This is a follow-up post to my client-side-decorations (CSD) on Wayland post. Personally I was positively surprised by the feedback in comments and on various media sites. Hardly any “you are an idiot” – for a controversial subject this is very positive.
There was one comment which motivated me to write another post on the topic:
I see strong arguments/feelings for both CSD and server side – can there by a hybrid approach?
This is exactly the point. Neither client side (CSD) nor server side decorations (SSD) are the holy grail. Both have advantages, both have disadvantages. Nobody is right here, nobody is wrong. If someone says he prefers CSD, he is right, if I say I prefer SSD, I am right. That’s quite important to get. In the end one has to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages and then decide which is the less evil.
For me this is server side decorations because of the disadvantages I pointed out for our workspaces. Others might decide differently and that’s just fine. I do not want to enforce SSD on anyone who prefers client side decorations.
In fact I would be fine with CSD if there would be an approach to make them work right. There have been many comments that it really doesn’t matter as it belongs in the toolkit and they will look the same. Yes of course, I agree that decorations belong into the toolkit and that they should adapt to the needs of the workspace they are running in. But I don’t believe the toolkit (except Qt) can do that. As long as there are so huge integration issues like getting an unfitting file dialog in the KDE workspaces, I just don’t trust that toolkits can do it. In that aspect there have been quite some comments, that the integration is already really bad, so it doesn’t matter if that part breaks as well. Let’s just say that I disagree here I want to have more integration not less.
So in the end it has to be a hybrid approach. There are valid usecases for client side decorations even on a system enforcing server-side decorations (best example: Yakuake), but if the system does not want decorations (e.g. Plasma Active) the client’s should not draw an own decoration. And of course there is the Chromium use-case where the user should be allowed to decide.
All it needs is a small protocol allowing the server to negotiate with the clients whether CSD should be used or not (that would be useful on X11, too). This actually does not mean an overhead, because also for CSD there should be some negotiation between server and client to figure out things like button position, which buttons, colors, style and so on – which goes in the direction of CSD done right. Just saying: “it’s the Client’s responsibility” is causing the issues I’m afraid of.