In response to Wayland Breaks Your Bad Software

I say that the technical merits are irrelevant because I don’t believe that they’re a major factor any more in most people moving or not moving to Wayland.

With only a slight amount of generalization, none of these people will be moved by Wayland’s technical merits. The energetic people who could be persuaded by technical merits to go through switching desktop environments or in some cases replacing hardware (or accepting limited features) have mostly moved to Wayland already. The people who remain on X are there either because they don’t want to rebuild their desktop environment, they don’t want to do without features and performance they currently have, or their Linux distribution doesn’t think their desktop should switch to Wayland yet.

  • 0x0A
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    10 months ago

    X11 is, to put it simply, not at all fit for any modern system. Full stop. Everything to make it work on modern systems are just hacks. Don’t even try to get away with “well, it just works for me” or “but Wayland no worky”.

    I really don’t know if there could be a more obnoxious opening than this. I guess Wayland fanatics have taken a page from the Rust playbook of trying to shame people into using it when technical merits aren’t enough (“But your code is UNSAFE!”)

      • @orangeboats@lemmy.world
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        10 months ago

        I feel that the biggest mistake of X11’s protocol design is the idea of a “root window” that is supposed to cover the whole screen.

        Perhaps that worked greatly in the 1990s, but it’s just completely incompatible with multi-displays that we commonly see in modern setups. Hacks upon hacks were involved to make multi-displays a possibility on X11. The root window no longer corresponded to a single display. In heterogenous display setups, part of the root window is actually invisible.

        Later on we decided to stack compositing on top of the already-hacky mess, and it was so bad that many opted to disable the compositor (no Martha, compositors are more than wobbly windows!).

        And then there’s the problem of sandboxing programs… Which is completely unmappable to X11 even with hacks.

        • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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          -110 months ago

          Multiple displays work fine. The only thing that needs to be drawn in the root window is attractive backgrounds sized to your displays I’m not sure why you think that is hacky or complicated.

          • West Siberian Laika
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            710 months ago

            Multiple displays only work as long as you have identical resolutions and refresh rates. Good luck mixing monitors with different scaling factors and refresh rates on X11.

            • @Hexarei@programming.dev
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              210 months ago

              I run multiple refresh rates without any trouble, one 165hz monitor alongside my other 60hz ones. Is that supposed to be broken somehow?

            • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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              -110 months ago

              This wasn’t true in 2003 when I started using Linux in fact the feature is so old I’m not sure exactly when it was implemented. You have always been able to have different resolutions and in fact different scaling factors. It works like this

              You scale your lower DPI display or displays UP to match your highest DPI and let X scale down to the physical size. HIGHER / LOWER = SCALE FACTOR. So with 2 27" monitors where one is 4k and the other is 1080p the factor is 2, a 27" 4K with a 24" 1080p is roughly 1.75.

              Configured like so everything is sharp and UI elements are the same size on every screen. If your monitors are vertically aligned you could put a window between monitors and see the damn characters lined up correctly.

              If you use the soooo unfriendly Nvidia GPU you can actually configure this in its GUI for configuring your monitors. If not you can set with xrandr the argument is --scale shockingly enough

              Different refresh rates also of course work but you ARE limited to the lower refresh rate. This is about the only meaningful limitation.

              • @orangeboats@lemmy.world
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                110 months ago

                …What? The root window was supposed to mean “the whole screen”. It no longer does - that’s the lie. Then people created XRandR to help work around it - that’s the hack.

      • @woelkchen@lemmy.world
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        1010 months ago

        This is not an insult to the people behind X11.

        The people behind X11 agree and that’s why they founded Wayland.

          • @Auli@lemmy.ca
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            410 months ago

            Sure but the people behind X11 are the same ones behind Wayland so when the develpers didn’t think it was worth the time to fix X11 and it would be better to start a new project to fix the issues. How can end users think we should just fix X11 make anysense? I think their biggest mistake is they should have called Wayland X12 or something like that.

