The Review of Wayland Progress In 2016 – Part 2: Multimedia, Web, Games, Office, Programming Tools

Introduction

In Part 1 (recommend to read) of this review, we talk about Wayland and most popular Desktop Environment. This part is dedicated to work with the popular Linux applications. Software that was used in this review: Fedora Rawhide with GNOME 3.20 Beta, Wayland 1.10; Rebecca Black OS with the latest Weston Shell and KDE Plasma.

Some applications work natively with Wayland, some can be run only with XWayland. The XWayland applications must be slower ’cause Wayland compositor can’t work directly with X client and need the X server as a broker: Weston Compositor <-> X server <-> X client. The ‘slower’ sentence doesn’t mean “not ready for work”, in most cases the XWayland applications have enough performance for comfortable work. Some applications also have other problems not related to performance.

Do you have interested experience with any software? Feel free to write in comments. More about native and non-native applications you can read here.

Multimedia

In this part of the review was tested the typical user tasks: import and base photo editing with Shotwell; play music with Rhythmbox, GNOME Music, and Amarock; play videos with Totem and mpv. All works good if some unexpected freezes can be excluded. Some times ago I also had a problem with video hardware acceleration on Wayland and if remember correctly now it works not in all players. No other issues were found.

Games

SDL2-based (Simple DirectMedia Layer) games work natively in Wayland. The most popular 3D OpenGL games running with XWayland and it must be slower because Wayland compositor can’t work directly with X client (game in our case), more details about it described in begin of this article.

These games are tested:

OpenTTD crash after start, the rest of the games run with several issues. I must say that performance is good – yes, the Intel HD 3000 isn’t a top graphics videocard, but I never see a slow motion in each of these games. 0 A.D and Supertuxcart – the best for gaming with Wayland session – good performance and no visible issues. Warzone 2100 also works very well, but only in windowed mode without full screen (probably bug). The action shooters Xonotic and Open Arena works with serious problems: very fast (not a typo) response can’t be fixed in settings and “vertigo” if you move pointer to the edge of display. It may be a good choice for relaxing shooting.

Office

One of the biggest improvements of LibreOffice 5 was the full support of Wayland. As you can see in the video the most used features works with performance lost. Gnumeric works with big freezes and guess the big problems with large documents. GNOME Documents and GNOME Calendar work fast without XWayland and I can’t find any issue. Calligra Suite, the default office software in KDE, also support Wayland, but have multiple problems with unexpected freezes, scrolling and long start.

Web

Two most popular web browsers – Chrome/Chromium and Mozilla Firefox works perfect with Wayland. The first support only the XWayland, but I must remember for the all Wayland skeptics about Ozone BrowserChromium fork from the Intel Corporation, one of the most active Wayland committer. Firefox with their GTK+ 3 interface and several magical patches work native.

Unstable version of GNOME Web crash after start. Evolution, the default GNOME email client, also works without problems. Several other applications (don’t present in the video) was tested in Wayland with positive results: Empathy, Polari, Transmission.

Programming Tools

The part of this review was written in an Atom editor on Wayland session. All of used hot-keys works, some micro freezes doesn’t critical for work. The same situation with Emacs. Eclipse and GNOME Builder crash after start. Sad but the Emacs and Atom editors work only in XWayland mode. I also can’t see a big performance lost in work with a big project, cut and paste the big chunks of code, scrolling or auto-completion.

Results

I can’t test all Linux applications, but the most of them works good in this review. Several applications have issues with scrolling and freezes. The unstable applications probably can be changed to alternative and probably most of them would be enough for everyday work of typical users. I hope this article will be helpful for Wayland users, any new details about the problems is appreciated.

Read more:

The Review of Wayland Progress In 2016: Weston, GNOME, KDE, Enlightenment

The Best Free And Open Source Photo Managers For Linux – Review And Comparison

Ring – The Free & Open Source Text/Audio/Video Messenger As Alternative To WhatsApp/Telegram/Facebook Messenger: Review And Video Demonstration

NayuOS Review – Free & Open Source Alternative To Chrome OS With Node.js And Without Google Services

  • Wade Mealing

    Thanks for taking the effort to document this. This kind of teething problems always happen with big changes, lets hope they document the “bug fix” process so that others can learn from the changes required.

    • Paul Alberto Rufous

      Always welcome.