non-Unity flavours and Mir

Stephen Michael Kellat skellat at
Thu Jun 20 21:50:52 UTC 2013

On Thu, 20 Jun 2013 14:13:02 -0700
Steve Langasek <steve.langasek at> wrote:

> Hi Julien,
> On Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 11:37:50PM +0200, Julien Lavergne wrote:
> > 2013/6/18 Jeremy Bicha <jbicha at>:
> > > On 18 June 2013 02:00, Aigars Mahinovs <aigarius at> wrote:
> > >> Based solely on comments from this thread, as far as I understand, both
> > >> Ubuntu and KDE will maintain the ability to work with X for the foreseeable
> > >> timeframe, so this more of a question on which happens first - Ubuntu
> > >> stopping support for X based desktop environments (unlikely to be very soon,
> > >> given the popularity of XFCE and friends) or KWin dropping X support in
> > >> favour of Wayland-only solution (also unlikely to be quite soon given how
> > >> many distros are not shipping Wayland by default yet).
> > >> There might theoretically be new features that work on Mir (or Wayland), but
> > >> not on X, but those are likely to be minor and more related to boot and/or
> > >> user switching rather than actual work.
> > > I think you're mixing up two different concepts: support for running X
> > > apps and support for running X as the system display server. As I
> > > mentioned before, my guess is that GNOME will only work with Wayland
> > > as system display server within a year or two. Similarly, I expect
> > > Unity to only work with Mir as the system display server for either
> > > 14.04 LTS or 14.10. Developers are not switching to Mir or Wayland for
> > > theoretical minor features, but to finally move past long-standing
> > > issues with the X stack that impact users.
> > > Obviously everyone will still support running legacy X apps for at
> > > least the next few years.
> > Speaking for Lubuntu, this point is my first concern before even
> > thinking about migration to MIR or Wayland : what will be the support
> > and Canonical support for X in the next releases ? For example, is X
> > will be maintained in 14.04 as a LTS component ? Are other flavors can
> > count on it to build a LTS version for 14.04 ? I can't imagine an LTS
> > for at least Xubuntu (and all Xfce based flavors) and Lubuntu without
> > a LTS support for this critical piece of the OS.
> The established Ubuntu desktop is composed entirely of software that talks
> to X.  While some of this software may "easily" migrate to Mir by way of
> toolkit support, I think there's no question that Canonical will need to
> support X - specifically, X on top of Mir - for quite some time to come.
> So in the 14.04 time frame, I think it's a safe bet that Lubuntu will have
> options for continuing to run on top of a supported X server.  Mir may not
> give you anything new that you care about in Lubuntu, but Mir+XMir should
> still provide a reasonable, stable, supported display platform for you.
> The problems for Kubuntu, AIUI, have more to do with what happens when
> Canonical supports X on top of Mir, and KDE stops supporting either X or
> Mir.  I suspect this isn't going to be a problem for Lubuntu in the near
> future?
> -- 
> Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
> Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
> Ubuntu Developer                          
> slangasek at                                     vorlon at

As neither Micah nor Lionel have chimed in, I'll tread in as a non-developer briefly.  From the Xubuntu perspective, we're still at the wait-and-see point to see how XonMir will perform.  The big concern raised in discussion in the land of the mouse is the nature of the X stack and where it will go.  

If I understand the flow of discussion correctly, a bit of friction results from the use of generalities too.  While noted above that X would need to be supported for some time to come, much of what has not been spoken of in this context is what that means in terms of a ballpark figure.  Two years?  Five years?  Until 16.04?  Narrowing down that generality may help with that seeming friction point.

I cannot and do not speak for Xubuntu's developers officially.  We're all busy planning for a variety of contingencies to grow our product.  This is yet another contingency we have to keep an eye on in terms of what we do in producing a flavor.  

I recognize well that this switch to Mir is driven by the needs of the business and will require adaptation.  There does come a point where the agility and speed needed to keep up with changes in the needs of the business may introduce some points where things become fragile.  I certainly learned that in the private sector working for a publicly-traded non-IT company.  We need to find ways to avoid those fragile breaking points as we react to a dynamic marketplace.

Stephen Michael Kellat
GnuPG Key ID: 37BFA531

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