              • @woelkchen@lemmy.world
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                110 months ago

                X11 has decades of tooling that doesn’t work on Wayland anymore.

                Wayland 1.0 was released in 2012, though.

                  • @woelkchen@lemmy.world
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                    110 months ago

                    That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does break some workflows.

                    11 years after Wayland 1.0 and 7 years after Gnome 3.22 were released.

    • @Static_Rocket@lemmy.world
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      2510 months ago

      No, no, they’ve got a point. The architecture of Wayland is much more sane. Because of the way refresh events are driven its also much more power and memory efficient. I’ll miss bspwm and picom but man there is a lot riding on simplifying the graphics stack under Linux. The X hacks, GLX, and all the other weird interactions X decided to take away from applications made things non-portable to begin with and a nightmare for any embedded devices that thought GLES was good enough.

    • @Sh1nyM3t4l4ss@lemmy.world
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      2110 months ago

      There are several remarks in that article that bothered me. I agree with their message overall and am a strong proponent of Wayland but…

      Unless your workflow (and hardware) comes from 20+ years ago, you have almost no reason to stick with Xorg

      There definitely are valid use cases that aren’t 20 years old that will keep you on X11 for a little while longer. And hardware too: NVIDIA dropped driver support for Kepler GPUs and older before they added GBM support which is effectively a requirement for Wayland, so you can’t use these older cards on Wayland with the proprietary drivers

      Of course, NVIDIA likes to do their own thing, as always. Just use Nouveau if you want to do anything with Xwayland, and you don’t have several GPUs.

      Uh, no. Nouveau is not a serious option for anyone who likes using their GPU for useful things. And on those older cards it will likely never work well.

      The author of that article seems extremely ignorant of other people’s needs.

      • @woelkchen@lemmy.world
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        210 months ago

        NVIDIA dropped driver support for Kepler GPUs and older before they added GBM support which is effectively a requirement for Wayland, so you can’t use these older cards on Wayland with the proprietary drivers

        That’s definitively the fault of people to buy NVidia hardware which only works fine on Windows. It’s not the fault of Wayland developers that NVidia is a shit company that does not care to make their hardware properly run on Linux.

        • @Sh1nyM3t4l4ss@lemmy.world
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          210 months ago

          Can we stop shaming people who buy NVIDIA?

          For one, people want to keep using what they have and not buy something new just because it may work better on Linux, abd they may not even be able to afford an upgrade. They probably didn’t even know about Linux compatibility when they got it.

          And additionally, some people have to use NVIDIA because e. g. they rely on CUDA or something (which is unfortunate but not their fault).

          And honestly, NVIDIA is fine on Linux nowadays. It sucks that support for older cards will likely stay crappy forever but hopefully with the open kernel drivers and NVK newer cards won’t have to suffer that fate.

          • @woelkchen@lemmy.world
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            310 months ago

            Can we stop shaming people who buy NVIDIA?

            Can people who buy NVidia hardware contrary to widespread wisdom just start to own up to their decisions and not complain about Wayland every time it is mentioned?

      • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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        -110 months ago

        The author is a Wayland fanboy which almost by definition makes them a moron. We are talking about folks who were singing the same song like 7 years ago when the crack they were promoting was outrageously broken for most use cases.

    • @russjr08@outpost.zeuslink.net
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      2010 months ago

      I find that usually when people write “Full stop”, it’s best to just stop reading there in most cases.

      It comes off as “I am correct, how dare you think that for a moment I could be wrong”.

      I’d love to use Wayland, but until it works properly on Nvidia hardware like X11 is, then it’s not a viable option for me. Of course, then someone always goes “Well then use an AMD card” but money doesn’t grow on trees. The only reason I’m not still using a 970 is because a friend of mine was nice and gave me his 2080 that he was no longer using, along with some other really nice upgrades to my hardware.

      Honestly it’s one of the biggest issues I have with the Linux community. I love Linux and FOSS software but the people who go around and yell at anyone who isn’t using Linux, and the people who write articles like this who try to shame you for your choices (something that is supposed to be a landmark of using open source software) only make Linux look bad.

