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Red Hat Plans to Retire X.Org Server in RHEL 10

In a significant move, Red Hat has announced plans to bid farewell to the veteran X.org Server in the upcoming Red Hat Enterprise Linux 10 (RHEL 10). This transition, announced after careful consideration, marks a pivotal moment in Red Hat’s history.

Originally planned for deprecation in the RHEL 9.1 release notes a year ago, the venerable X.org Server has played a vital role in the Linux ecosystem for nearly four decades. However, with Wayland, a 15-year-old project Red Hat has actively advocated, it became evident that the ageing X11 protocol and its server counterpart grappled with inherent issues that needed a forward-looking solution.

Wayland, designed to address the shortcomings of its predecessor, has matured significantly. Red Hat’s decision to retire X.org Server arises from the challenges of maintaining both stacks simultaneously. The focus now shifts entirely to Wayland, promising improvements in HDR support, enhanced security, compatibility with monitors of varying pixel densities, seamless hot plug for graphics cards, advanced gesture control, and more.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9

Red Hat’s collaboration with hardware and software vendors, customers, and the visual effects industry has been instrumental in developing crucial projects, including HDR and colour management support, Xwayland for backward compatibility, infrastructure for modern remote desktop solutions, explicit synchronization in the Wayland protocol, Libei library for emulation and input capture, and OpenJDK compatibility with (X)Wayland.

In early 2023, Red Hat engineers comprehensively studied Wayland’s infrastructure and ecosystem. Despite some shortcomings and the need for specific application adaptations, the overall health of Wayland seems robust. Hence this decision.

A few weeks back, Fedora Linux also announced that the KDE Plasma edition would drop the X.Org session altogether. The famous Linux Mint and Xfce desktop also started working to adopt Wayland. Evidently, the FOSS ecosystem is slowly catching up and will probably be in good shape around 2025.

If you are a RHEL user or enterprise user, you can anticipate a more streamlined experience with RHEL 10, as Xwayland ensures compatibility for most X11 clients not immediately ported to Wayland. Enterprise customers needing additional time for transition can remain on RHEL 9 throughout its lifecycle. It’s crucial to note that while X.org Server is retiring, support for the X11 protocol will persist through Xwayland.

Via Red Hat blog

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