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Graphics Networking Open Source

First Steps Towards Network Transparency For Wayland (phoronix.com) 154

munwin99 writes: For the longest time, when bringing up Wayland a recurring question was 'what about network transparency?!' Well, Samsung's Derek Foreman has today published the set of Wayland patches for providing Wayland network transparency by pushing the Wayland protocol over TCP/IP.
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First Steps Towards Network Transparency For Wayland

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  • I seriously doubt that network transparency is at the top of anyones mind. It is 2016. If you want headless remote desktop availability you have a plethora of cross-platform options at your fingertips.

    • Re:Seriously?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @06:42PM (#51483023)

      What people want is ssh -X and yes it is a top priority to many.

      • by ssam ( 2723487 )
        "ssh -X" works fine on wayland. Install Fedora 23, start a wayland session and try it. (Ok, it starts up an xwayland server underneath, but from a user point of view it works indistinguishably)
        • by vadim_t ( 324782 )

          But that's not Wayland, it's X11, and only works for X11 applications. It'll stop working as soon as Linux applications transition to Wayland and the toolkits drop the X11 code.

      • by 4im ( 181450 )

        What people want is ssh -X and yes it is a top priority to many.

        That, plus the ability to reconnect to the same session (à la screen),
        in case your connection goes lost for some reason, or if you want to
        move to a different terminal (think remote/home work first via your mobile
        device, then move on to your workstation as you get home after being
        called when on call duty).

        Similar as to what Sun did ages ago, with their Sun Rays [wikipedia.org],
        of course updated and more flexible.

        • What people want is ssh -X and yes it is a top priority to many.

          That, plus the ability to reconnect to the same session (Ã la screen), ...

          In other words, what people really want is the functionality provided by xpra. The thing is, xpra would actually be easier to implement as a Wayland compositor than the current hack based on Xdummy or Xvfb.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      And yet, every time the subject of Wayland comes up, you can expect that at least 25% of the posts here will be concerning network transparency or their responses.
    • by dos1 ( 2950945 )

      That's why it wasn't considered when the protocol has been designed (and rightfully so), but it's great to see it as a later addition.

      I have never used network transparency in X for any significant purpose, but it was great for quick hacks, especially when I had a smartphone running X.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @06:47PM (#51483065)

      Holy fuck, how about they actually make it simple to run Wayland?!

      I mean they've been working on Wayland for years now, yet it's still a real pain in the ass to get working on a modern Linux distro.

      As shitty as X.org is, at least it's fairly easy to install and get working these days. It usually just happens as part of the Linux distro installation.

      But getting Wayland running? Holy fucking moley! Be prepared for a fight!

      The best I've managed so far was getting some Wayland-in-X thing running, and the results were less than spectacular.

      I don't give a fuck about its support for network transparency when I can't even get the fucker to run on my systems!

      They should at least get it to the point where it can be used on a standalone workstation, and only then should they look into network transparency.

      A windowing system that we can't actually use is, well, pretty fucking useless!

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @06:54PM (#51483127)

        Previously, the developers always refused to consider network transparency, and heated discussions followed. If now it is accepted, it is newsworthy for those who care about the feature, even though nobody can actually run Wayland yet.

      • by dingman ( 126949 )

        Is Fedora 23 a "modern Linux distro"? If so, to use Wayland on a modern distro, click on the little gear under your name on the login screen and choose "Gnome on Wayland". It's so easy I've done it by accident. (Synergy still has no Wayland support, so I don't want it as my default, but GDM remembers what desktop you chose last time.) This is a "real pain in the ass"?

        My current complaints are that Synergy doesn't work, which isn't really a Wayland failing at all; lack of an xrandr equivalent that I've found

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bakaorg ( 870848 )
      Personally, I would never use any windowing system by choice that did *not* have network transparency. Non-local VMs and applications with specific hardware requirements or physical attachments are the biggest (as specific examples that I have used *today*). I use VNC heavily (including KVM-to-VNC for boot level interactions with systems) but that is no overall solution since it doesn't give you integrated desktops usually (copy-paste, breaking out each remote window into a local window, etc).

      I'd certa
      • Re:Seriously?? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gtwrek ( 208688 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @07:08PM (#51483211)

        I concur. VMs, embedded hardware, headless machines- I'm on them all day. And ssh -X is all that I need working for my environment. As long as that works, everything else just is seamless. I think we're not going to see a reduction in VM's. And the number/amount of embedded hardware's only growing.

        Now, X certainly has ugly warts. I'm hopeful for what Wayland's offering. This network transparency patch for Wayland sounds like a great start.

        --Mark

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      I haven't found a better way to persistently run remote graphical programs than with X11 via xpra.

      What do you suggest instead? VNC? RDP?