      There’s a difference between someone kindly telling others that X11 is not likely to receive any new major features and bug fixes (which is the right thing to do, in order to inform someone something they may not know) - and then there’s whatever the author of this quote is doing.

      • @happyhippo@feddit.it
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        10 months ago

        It happens all the time in the magical world of closed source, too.

        Ever heard about the iOS vs Android fights? How people shame Android users for being green bubbles?

        It’s just the extension of the my camp vs theirs applied to the tech field, nothing new.

        • @pelotron@midwest.social
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          10 months ago

          I laughed off reports about this kind of thing, thinking “omg who could possibly give a shit about what color their text bubble is in a group chat?” Later my gen Z office mate told me about how he uses an iPhone and cited this exact reason unironically. I was stunned into silence.

          • @zwekihoyy@lemmy.ml
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            10 months ago

            there’s a decent amount of research into the psychology behind it and how reading white text on the light green is more difficult than on the blue bubble. it’s rather interesting.

            edit: although I would think dark mode should change that effect a little bit

        • @HouseWolf@lemmy.ml
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          510 months ago

          I’ve noticed it more and more over the years how people will fight tooth and nail to defend a product for no other reason than self validation.

          I’ve even had one person try to sell me on OperaGX as if they were reading off an AD, When I asked them technical questions about it they just pulled the conversation back to selling up the gimmicks. I finally straight asked them why they were advertising something for a company they don’t work for and they just got offended. Was kinda a surreal experience.

        • @russjr08@outpost.zeuslink.net
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          110 months ago

          Oh absolutely, I am sadly all far too well aware of those cases (especially the “green bubbles” thing, I’ve never rolled my eyes harder at a silly situation).

          It’s not even strictly a tech thing either, its a long standing thing in human history no matter where you look, and unfortunately I don’t see it going away any time soon.

      • @bemenaker@lemmy.world
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        110 months ago

        It sounds like you need to be complaining to nvidia to do a better job with their drivers. If the drivers suck, it doesn’t matter what wayland does.

    • @Auli@lemmy.ca
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      910 months ago

      Ok but then how about the developers of X11 who decided it wasn’t worth fixing the issues and to start a new project called Wayland where they could start from scratch to fix the issues. Does that change your mind at all?

      • @duncesplayed@lemmy.one
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        310 months ago

        That would be a “technical merit”, which the article author claims is irrelevant to the discussion.

      • 0x0A
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        -110 months ago

        I have not had a single X11-related issue in the last decade.

        • West Siberian Laika
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          510 months ago

          I don’t want to sound rude, but how old is your setup? Are you using a desktop or a laptop computer?

          Because I’m daily driving a late 2015 Dell XPS 9350 and X11 just ain’t cutting it, even though the laptop is nearly a decade old. On X11, its trackpad would be garbage, GNOME’s animations would be stuttery, and fractional scaling would be a mess, because I have a docking station with a 75 Hz ultrawide monitor, meaning that I must utilise both 125% and 100% scaling factors, as well as 60 Hz and 75 Hz refresh rates and different resolutions. Sure, not everyone uses multi monitor setups, but those who do serious office tasks or content production work often cannot imagine their workflow without multiple monitors. Point is, X11 is to ancient to handle such tasks smoothly, reliably and efficiently.

          • 0x0A
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            410 months ago

            It’s not rude - don’t worry. My main desktop runs 4 monitors at 1080p. GPU is an RX 580. I have a number of other laptops/tablets/desktops running similar configs, including ones with mixed resolutions and refresh rates. Gaming/video production/programming.

            I think people are really discounting the amount of value experience with a certain set of software has to the end-user. Wayland isn’t a drop-in replacement. There’s a new suite of software and tooling around it that has to be learned, and this is by design. Understandably, many people focus on getting displays working properly on mixed resolutions and refresh rates, but there are concerns for usability/accessibility outside of that.

    • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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      310 months ago

      This is literally the exact bad attitude of your average Wayland proponent. The thing which has worked for 20 years doesn’t work you just hallucinated it along with all the show stopper bugs you encountered when you tried to switch to Wayland.

      • @orangeboats@lemmy.world
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        10 months ago

        It’s really not “working” per se. VRR was breaking on X11, sandboxing was breaking on X11, fractional scaling and mixed DPI were breaking on X11.

        How did we achieve HiDPI on X11? By changing Xft.dpi (breaking old things) or adding random environment variables (terrible UX - do you want to worsen Linux desktop’s reputation even more?). Changing XRandR? May your battery life be long lasting.

        There’s genuinely no good way to mix different DPIs on the same X server, even with only one screen! On Windows and Mac, the old LoDPI applications are scaled up automatically by the compositor, but this just doesn’t exist on X11.

        I focus on DPI because this is a huge weakness of X11 and there is a foreseeable trend of people using HiDPI monitors more and more, there are tons of other weaknesses, but people tend to sweep them under the rug as being exotic. And please don’t call HiDPI setups exotic. For all the jokes we see on the eternal 768p screens that laptop manufacturers like to use, the mainstream laptops are moving onto 1080p. On a 13" screen, shit looks tiny if you don’t scale it up by 150%.

        You can hate on Wayland, you may work on an alternative called Delaware for all I care, but let’s admit that X11 doesn’t really work anymore and is not the future of Linux desktop.

        • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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          -210 months ago

          Outside of your fantasies high DPI works fine. Modern QT apps seem to pick it up fairly automatically now and GTK does indeed require a variable which could trivially be set for the user.

          Your desktop relies on a wide variety of env variables to function correctly which doesn’t bother you because they are set for you. This has literally worked fine for me for years. I have no idea what you think you are talking about. Wayland doesn’t work AT ALL for me out of the box without ensuring some variables are set because my distro doesn’t do that for me this doesn’t mean Wayland is broken.

          • @orangeboats@lemmy.world
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            310 months ago

            They pick up “automatically” because of how your DE sets up the relevant envvars for you, there is nothing in the protocol that actually tells the applications “hey, this monitor needs X% DPI scaling!”.

            The side effect of this deficiency in the protocol is very obvious, you can’t mix DPIs, because the envvars or Xft.dpi are global and not per-application. Have you seen a blurry LoDPI X11 window sitting right beside a HiDPI X11 window? Or an X11 window changing its DPI dynamically as you move it across monitors with different DPIs?

            The fact that SDL2 still doesn’t support HiDPI on X11 when it already does on Macs, Windows, and Linux Wayland should tell you something.

            Don’t throw the “it works for me” excuse on me. Because I can throw it back on you too: “Wayland works on my machine”. X11 is utterly broken, just admit it. You are welcome to develop another X11 if you want.

            • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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              -110 months ago

              Nothing is set automatically I run a window manager and it starts what I tell it to start. I observed that at present fewer env variables are now required to obtain proper scaling. I did not personally dig into the reasoning for same because frankly its an implementation detail. I just noted that qt apps like dolphin and calibre are scaled without benefit of configuration while GTK apps like Firefox don’t work without GDK_SCALE set.

              X actually exposes both the resolution and physical size of displays. This gives you the DPI if you happen to have mastered basic math. I’ve no idea if this is in fact used but your statement NOTHING provides that is trivially disprovable by runing xrandr --verbose. It is entirely possible that its picking up on the globally set DPI instead which in this instance would yield the exact same result because and wait for it.

              You don’t in fact actually even need apps to be aware of different DPI or dynamically adjust you may scale everything up to the exact same DPI and let X scale it down to the physical resolution. This doesn’t result in a blurry screen. The 1080p screen while not as pretty as the higher res screens looks neither better nor worse than it looks without scaling.

              Why would I need to develop another X11 I believe I shall go on using this one which already supported high and mixed DPI just fine when Wayland was a steaming pile of shit nobody in their right mind would use. It probably actually supported it when you yourself were in elementary school.

