xwayland display variable

Scott Anderson scott.anderson at collabora.com
Wed May 1 11:58:53 UTC 2019

On 1/05/19 11:30 pm, Damian Ivanov wrote:
> Hello,
> Is it somewhere documented how Xwayland applications are choosing
> which compositor to display on? e.g 2 compostiors (1 nested or on
> another VT)
> wayland-0 and wayland-1
> export WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-1
> GDK_BACKEND=x11 gedit //starts on wayland-0
> If it's not documented how to do it?
> Thank you in advance!
> Damian


X programs running through Xwayland connect to it with the exact same 
mechanism they use for connecting to a normal X server, which usually 
means looking at the DISPLAY environment variable.

Each Wayland compositor would start and manage their own separate 
Xwayland server, and would take their own DISPLAY values (e.g. 

In the case of the WAYLAND_DISPLAY=wayland-1 compositor's X server takes 
DISPLAY=:1, you'd run that command like:

   GDK_BACKEND=x11 DISPLAY=:1 gedit

So setting WAYLAND_DISPLAY isn't technically needed, but it's still a 
good idea to set it too, because it can have an effect on other 
processes which your command can start.


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