Wayland is a protocol for a compositing window manager to talk to its clients, as well as a library implementing the protocol. It is supported on some desktop environments like GNOME and KDE Plasma . There is also a compositor reference implementation called Weston. XWayland provides a compatibility layer to seamlessly run legacy X11 applications in Wayland.
- 1 Requirements
- 2 Compositors
- 3 Display managers
- 4 GUI libraries
- 5 Troubleshooting
- 6 See also
Most Wayland compositors only work on systems using Kernel mode setting. Wayland by itself does not provide a graphical environment; for this you also need a compositor such as Weston or Sway, or a desktop environment that includes a compositor like GNOME or KDE.
|Buffer API||GPU driver support||Wayland compositor support|
|GBM||All except NVIDIA||All|
- Cagebreak — Based on cage, inspired by ratpoison.
- https://github.com/project-repo/cagebreak || AUR AUR
- dwl — dwm-like Wayland compositor based on wlroots.
- river — Dynamic tiling Wayland compositor inspired by dwm and bspwm.
- waymonad — Wayland compositor inspired by xmonad written in Haskell.
- Greenfield — Runs in a web browser and can display remote applications.
- Grefsen — Qt/Wayland compositor providing a minimal desktop environment.
- hikari — wlroots-based compositor inspired by cwm which is actively developed on FreeBSD but also supports Linux.
- Liri Shell — Part of Liri, built using QtQuick and QtCompositor as a compositor for Wayland.
- labwc — wlroots-based compositor inspired by Openbox.
- wayfire — 3D compositor inspired by Compiz and based on wlroots.
- https://wayfire.org/ || AUR
- Weston — reference implementation of a Wayland compositor.
- wio — wlroots-based compositor that aims to replicate the look and feel of Plan 9's Rio desktop.
- Cage — Displays a single fullscreen application like a kiosk.
- Maze Compositor — Renders windows in a 3D maze using Qt.
- Motorcar — Wayland compositor to explore 3D windowing using virtual reality.
Some of the above may support display managers. Check
/usr/share/wayland-sessions/compositor.desktop to see how they are started.
Below listed display managers which supports running Wayland compositors. The Type column indicates whether the display manager supports running on Wayland or not.
|GDM||Runs on Wayland||GNOME display manager.|
|greetd||Login daemon||Minimal and flexible login daemon.|
|LightDM||Runs on X11||Cross-desktop display manager.|
|Ly||Runs in console||TUI display manager written in C|
|SDDM||Runs on X11||QML-based display manager.|
|tbsm||Runs in console||Simple CLI session launcher written in pure bash.|
See details on the official website.
To enable Wayland support in Qt 5, install the package.
To run a Qt 5 application with the Wayland plugin , use
-platform wayland or
QT_QPA_PLATFORM=wayland environment variable. To force the usage of X11 on a Wayland session, use
QT_QPA_PLATFORM=xcb. This might be necessary for some proprietary applications that do not use the system's implementation of Qt, such as AUR.
On some compositors, for example sway, Qt applications running natively might have missing functionality. For example, KeepassXC will be unable to minimize to tray. This can be solved by installing and setting
QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME=qt5ct before running the application.
The Clutter toolkit has a Wayland backend that allows it to run as a Wayland client. The backend is enabled in thepackage.
To run a Clutter application on Wayland, set
To run a SDL2 application on Wayland, set
SDL_VIDEODRIVER=wayland. To force the application to run with XWayland, set
To use GLFW with the Wayland backend, install thepackage (instead of ).
To use GLEW with the Wayland backend, install thepackage (instead of ).
EFL has complete Wayland support. To run a EFL application on Wayland, see Wayland project page.
Winit is window handling library in Rust. It will default to the Wayland backend, but it is possible to override it to Xwayland by modifying an environment variable:
Slow motion, graphical glitches, and crashes
Gnome-shell users may experience display issues when they switch to Wayland from X. One of the root cause might be the
CLUTTER_PAINT=disable-clipped-redraws:disable-culling set by yourself for Xorg-based gnome-shell. Just try to remove it from
/etc/environment or other rc files to see if everything goes back to normal.
Cannot open display: :0 with Electron-based applications
Make sure you haven't set GDK_BACKEND=wayland. Setting it globally will break Electron apps.
- (20200206) sway) offers an VNC backend via AUR since version 0.10. RDP backend has been removed. . (used by
- (20180401)  and for details. has now remote desktop enabled at compile time, see
- There was a merge of FreeRDP into Weston in 2013, enabled via a compile flag. The package has it enabled since version 6.0.0.
- SSH AUR is a transparent proxy for Wayland applications, with a wrapper command to run over
Input grabbing in games, remote desktop and VM windows
In contrast to Xorg, Wayland does not allow exclusive input device grabbing, also known as active or explicit grab (e.g. keyboard, mouse), instead, it depends on the Wayland compositor to pass keyboard shortcuts and confine the pointer device to the application window.
This change in input grabbing breaks current applications' behavior, meaning:
- Hotkey combinations and modifiers will be caught by the compositor and won't be sent to remote desktop and virtual machine windows.
- The mouse pointer will not be restricted to the application's window which might cause a parallax effect where the location of the mouse pointer inside the window of the virtual machine or remote desktop is displaced from the host's mouse pointer.
Wayland solves this by adding protocol extensions for Wayland and XWayland. Support for these extensions is needed to be added to the Wayland compositors. In the case of native Wayland clients, the used widget toolkits (e.g GTK, Qt) needs to support these extensions or the applications themselves if no widget toolkit is being used. In the case of Xorg applications, no changes in the applications or widget toolkits are needed as the XWayland support is enough.
These extensions are already included in, and supported by 1.20.
The related extensions are:
- XWayland keyboard grabbing protocol
- Compositor shortcuts inhibit protocol
- Relative pointer protocol
- Pointer constraints protocol
Supporting Wayland compositors:
- Mutter, GNOME's compositor since release 3.28
- wlroots supports relative-pointer and pointer-constraints
Supporting widget toolkits:
- GTK since release 3.22.18.