              • @orangeboats@lemmy.world
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                10 months ago

                Nothing is set automatically I run a window manager and it starts what I tell it to start. I observed that at present fewer env variables are now required to obtain proper scaling.

                Fun fact: zero envvars are needed for HiDPI support on Wayland.

                You do possibly need envvars to enable Wayland support though, but the latest releases of Qt6, GTK4, SDL3 etc. are enabling Wayland by default these days so in the future everything will work out of the box. By default.

                X actually exposes both the resolution and physical size of displays. This gives you the DPI if you happen to have mastered basic math. I’ve no idea if this is in fact used but your statement NOTHING provides that is trivially disprovable by runing xrandr --verbose.

                Did I say XRandR and mixed DPI in my previous comments? Yeah, I think I did. What the Qt applications currently do is choosing the max DPI and sticking with it. There are some nasty side effects, as I will explain below.

                You don’t in fact actually even need apps to be aware of different DPI or dynamically adjust you may scale everything up to the exact same DPI and let X scale it down to the physical resolution.

                Don’t forget the side effect: GPU demands and/or CPU demands (depending on the renderer) increase… a lot, nearly 2x in some cases. This might not be acceptable in applications like laptops - have you used projectors in college?

                Anecdotally speaking, I gained 1 to 2 hours of battery life just by ditching X11, it’s impressive considering my battery life was like 4 to 5 hours back then. Now it’s actually competitive with Windows which usually gets 6 to 7 hours of battery life.

                Furthermore, scaling up and down in multiple passes, instead of letting the clients doing it in “one go” and have the compositor scan it directly onto your screen, leads to problems in font rendering because of some antialiasing shenanigans in addition to the power consumption increase. It’s the very reason why Wayland added a fractional_scaling protocol.

                Why would I need to develop another X11 I believe I shall go on using this one which already supported high and mixed DPI just fine when Wayland was a steaming pile of shit nobody in their right mind would use.

                Apparently the “nobody” includes GTK, Qt, SDL, and all the mainstream DEs (Xfce and Cinnamon included - even they are preparing to add Wayland support). 90% of the programs I use actually support Wayland pretty well. Good job lad, you managed to invalidate your own argument.

                Besides that, you still haven’t properly answered the question of mixed DPI: have you seen a properly-scaled-up LoDPI X11 application? It’s a big problem for XWayland developers. See it here. And yes… those developers are (were?) X11 developers. I think they know how unworkable X11 is, more than you do.

                • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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                  -110 months ago

                  It doesn’t require a meaningful or measurable difference in CPU/GPU to scale my third monitor. That is to say in practical effect actual usage of real apps so dwarfs any overhead that it is immeasurable statistical noise. In all cases nearly all of the CPU power is going to the multitude of applications not drawing more pixels.

                  The concern about battery life is also probably equally pointless. People are normally worrying about scaling multiple monitors in places where they have another exciting innovation available… the power cord. If you are kicking it with portable monitors at the coffee shop you are infinitely more worried about powering the actual display more so than GPU power required to scale it. Also some of us have actual desktops.

                  Furthermore, scaling up and down in multiple passes, instead of letting the clients doing it in “one go” and have the compositor scan it directly onto your screen, leads to problems in font rendering

                  There are some nasty side effects

                  There just aren’t. It’s not blurry. There aren’t artifacts. It doesn’t take a meaningful amount of resources. I set literally one env variable and it works without issue. In order for you to feel you are justified you absolutely NEED this to be a hacky broken configuration with disadvantages. It’s not its a perfectly trivial configuration and Wayland basically offers nothing over it save for running in place to get back to the same spot. You complain about the need to set an env var but to switch to wayland would be a substantial amount of effort and you can’t articulate one actual benefit just fictional deficits I can refute by turning my head slightly.

                  Your responses make me think you aren’t actually listening for instance

                  11 is utterly broken, just admit it. You are welcome to develop another X11 if you want.

