[PATCH wayland-web] FAQ: Modernise FAQ and inject some optimism

Bryce Harrington bryce at osg.samsung.com
Tue Jun 21 16:38:58 UTC 2016

On Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 09:26:31PM +1000, Daniel Stone wrote:
> The FAQ was clearly written a very long time ago, when user sessions
> were a pipe dream, session compositors were the important thing, and we
> had a lot more questions than answers.
> Now things have solidified a bit, and I'm writing this from a native
> Wayland client inside a native Wayland-on-KMS desktop, rewrite good
> chunks of the FAQ to reflect today's reality a little better.
> Signed-off-by: Daniel Stone <daniels at collabora.com>

Just gave it a very quick once over.  +1 on anything that helps get the
website better up to date.  Details can always be fixed up more later.

Acked-by: Bryce Harrington <bryce at osg.samsung.com>

> ---
>  faq.html | 115 ++++++++++++++++++++++++---------------------------------------
>  1 file changed, 43 insertions(+), 72 deletions(-)
> diff --git a/faq.html b/faq.html
> index 58b6fc9..edcd6df 100644
> --- a/faq.html
> +++ b/faq.html
> @@ -52,45 +52,30 @@
>    behalf of the clients, it expects the clients to use whatever means
>    they prefer to render into a shareable buffer.  When the client is
>    done, it informs the Wayland server of the new contents.  The
> -  current test clients use either cairo software rendering, cairo on
> -  OpenGL or hardware accelerated OpenGL directly.  As long as you have
> -  a userspace driver library that will let you render into a sharable
> -  buffer, you're good to go.
> +  current test clients use either Cairo software rendering, Cairo on
> +  OpenGL or hardware-accelerated OpenGL directly.  Additionally, media
> +  frameworks can share their buffers directly with the server.  As
> +  long as you have a userspace driver library that will let you render
> +  into a shareable buffer, you're good to go.
>  </p>
>  <h3>Is wayland replacing the X server?</h3>
>  <p>
> -  It could replace X as the native Linux graphics server, but I'm sure
> -  X will always be there on the side.  I imagine that Wayland and X
> -  will coexist in two ways on a Linux desktop: Wayland is a graphics
> -  multiplexer for a number of X servers.  Linux today typically only
> -  uses one X server for GDM and the user session, but we'll probably
> -  see that move to a dedicated GDM X server, an X server for user
> -  sessions (spawning more on the fly as more users log in) and maybe a
> -  dedicated screensaver/unlock X server.  Right now we rely on VT
> -  switching to move between X servers, and it's horrible.  We have no
> -  control over what the transitions look like and the VT ioctls are
> -  pretty bad.  Wayland provides a solution here, in that it can host
> -  several X servers as they push their root window to Wayland as
> -  surfaces.  The compositor in this case will be a dedicated session
> -  switcher that will cross-fade between X servers or spin them on a
> -  cube.
> -</p>
> -
> -<p>
> -  Further down the road we run a user session natively under
> -  Wayland with clients written for Wayland.  There will still (always)
> -  be X applications to run, but we now run these under a root-less X
> -  server that is itself a client of the Wayland server.  This will
> -  inject the X windows into the Wayland session as native looking
> -  clients.  The session Wayland server can run as a nested Wayland
> -  server under the system Wayland server described above, maybe even
> -  side by side with X sessions.  There's a number of intermediate
> -  steps, such as running the GNOME screen saver as a native wayland
> -  client, for example, or running a composited X desktop, where the
> -  compositor is a Wayland client, pushing the composited desktop to
> -  Wayland.
> +  Mostly, yes. User sessions are able to run under Wayland today, via
> +  a number of compositors: Weston itself as well as Enlightenment,
> +  GNOME Shell, KDE, and a number of others under development.  With
> +  most toolkits having Wayland ports, as well as frameworks such as
> +  GStreamer and SDL, it's perfectly possible to run a purely native
> +  Wayland session as your desktop.
> +</p>
> +
> +<p>
> +  That being said, there are some clients which rely on X11, and
> +  always will be.  To that end, XWayland provides a plugin for Wayland
> +  compositors, running a real X server.  This gives legacy clients a
> +  real and compliant X11 platform to run on, displayed side by side
> +  with native Wayland clients in your Wayland session.
>  </p>
>  <h3>Why not extend the X server?</h3>
> @@ -101,15 +86,11 @@
>    exchange and update models that Wayland is built on into X.
>    However, we have an option here of pushing X out of the hotpath
