Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

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Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby dee. on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:04 pm

It's called "Mir". It's supposed to support GTK3 and Qt directly, and it also aims to support Android drivers.

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=n ... px=MTMxNzI

I'm not going to list all the reasons why I think this is a horrible idea. I'm just wondering, what will Mint do if Ubuntu moves to their own display server? Will Mint use Mir, Wayland, X or something else?
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby xenopeek on Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:53 pm

I'm not sure either what the impact is on the various Ubuntu based distros with other desktop environments. Consider for example KDE's window manager, KWin, for which Blue Systems is sponsoring development of support for Wayland. How will this impact Kubuntu? Or Linux Mint KDE? But this news and the news of Unity moving to Qt/QML is exciting to me for various reasons, though yes it also raises questions. AMD and NVIDIA are, AFAIK, still far away from supporting Wayland in their closed source drivers. If Ubuntu, as a partner to graphics card vendors, can get support for Mir in closed source drivers--that is a good thing. Wayland has been under development for over five years now, and though I don't want to rant or bash or insult anybody, it is still nowhere today (i.e., we're all using X.org). Perhaps Ubuntu can move this forward, with all the momentum they are gaining in the industry.

I'm sure there will be an Ubuntu based distro switching back to X.org, or offering Wayland as an alternative :wink:
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby dee. on Mon Mar 04, 2013 6:41 pm

xenopeek wrote:I'm not sure either what the impact is on the various Ubuntu based distros with other desktop environments. Consider for example KDE's window manager, KWin, for which Blue Systems is sponsoring development of support for Wayland. How will this impact Kubuntu? Or Linux Mint KDE? But this news and the news of Unity moving to Qt/QML is exciting to me for various reasons, though yes it also raises questions. AMD and NVIDIA are, AFAIK, still far away from supporting Wayland in their closed source drivers. If Ubuntu, as a partner to graphics card vendors, can get support for Mir in closed source drivers--that is a good thing. Wayland has been under development for over five years now, and though I don't want to rant or bash or insult anybody, it is still nowhere today (i.e., we're all using X.org). Perhaps Ubuntu can move this forward, with all the momentum they are gaining in the industry.

I'm sure there will be an Ubuntu based distro switching back to X.org, or offering Wayland as an alternative :wink:


Well, the thing is, from what I gather after following the discussion of people smarter/more knowledgeable than me for this evening, there are several reasons why this Mir project is misguided:

- Canonical doesn't have enough competent staff that is familiar with the inner workings of the linux graphics stack
- The reasons Canonical has cited for not going with Wayland are false, according to Wayland/Xorg devs (kind of reminds me of that time when Canonical was planning on dropping Grub, then FSF told them their reasons for wanting to drop it were false, and they backpedaled... wonder if they'll backpedal this time?)
- Wayland can already use existing Mesa/DRM drivers
- If Canonical's concern is getting Android driver support for their display server, and if they think they are able to implement that, why are they not contributing to Wayland to bring Android driver support to Wayland? From what I've gathered, Wayland devs seem to think it's entirely possible and certainly less trouble than implementing a display server from scratch.

And here we come to the main problem with this whole misguided idea. If Canonical succeeds in making their display server, then it will be harmful to all other distros, as the big players (Steam and such) will be forced to choose to either support Mir or Wayland, it's unlikely they'll support both. This smells too much like a power grab to me. They want a codebase that they are in control of, instead of collaborating with the rest of the ecosystem. Canonical is increasing the fragmentation of the linux desktop, just when we were going to get some sanity into it with Wayland.
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby anandrkris on Mon Mar 04, 2013 11:13 pm

Even I came across this news and was wondering how it affect other derivatives of Ubuntu? I am not a techie so will read up about X.org, Wayland and see if i can make any sense. :oops:
I think KDE developer Aaron Seigo is going to talk about Wayland in his next Google+ hangout - "The Luminosity of Free Software". Keen to join that.

