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Wayland in Raspberry | Wayland in GNOME

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Two days ago I tried Raspberry PI (Model B) as desktop box and it was a total failure. To make a handy comparison; an average 10+ years old laptop will do much better than Pi in performance far. The purpose of that article was to aware people to don’t make the same mistake as me, and buy and PI as a cheap desktop replacement-it won’t work.

However if you want to have a power-efficient, silent -some short of- server always running, Pi will make the work as long as you don’t start X and use it only from network and SSH. What I did discovered yesterday was that after a bunch of updates and after setting overcloking in “Medium” Raspberry was kinda more responsive -but still bad.

The real surprise came when I tried Wayland in Raspberry. That is releasing the Pi GPU to do the actual drawing when CPU can do the processing. The outcome is really impressive and you can do some compiling while you have a running graphical interface in a satisfactory speed.


The above figure is from Wayland Preview @ and this is actually what you can achieve (personally I tried just some GTK Apps) if you follow the instructions here:

As you can notice above there isn’t a Desktop Manager (like LXDE) and graphics are rendered with Weston Compositor. Wayland according to that post, will land in Raspberry Pi by the end of this year. In the case of GNOME Shell the compositor will be the Shell itself.

The Real Story Behind Wayland and X – Daniel Stone ( 2013)

This is a 45 minutes show from Daniel Stone (X and Wayland Developer) that explains the need to replace the X Server and advantages of Wayland. Why I call it a show? Well, the guy (Daniel) has talent in comedy and probably the 10 out of 45 minutes you will be laughing ;)

Personally without being quite interested to the topic I found it one of the most interesting presentations!


Testing GNOME Apps in Wayland

Right now there isn’t a usable port of Shell (Robert Bragg and Neil Bradford are working on this) to try Wayland so instead you can use Weston. You can follow instructions how to at:

The point to do that is to fill bug against GTK or GNOME Apps when running on Wayland. By the way most GNOME Apps seems to run smooth under the new display protocol.

The bad news is that you should use a development branch of GNOME. You can do that by using Fedora Rawhide 20 or by getting a JHBuild installation.


GNOME 3.8 can’t draw client side window decorations in Wayland where the Files 3.8 doesn’t display contents.


In GNOME 3.9 things are more ready and we have a pretty much working Nautilus and a control bar that mimics the Adwaita theme. In this case I run Weston inside X but you can also run it without X. Full Wayland support for GNOME might come in version after 3.10.

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  • Bastian Hougaard

    Well, that certainly was a very entertaining talk! Looking forward to try GNOME apps under Wayland if I ever put myself together to test JHBuild. :-)

  • ScotXW

    The statement “In the case of GNOME Shell the compositor will be the Shell itself.” is wrong and misleading. The GNOME Shell will run on the Wayland compositor, as it now runs on the Window manager.