>    between clients and the hardware and making it a compatibility
> -  option.  I'm not deluding myself that any general purpose desktop
> -  Linux distribution will stop shipping X as we know it or as a
> -  Wayland client anytime soon.  Nor should they, there will still be X
> -  applications to run and people expect that from a Linux desktop.
> -  What's different now is that a lot of infrastructure has moved from
> -  the X server into the kernel (memory management, command scheduling,
> -  mode setting) or libraries (cairo, pixman, freetype, fontconfig,
> -  pango, etc) and there is very little left that has to happen in a
> -  central server process.
> +  option.  What's different now is that a lot of infrastructure has
> +  moved from the X server into the kernel (memory management, command
> +  scheduling, mode setting) or libraries (cairo, pixman, freetype,
> +  fontconfig, pango, etc) and there is very little left that has to
> +  happen in a central server process.
>  </p>
>  <h3>What is wrong with X?</h3>
> @@ -129,25 +110,18 @@
>    useful extensions.  But we can't ever get rid of the core rendering
>    API and much other complexity that is rarely used in a modern
>    desktop.  With Wayland we can move the X server and all its legacy
> -  technology to an optional code path.  Getting to a point where the X
> -  server is a compatibility option instead of the core rendering
> -  system will take a while, but we'll never get there if don't plan
> -  for it.
> +  technology to an optional code path.
>  </p>
>  <h3>What about the overhead of running X on wayland?</h3>
>  <p>
> -  If you're running a fullscreen X server, which pushes its root
> -  window buffer to Wayland there is little overhead.  If the X server
> -  root window is transformed (i.e. scaled down or spinning on the side
> -  of a cube) the Wayland compositor will have to do an extra copy to
> -  get the pixels on screen.  But once the animation finishes and the X
> -  server buffer fills the entire screen, the Wayland compositor can
> -  change the video scanout to source from the X server buffer and
> -  retreat into the background.  The X server uses the standard X.org
> -  DDX drivers, renders directly to its pixmaps and its root window,
> -  and the path from X to hardware is exactly as a native X.org server.
> +  Most modern desktops already use an external compositing manager:
> +  when the X server decides it needs to update content, it informs
> +  this external process (usually your window manager), and allows it to
> +  control the rendering entirely.  Using XWayland is just the same as
> +  this, but more efficient because the compositing manager doesn't have
> +  to go back through the X server to display the content it rendered.
>  </p>
>  <h3>Is Wayland network transparent / does it support remote rendering?</h3>
> @@ -210,21 +184,13 @@
>    manager and compositor into one process.  You can think of Wayland
>    as a toolkit for creating clients and compositors. It is not a
>    specific single compositor or window manager.  If you want a
> -  different window manager, you can write a new one.
> +  different window manager, you can write a new one.  A 'libweston'
> +  effort is underway in order to allow new environments to reuse
> +  Weston's codebase and mechanics, whilst providing their own look
> +  and feel.
>  </p>
> -<p>
> -  This may sound like a lot of work, but one of the key points about
> -  Wayland is that the boilerplate code to a Wayland compositor is
> -  comparable or less than the X boilerplate involved in becoming an X
> -  window manager and compositor.  Bringing up EGL and GLES2 on the
> -  Linux KMS framebuffer and reading input from evdev can be done in
> -  less than a thousand lines of code.  The Wayland server side library
> -  provides the protocol implementation and makes it easy to put the
> -  pieces together.
> -</p>
> -
> -<h3>Why does Wayland use EGL and GLES2?</h3>
> +<h3>Why does Wayland use EGL?</h3>
>  <p>
>    EGL is the only GL binding API that lets us avoid dependencies on
> @@ -238,8 +204,13 @@
>    A more subtle point is that libGL.so includes the GLX symbols, so
>    linking to that library will pull in all the X dependencies.  This
>    means that we can't link to full GL without pulling in the client
> -  side of X, so we're using GLES2 for now.  Longer term, we'll need a
> -  way to use full GL under Wayland.
> +  side of X, so Weston uses OpenGL ES to render.  This also enables
> +  Weston to run on GPUs which don't support the full OpenGL API.
> +</p>
> +
> +<p>
> +  As detailed above, clients are however free to use whichever
> +  rendering API they like.
>  </p>
>  </body>
> -- 
> 2.7.4
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