      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        RDP indeed is a very good protocol. It's very fast, much faster than X11 forwarding, and can forward files, printers, and sounds across the link. Typically it's faster than VNC too. At one time there was talk about making a wayland module that would use RDP as the underlying protocol to remote Wayland windows and applications across the network. This actually makes more sense to me than forwarding the wayland protocol itself. RDP can do per-app forwarding (like we're used to on Linux), or the full desk

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Seriously, if they ever want to make it the year of Linux on the desktop they would adopt RDP as the protocol (as in compatible with mstsc.exe). It'd be a massive potential userbase of people running windows who could be immediate users of free software. I could see virtual desktops as a mass-market business, not the niche corporate Citrix/TS/VDI thing it is now.

          I always wonder why I don't make my own dekstop a VM and quit customizing or even caring if the actual machines I connect from do anything other

    • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @08:30PM (#51483737)

      Are you serious? It's 2016 and the rage is cloud computing with distributed virtual machines and containers all running programs. You better believe remoting and network transparency is in demand, and actually essential. Apps could be local in a docker container or on the cloud. All interfaced on a laptop or tablet together seamlessly. Really it's the old 1990s Sun vision actually materializing.

    • I seriously doubt that network transparency is at the top of anyones mind. It is 2016. If you want headless remote desktop availability you have a plethora of cross-platform options at your fingertips.

      You have never administered a really stripped-down server, have you?

      If you think that you have, then you don't know the meaning of "really stripped-down".

      • by Fwipp ( 1473271 )

        What "really stripped-down server" were you working on that you needed to launch graphical applications to administer it?

        A "really stripped-down server" is, to me, a server without vi or nano.

      • Aside from all the jokes about not using vi, etc. I seriously marvel at the idea of a "really stripped-down server" including an X system. Though I fairly regularly use ssh -X on other workstations, I haven't included X at all on a single server (LTSP servers aside) in the last 15 years. I'm curious what kinds of tools server admins are requiring an X environment on the server for.

        • Aside from all the jokes about not using vi, etc. I seriously marvel at the idea of a "really stripped-down server" including an X system.

          Actually, after writing that, I realized that, yes, really a stripped-down server does not include X. I have some servers configured this way.

          The point that I was trying to make is that a server should not need a desktop window manager. Earlier, in the arguments over Wayland, the response was "just use VNC". But for VNC, you need a window manager.

          I have found tha

          • That's a good point -- while rare for me personally, I have on occasion included minimal X libraries for particular apps before while not hosting a full-time console environment. I've run into some apps that offer GUI admin from a remote machine -- but only if you install a "big boy" web server w/ extra modules that starts to make the X installation look small and simple.

    • Citrix, VMWare View, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those who do not understand X are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.

    -- Harry Spencer (sort of).

  • by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @07:12PM (#51483237)

    Wake me up in several or more years when something is actually available, works, and is really backwards compatible. Meanwhile, those of us who depend on thin clients really do have a problem with throwing away X11.

  • and why should I care? Jeez people, is it really that hard to add a line to the summary to explain these esoteric things?
    • Re:WTF is Wayland (Score:5, Interesting)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Wednesday February 10, 2016 @07:53PM (#51483483) Homepage Journal

      Wayland is a fairly controversial replacement for X11, written by the people currently maintaining the X.org X11 stack.

      As the summary implies, Wayland been criticized for lacking significant features of X11 such as network transparency. Defenders have argued that network transparency is a minority application and that they don't like the way it's implemented in X11 anyway,

      Those of us who use network transparency are rather bothered by being told that something that works fine for us (and it does, I regularly have to configure LibreOffice systems running on AWS instances, and have never bumped into any of the supposed problems Wayland advocates insist I have) are things we don't really need or want. We're not happy about losing functionality simply so that someone can go from 59fps to 59.5fps when playing Call of Duty.

      Previous proposals have varied from proposals for an optional intermediary protocol sitting between Wayland and the client (apparently by people who have no idea what the transparency part of "Network transparency") and even the ability to stream the contents of Windows using H.264.

      This proposal sounds, at least at first glance, to be better than those hacks. Hopefully it means they're finally taking the issue seriously.

      • Actually the summary doesn't mention X11 at all. Even that would have helped. It just says that Wayland has been criticized for lacking network transparency and a set of patches were released for pushing the protocol over TCP/IP. I had no idea what Wayland was from the summary because I've been away from the Linux movement for a while (I used to be system administrator). Even just just including the word X11 in the summary would have made it much clearer.

      • by steveha ( 103154 )

        Defenders have argued that network transparency is a minority application and that they don't like the way it's implemented in X11 anyway,

        All I need to know is that all the people who know the most about X11 think Wayland is a good idea.

        Here's a talk from 2013 where an experienced X11 developer explaining exactly what is wrong with X11 and why he thinks Wayland is a good idea. This link starts 40 minutes into the talk, where he specifically talks about running remotely over a network.

        https://youtu.be/RIctz [youtu.be]

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