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Xfce’s Wayland Progress Report: What’s Ported and What’s Next?

Since the release of Xfce 4.18, the Xfce devs have been steadily working towards making Xfce compatible with Wayland, the modern successor to the aging X11 display server protocol. In this update, we’ll take a look at the latest developments in the Xfce Wayland roadmap for 2023.

Xfce 4.18 Desktop
Xfce 4.18 Desktop

Xfce and Wayland: 2023 progress update

One of the most significant changes in the Xfce Wayland roadmap is the decision not to rely on XWayland for compatibility. Instead, the team has opted to use wlroots over libmutter. This strategic move aims to improve Wayland integration within the Xfce desktop environment, offering users a more native and seamless experience. It also aligns with the broader trend of moving away from X11.

Current status of apps and plugins

As of today, the Xfce desktop environment comprises three vital components: the window manager (xfwm4), the panel, and the desktop itself. Among these, the panel and desktop have been successfully ported to Wayland, marking a significant milestone. However, the window manager is still undergoing an unofficial porting process, showing that the development journey is ongoing.

Native Xfce applications are also undergoing transformation. Initial porting efforts have been completed for several essential apps, including xfce4-terminal, mousepad, xfce4-taskmanager, ristretto, catfish, parole, and gigolo. This progress highlights the dedication of the Xfce community to bringing these popular applications to Wayland.

Moreover, a variety of Thunar and Panel plugins are currently undergoing testing and development, reinforcing the commitment to a full Wayland experience.

Update on the backward compatibility

The Xfce team recognizes the importance of ensuring existing X11 applications and workflows remain functional while gradually embracing the advantages of Wayland. It’s still under critical discussion on how to maintain backward compatibility.

While there’s no specific timeline for when Xfce with Wayland will become stable, the continued progress is promising. The transition to Wayland represents a significant leap forward for Xfce, known for its legacy user interface and stability. When the goal is achieved, it will undoubtedly be a game-changer for Xfce users.

How You Can Contribute

If you’re eager to get involved, you can lend a hand by testing and contributing to the project. Visit the official Xfce Wayland roadmap page for detailed instructions. Typically, you’ll need to set up a test system with Xfce and move forward. The steps could be:

  • Install Xfce in a vanilla Arch distribution (with SDDM) (instructions)
  • Set up Wayland on Arch Linux (instructions)
  • Install Weston on Arch (instructions)
  • Clone the Xfce dev repo with Wayland fixes and compile (instructions)
  • Logoff and login to Weston Compositor

In conclusion, the Xfce Wayland roadmap for 2023 brings us closer to a future where Xfce users can enjoy the benefits of the Wayland display protocol without compromising on the qualities that make Xfce unique. Stay tuned for further updates when available.


Via Xfce roadmap

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