been the demo compositor and the QtCompositor as Wayland Compositors. They are more or less just proof of concept. But this is different event: we have here a normal X11 window manager and are able to integrate Wayland clients into the compositing scene just as if it were an X client. This is not a Wayland compositor, it is a X compositor with an implemented Wayland Server component.
This is the proof that there is a sensible migration path from X11 to Wayland. We can use our normal and known X system and manage Wayland clients in it. There is no need to implement the complete stack on top of Wayland first with possible regression. As we can see the Effect Framework does not need any adjustment to support Wayland Clients, which means we can give the user their known KDE Workspace experience. For the user it is irrelevant if a window is an X or Wayland client, it is just a window. For KDE this means that we don’t need and won’t break the desktop. We will switch to Wayland when we are ready, but at the same time we can offer Wayland to interested developers and users who want to experiment with it. For Plasma Active on the other hand we will switch to an X less Wayland-powered KWin as soon as possible.
Of course there is still a long way to go to get to Wayland. This is just rendering, we still need to implement the complete Window Management, transition the compositing away from X, break out X from KWin and lots more. It’s the result of four days where I spent a few hours each day on hacking on that topic. Which shows how simple the Wayland protocol is, although the documentation could be better
Now the next steps will be to clean up the code, document it and push it into a git branch. I hope to see many developers to pick up on it and to start implementing the window manager functionality and extending e.g. Plasma Desktop to support Wayland Clients in the Tasks Applet and many more such things.
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