BTW, does Clem give such talks or that he prefers to work more and talk less. :wink:
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby xenopeek on Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:53 am

dee., you share some good points and I've been reading more commentary on it today and am now sharing your concerns. Perhaps my biggest current question is, what will Debian do? Unity is still not in Debian AFAIK, so probably also Mir will not go into Debian. More likely they will move to Wayland eventually.
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby KBD47 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:53 pm

Good point about Debian--if it even has a whiff of anything proprietary Debian won't touch it.
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby dee. on Tue Mar 05, 2013 2:46 pm

xenopeek wrote:dee., you share some good points and I've been reading more commentary on it today and am now sharing your concerns. Perhaps my biggest current question is, what will Debian do? Unity is still not in Debian AFAIK, so probably also Mir will not go into Debian. More likely they will move to Wayland eventually.


WWDD - What Would Debian Do...

Ok well the proprietariness is probably not an issue, if Canonical keeps their display server under (L)GPL. But the dependence on Linux-only technologies (from what I gather, Mir will only work on Linux) will probably keep Debian from adopting it, since Debian runs on several different kernels (Hurd, FreeBSD kernel, Linux). The same thing keeps Debian from adopting systemd, and will keep them from using Weston, although there's nothing Linux-specific in the Wayland protocol per se, so Debian will probably wait until there exists a Wayland-compositor that works for all of their kernels (or maybe they'll fork Weston themselves, who knows).
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby DrHu on Tue Mar 05, 2013 3:38 pm

They are not the first developers that have replaced the X-server standards to provide faster graphics response for a Linux based system
http://www.xig.com/
--they haver been at this replacement idea for a long time..

However, I guess they are tying it more directly to the Gnome desktop; that probably wouldn't affect them if it behaves well, but it will cause other distributors of Linux + desktop choices to carefully consider their options
  • Going on their own
    --can they afford to step out-of-line with an upstream developer with more resources
  • Making a different desktop choice
    --can we say xfce or lxde instead of Gnome or Kde
  • Picking Kde over Gnome
  • Waiting to see the fallout from Ubuntu's market before making a decision..
    --Ubuntu will quite obviously push this technology just as they did with service levels instead of RC (run control) levels
They have the name, perhaps they can get some good Russian software engineers to help (Mir ???)
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby xenopeek on Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:30 pm

The Mir specification has been updated, and the--what has been called out as FUD by Wayland and X.org developers--comments about Wayland have been removed.

Martin Gräßlin, a KWin developer, shares some thoughts on Mir: http://blog.martin-graesslin.com/blog/2 ... -is-peace/.
Will KWin support Mir? No! Mir is currently a one distribution only solution and [...] we don’t accept distro-specific code. If Mir becomes available on more distributions one can consider the second question [Does it affect our plans for Wayland?]. Given the extreme success of Unity on non-Ubuntu distributions I’m positively optimistic that we will never have to do the evaluation of the second question..

Sarcasm aside, his views actually make a lot of sense to me.
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby dee. on Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:52 pm

DrHu wrote:However, I guess they are tying it more directly to the Gnome desktop;


Actually it's the opposite - Ubuntu is moving away from gnome entirely, and is porting Unity to Qt/QML. I guess the idea is that they want to be able to run the same exact distro on mobile phones and 10 times larger desktop computers. Which is insane if you ask me. There's just no benefit whatsoever from having the same OS or even the same interface on devices with 5" screens and on ones with 22" screens...

xenopeek wrote:The Mir specification has been updated, and the--what has been called out as FUD by Wayland and X.org developers--comments about Wayland have been removed.

Martin Gräßlin, a KWin developer, shares some thoughts on Mir: http://blog.martin-graesslin.com/blog/2 ... -is-peace/.
Will KWin support Mir? No! Mir is currently a one distribution only solution and [...] we don’t accept distro-specific code. If Mir becomes available on more distributions one can consider the second question [Does it affect our plans for Wayland?]. Given the extreme success of Unity on non-Ubuntu distributions I’m positively optimistic that we will never have to do the evaluation of the second question..

Sarcasm aside, his views actually make a lot of sense to me.


Seems sensible, yes, and not at all surprising. I suspect we'll hear similar responses from the Gnome team.

