Now, I really like Wayland, and it’s definitely better than the mess that is X11

BUT

I think the approach to Wayland is entirely wrong. There should be a unified backend/base for building compositors, something like universal wlroots, so that applications dealing with things like setting wallpapers don’t have to worry about supporting GNOME, Plasma, Wlroots, AND Smithay (when COSMIC comes out). How about a universal Wayland protocol implementation that compositors are built on? That way, the developers of, say, wayshot, a screenshot utility, can be sure their program works across all Wayland compositors.

Currently, the lower-level work for creating a compositor has been done by all four of the GNOME, KDE, Wlroots and Smithay projects. To me, that’s just replication of work and resources. Surely if all standalone compositors, as well as the XFCE desktop want to, and use wlroots, the GNOME and KDE teams could have done the same instead of replicating effort and wasting time and resources, causing useless separation in the process?

Am I missing something? Surely doing something like that would be better?

The issue with X11 is that it got big and bloated, and unmaintainable, containing useless code. None of these desktops use that useless code, still in X from the time where 20 machines were all connected to 1 mainframe. So why not just use the lean and maintainable wlroots, making things easier for some app developers? And if wlroots follows in the footsteps of X11, we can move to another implementation of the Wayland protocols. The advantage of Wayland is that it is a set of protocols on how to make a compositor that acts as a display server. If all the current Wayland implementations disappear, or if they become abandoned, unmaintained, or unmaintainable, all the Wayland apps like Calendars, file managers and other programs that don’t affect the compositor itself would keep on working on any Wayland implementation. That’s the advantage for the developers of such applications. But what about other programs? Theme changers, Wallpaper switchers etc? They would need to be remade for different Wayland implementations. With a unified framework, we could remove this issue. I think that for some things, the Linux desktop needs some unity, and this is one of these things. Another thing would be flatpak for desktop applications and eventually nix and similar projects for lower-level programs on immutable distros. But that’s a topic for another day. Anyways, do you agree with my opinion on Wayland or not? And why? Thank you for reading.

  • @patatahooligan
    link
    210 months ago

    I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I’m not saying wayland magically makes everything secure. I’m saying that wayland allows secure solutions. Let’s put it simply

    • Wayland “ignores” all the issues if that’s what you want to call it
    • Xorg breaks attempts to solve these issues, which is much worse than “ignoring” them

    You mentioned apps having full access to my home directory. Apps don’t have access to my home directory if I run them in a sandbox. But using a sandbox to protect my SSH keys or firefox session cookies is pointless if the sandboxed app can just grab my login details as I type them and do the same or more harm as they would if they had the contents of my home directory. Using a sandbox is only beneficial on Wayland. You could potentially use nested Xorg sessions for everything but that’s more overhead, will introduce all the same problems as Wayland (screen capture/global shortcuts/etc), while also having none of the Wayland benefits.

    And given how garbage the modern state of sandboxing still is

    I’m not talking about “the current state” or any particular tool. One protocol supports sandboxing cleanly and the other doesn’t. You might have noticed that display server protocols are hard to replace so they should support what we want, not only what we have right now. If you don’t see a difference between not having a good way to do something right now versus not allowing for the possibility to do something in a good way ever, let’s just end the discussion here. If those are the same to you no argument or explanation matters.

    If you actual want to solve this issue you have to provide secure means to do all those task.

    Yes that exactly the point. Proposed protocols for these features allow a secure implementation to be configured. You would have a DE that asks you for every single permission an app requests. You don’t automatically get a secure implementation, but it is possible. There might be issues with the wayland protocol development processes or lack of interest/manpower by DE/WM developers, or many other things that lead to subpar or missing solutions to current issues, but they are not inherent and unsolvable issues of the protocol.