Wayland by Default for KDE Plasma Desktop
Change the default session selection in SDDM to prefer the Wayland-based KDE Plasma Desktop session over the X11-based one.
- Name: Neal Gompa, Rex Dieter, Jan Grulich, Erich Eickmeyer
- Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Product: KDE Spin
- Responsible WG: KDE SIG
- Targeted release: Fedora 34
- Last updated: 2020-09-16
- FESCo issue: #2472
- Tracker bug: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>
- Release notes tracker: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>
With KDE Plasma 5.20, the KDE Plasma desktop environment has reached a point where nearly all commonly used features in the desktop and all major applications function in the Plasma Wayland environment on all major GPUs (including NVIDIA with the proprietary driver). Starting with Plasma 5.20 in Fedora 34, we will change the default configuration for Wayland and X11 Plasma sessions so that Wayland is preferred and used by default, while permitting the X11 session to be selected as the alternative desktop environment option.
Is Wayland ready?
Wayland has been used by default for Fedora Workstation (which uses GNOME) since Fedora 25. And while it was somewhat immature initially, today it is a very rock-solid experience on virtually everything Fedora Workstation runs on. The change in Fedora 25 kickstarted the drive to get everything working on Wayland, and the Workstation team succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Firefox has been Wayland-native by default since Fedora 31 as well.
On the KDE side, serious work into supporting Wayland started shortly after GNOME switched to Wayland by default. Unlike GNOME, KDE has a much broader stack in its toolkit, and it has taken longer to get to a usable state. With the Plasma 5.20 release, the Wayland protocol for screencasting as well as middle-click paste finally are supported, completing the required feature set for switching to Wayland by default.
What about NVIDIA?
Plasma, in fact, does support NVIDIA GPUs with the proprietary driver on Wayland. It needs to be manually activated, which will be taken care of by the
kwin-wayland-nvidia package. So the expectation is that all major GPUs will work just fine.
Why not keep using X11?
The fact of the matter is, Xorg is in "hard maintenance mode" per Christian Schaller and development on it has basically stopped beyond the most critical of fixes. Combined with the rapid maturation of the Wayland session in KDE Plasma, this is the best time to make the switch and push things over the edge for the KDE ecosystem in the same way that Fedora Workstation did for the GNOME ecosystem.
Benefit to Fedora
Fedora has long been a leader in advancing the adoption of the Wayland protocol as part of the overall strategy to improve the Linux graphical software stack. Much of the quality of Wayland for GNOME can be attributed to the work done by the Fedora Workstation WG as part of advancing the GNOME platform. It is now the KDE SIG's turn to do the same for the KDE platform. By making this change, we are helping push the adoption forward for newer, more streamlined, and overall more actively developed graphics technology for the KDE ecosystem.
- Proposal owners:
to switch to Wayland
- Split out
kwin-wayland-nvidiasubpackage which contains
1. This package will have have a Supplements dependency
(kwin-wayland and kmod-nvidia).
- Split out
to switch to Wayland
/usr/share/xsessions/plasma-xorg.desktop, subpackage it out as
plasma-workspace-xorg, and have it require
@kde-desktopcomps group for Fedora 34 to include
plasma-workspace-xorgfor the media.
- Other developers: N/A (not applicable for this Change)
- Release engineering: #9741
- Policies and guidelines: N/A (not needed for this Change)
- Trademark approval: N/A (not needed for this Change)
- Alignment with Objectives: N/A (not applicable for this Change)
Systems using certain (very old) graphics hardware or graphics drivers (matrox, etc.) may have problems running the Wayland session. In these (rare) cases, users may have to configure SDDM to use X11.
How To Test
Log into a KDE Plasma desktop. Do any activity you would normally do in your daily desktop use: launching applications, configuring displays, etc. Things should work the same way under Wayland as they used to under X.
The user experience should not change noticeably.
- Contingency mechanism: Revert the file renames and switch
plasma-workspace-xorgto be the required package instead of
- Contingency deadline: beta freeze
- Blocks release? Yes
- Blocks product? KDE Spin
Some upstream documents about Wayland
There is currently no coherent up to date documentation about Plasma Wayland.
The KDE Plasma Desktop is using the Wayland display system now. X applications will continue to run transparently through XWayland.