                  Why would I need to develop another X11 I believe I shall go on using this one which already supported high and mixed DPI just fine when Wayland was a steaming pile of shit nobody in their right mind would use. Apparently the “nobody” includes GTK, Qt, SDL…

                  Please attend more carefully. Scaling and High DPI was a thing on X back when Wayland didn’t work at all. xrandr supported --scale back in 2001 and high DPI support was a thing in 2012. Wayland development started in 2008 and in 2018 was still a unusable buggy pile of shit. Those of us who aren’t in junior high school needed things like High DPI and scaling back when Wayland wasn’t remotely usable and now that it is starting to get semi usable I for one see nothing but hassle.

                  I don’t have a bunch of screen tearing, I don’t have bad battery life, I have working high DPI, I have mixed DPI I don’t have a blurry mess. These aren’t actual disadvantages this is just you failing to attend to features that already exist.

                  Imagine if at the advent of automatic transmissions you had 500 assholes on car forums claiming that manual transmission cars can’t drive over 50MPH/80KPH and break down constantly instead of touting actual advantages. It’s obnoxious to those of us who discovered Linux 20 years ago rather than last week.

                  • @orangeboats@lemmy.world
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                    210 months ago

                    That is to say in practical effect actual usage of real apps so dwarfs any overhead that it is immeasurable statistical noise

                    The concern about battery life is also probably equally pointless.

                    some of us have actual desktops.

                    There just aren’t. It’s not blurry.

                    I don’t have a bunch of screen tearing

                    Let me summarize this with your own statement, because you certainly just went out and disregarded all things I said:

                    Your responses make me think you aren’t actually listening for instance

                    Yeah, you are now just outright ignoring people’s opinion. 2 hours of battery life - statistical noise, pointless. Laptops - who neeeeeeeeds that, we have desktops!! Lack of fractional scaling which people literally listed as a “disadvantage” of Wayland before it got the protocol - yeah, I guess X11 is magic and somehow things are not blurry on X11 which has the same problem when XRandR is used.

                    Do I need to quote more?

                    Also, regarding this:

                    Wayland development started in 2008 and in 2018 was still a unusable buggy pile of shit.

                    Maybe you should take note of when Wayland development had actually started picking up. 2008 was when the idea came up. 2012 was when the concrete foundation started being laid.

                    Not to mention that it was 2021 when Fedora and Ubuntu made it default. Your experience in 2018 is not representative of the Wayland ecosystem in 2021 at all, never mind that it’s now 2023. The 3 years between 2018-2021 saw various applications either implementing their first support, or maturing their support of Wayland. Maybe you should try again before asserting a bunch of opinions which are outdated.

                    Wayland was effectively rebuilding the Linux graphics stack from the ground up. (No, it’s not rebuilding the stack for the sake of it. The rebuilding actually started in X.org, but people were severely burned out in the end. Hence Wayland. X.org still contains an atomic KMS implementation, it’s just disabled by default.)

                    4 years of designing and 8 years of implementation across the entire ecosystem is impressive, not obnoxious.

                    It’s obnoxious to those of us who discovered Linux 20 years ago rather than last week.

                    Something makes me think that you aren’t actually using it 20 years ago.

                    Maybe it’s just my memory of the modelines failing me. Hmmm… did I just hallucinate the XFree86 server taking down my system?

                    Oh noes, I am getting old. Damn.

            • @michaelrose@lemmy.ml
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              -110 months ago

              Why on earth would I develop “another X11” instead of using the one that still works perfectly fine?

        • WuTang
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          -710 months ago

          How did we achieve HiDPI on X11? By changing Xft.dpi (breaking old things) or adding random environment variables (terrible UX - do you want to worsen Linux desktop’s reputation even more?).

          You seems to have dealt with windows recentely.

          Regarding linux on desktop… as long as you don’t involve smelly gamers, it’s perfectly fine.

          • @orangeboats@lemmy.world
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            410 months ago

            I have been daily-driving Linux for years, but I do boot into Windows from time to time. Even then, I recognize that the out-of-the-box experience of Linux desktop isn’t as good as it can be, although it’s been rapidly improving.