non-Unity flavours and Mir

Thomas Voß thomas.voss at
Fri Jun 14 15:19:04 UTC 2013

On Fri, Jun 14, 2013 at 5:15 PM, Marc Deslauriers
<marc.deslauriers at> wrote:
> On 13-06-14 11:04 AM, Scott Kitterman wrote:
>> On Friday, June 14, 2013 03:54:32 PM Jonathan Riddell wrote:
>>> Here's a discussion I half started as part of vUDS.
>>> The switch to Mir in Ubuntu seems pretty risky for the existance of
>>> Kubuntu, I wonder if other flavours have the same probable problem.
>>> KWin dev has opinions on the subject
>>> From the
>>> architecture section on that blog post:
>>>  "Mir’s architecture is centered around Unity. It is difficult to really
>>>  understand the architecture of Mir as the specification is so full of
>>>  buzz-words that I don’t understand it [5]. From all I can see and
>>>  understand Unity Next is a combination of window manager and desktop
>>>  shell implemented on top of Mir. How exactly this is going to look
>>>  like I do not know. Anyway it does not fit our design of having
>>>  desktop shell and window manager separated and we do not know whether
>>>  Mir would support that. We also do not know whether Mir would allow
>>>  any other desktop shell except Unity Next, given that this is the main
>>>  target. Wayland on the other hand is designed to have more than one
>>>  compositor implementations. Using KWin as a session compositor is an
>>>  example in the spec."
>>> and on protocol
>>>  "But it gets worse, the protocol between Mir server and Mir clients
>>>  is defined as not being stable. In fact it’s promised that it will
>>>  break. That’s a huge problem, I would even call it a showstopper....
>>>  Given that the protocol may change any time and given that the whole
>>>  thing is developed for the needs of Unity we have to expect that the
>>>  server libraries are not binary compatible or that old version of the
>>>  server libraries cannot talk with the latest client libraries"
>>> Canonical was going to port LightDM to Wayland but now does not plan
>>> to so someone else would have to do this.  KDE might be interested
>>> but more likely will switch to SDDM.
>>> For Kubuntu the options are:
>>> - Use Mir - infeasable as upstream can't support it as described above
>>> - Use Wayland with packages from Debian and hope we can make those packages
>>>   live with Mir as best as possible
>>> - End of Kubuntu
>>> The second options is the one I'm expecting.  It's completely unknown
>>> how much it means Kubuntu and other flavours will need to maintain X
>>> and Wayland packages, hopefully not much (it's hardly our speciality)
>>> and hopefully Debian and Ubuntu Desktop will support it enough.
>>> I don't think there's a public timeline for Mir so we don't know when
>>> this will hit us, presumably in the next year.
>>> Other flavours I think are this:
>>> Mythbuntu: not evaluated, hope to do so once NVideo and AMD provide drivers
>>> Lubuntu: not evaluated, hope to use X and GTK
>>> ubuntustudio: I've heard both that they use xfce based on xubuntu and
>>> will follow them, and "aiming for users to choose whatever desktop
>>> environment they want"
>>> Any other flavours got an opinions?
>>> Are there any misconceptions I have in the above?
>> Given that mesa is going to be heavily patched to support Mir, I question the
>> long term feasibility of supporting Wayland in Ubuntu.
> How would adding a new backend to mesa result in it being "heavily
> patched"? Why would adding a new backend to mesa affect the other
> backends, including Wayland?

It does not (as I understand it), we are merely introducing another
EGL platform, leveraging mesa's existing capabilities of supporting
different EGL backends.


> Marc.
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