What I wonder more about are the toolkits. Will canonical manage to push mir backends to both GTK and Qt? GTK seems unlikely, since they seem invested in Wayland, and have enough to do getting Wayland support up to shape. As for Qt, who knows what goes on with that monstrosity...

So Canonical could end up having to maintain their own forks of both GTK and Qt. Which is kind of insane when you think about it.
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Mir as a replacement for X windows

Postby pony-tail on Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:51 am

With Ubuntu shifting to "Mir" as a replacement for "X" as opposed to Wayland-Weston that they had intended to use , what is the efect of this on Mint ?
Will mint be using "Mir" or one of the other two ?
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby MrPopinjay on Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:28 am

So is there any official word on this? :)
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby viking777 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 6:40 am

Hmm, Interesting.
I am running a testing build of Ubuntu Raring, and after yesterdays updates the desktop doesn't work properly any more.
Have I been Mir'd?
:lol: :lol:
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby tdockery97 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:59 am

viking777 wrote:Hmm, Interesting.
I am running a testing build of Ubuntu Raring, and after yesterdays updates the desktop doesn't work properly any more.
Have I been Mir'd?
:lol: :lol:

Don't think so. I just installed today's (3/7/2013) daily build and it's running perfectly.
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby dee. on Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:02 am

viking777 wrote:Hmm, Interesting.
I am running a testing build of Ubuntu Raring, and after yesterdays updates the desktop doesn't work properly any more.
Have I been Mir'd?
:lol: :lol:


No. They don't have a working implementation yet and probably won't get it done for another 2 years or so.
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Re: Mir as a replacement for X windows

Postby kaddy on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:51 am

obviously there has been no announcement yet (way too early) and I haven't nor expect Clem to say much about the matter until the full ramifications are known/understood and IF it will affect Mint or not.... Personally I doubt Clem will shift Mint to MIR and will keep the tried and true Xorg around for a long time to come and shift into Wayland only if it is a worthy full replacement for Xorg in the future. There shouldn't be any reason to move away from Xorg just because Canonical are shifting to Mir which is a half baked at best and I doubt it will be a worthy replacement anytime in the near future

I am more curious about whether eg: Valve, Nvidia etc will follow Ubuntu and support Mir and dump compatibility with Xorg in future let alone even bother to support Wayland when distros switch to it.... They just may follow the Ubuntu/Mir route and leave the rest in the cold. That would indeed suck
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby dee. on Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:19 pm

kaddy wrote:I am more curious about whether eg: Valve, Nvidia etc will follow Ubuntu and support Mir and dump compatibility with Xorg in future let alone even bother to support Wayland when distros switch to it.... They just may follow the Ubuntu/Mir route and leave the rest in the cold. That would indeed suck


Well, from what I gather, it might not be so bad - it seems that drivers that support Mir can also be used on Wayland, at least that is what some people are saying. Of course this isn't certain yet as Canonical could still decide to change their driver spec... who knows what those people get in their heads to do these days.
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby xenopeek on Tue May 14, 2013 4:32 pm

Short demo is up of Unity running solely on Mir: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/05/unit ... ve-already. Ubuntu 13.10 will likely include the option (not default) to run Unity on Mir. Regardless of other considerations, it looks smooth :wink:
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby dee. on Thu May 16, 2013 6:36 pm

On that note, the KDE head honcho Martin Gräßlin also had some more things to say about Mir... and he outlines pretty clearly why Mir will probably never run on anything other than Ubuntu/Unity (at least it won't on KDE, but I don't see why the same reasons wouldn't also apply to other non-Unity desktops).

http://blog.martin-graesslin.com/blog/2 ... n-kubuntu/
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Re: Ubuntu starts developing their own display server

Postby rimbaum on Sat May 18, 2013 9:22 am

I'm not very familiar with the ins and outs of window managers and display servers, so I don't feel I have much to contribute to the actual discussion. However, I have heard several mentions of a lot being wrong with X, and I'm curious to see what some of those problems are. Can anyone recommend a good article detailing them?
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