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. 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|
|sway||Tiling||Sway is an i3-compatible window manager for Wayland. GitHub|
|Enlightenment||Stacking and tiling||See Enlightenment#Manually. More Info:  |
|KDE Kwin||Stacking||See KDE#Starting Plasma.|
|Orbment||Tiling||orbment (previously loliwm) is an abandoned tiling WM for Wayland.|
|Velox||Tiling||Velox is a simple window manager based on swc. It is inspired by dwm and xmonad.|
|Orbital||Stacking||Orbital is a compositor and shell (more of a WM than a DE) using Qt5 and Weston. The goal is to build a simple but flexible and good looking desktop.|
|Liri Shell||Stacking||Liri Shell is the desktop shell for Liri, built using QtQuick and QtCompositor as a compositor for Wayland.|
|Maynard||(Unclear)||Maynard is a desktop shell client for Weston based on GTK. It was based on weston-gtk-shell, a project by Tiago Vignatti. Not under development. |
|Motorcar||(Unclear)||Motorcar is a Wayland compositor to explore 3D windowing using virtual reality.|
|Maze Compositor||Floating 3D||Maze Compositor is a 3D Qt based Wayland compositor.|
|Cage||Kiosk||Cage is a Wayland compositor that displays a single fullscreen application.|
|Greenfield||Stacking||Greenfield is a Wayland compositor that runs in a web browser and can display remote applications.|
|Grefsen||Floating||Grefsen is a Qt/Wayland compositor providing a minimal desktop environment.|
|Waymonad||Tiling||Waymonad is a Wayland compositor based on ideas from and inspired by xmonad|
|wayfire||Stacking||Wayfire is a general purpose compositor.|
|Weston||Floating||Weston is a Wayland compositor reference implementation.|
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.|
|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.|
|greetd||Login daemon||Minimal and flexible login daemon.|
See details on the official website.
To enable Wayland support in Qt 5, install thepackage.
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 app 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:
redshift -m drm -PO 3000
Otherwise some compositors feature this option during runtime:
- On GNOME, the built-in Night Light can be used.
- On KDE Plasma, the built-in KDE#Night Color can be used.
- On Sway 1.0 and other wlroots-based compositors, as well as Orbital, AUR/ AUR can be used (the two AUR packages are the same).
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.
AUR, AUR and AUR support screen recording on Wayland using GNOME screencast feature.
AUR is a video recorder for wlroots-based compositors.
AUR is a plugin that allows you to screen capture on wlroots-based compositors.
- (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:
Supporting widget toolkits:
- GTK since release 3.22.18.
wlroots input inhibitor protocol
Input inhibitor is a Wayland protocol which was defined the by developers of Sway and wlroots and is overlapping Wayland's
Compositor shortcuts inhibit protocol.
Sway and wlroots do not support the
Compositor shortcuts inhibit and
XWayland keyboard grabbing protocols, and it seems they are against adding support for the latter  .
No widget toolkit or application is known to support this protocol.