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LCA: The ways of Wayland

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By Nathan Willis
February 13, 2013

Collabora's Daniel Stone presented the final piece of the linux.conf.au 2013 display server triptych, which started with a pair of talks from Keith Packard and David Airlie. Stone explained the concepts behind Wayland and how it relates to X11—because, as he put it, "everything you read on the Internet about it will be wrong."

The Dark Ages

Stone, who said that he was "tricked into" working on X about ten years ago, reviewed X11's history, starting with the initial assumption of single-keyboard, single-mouse systems with graphics hardware focused on drawing rectangles, blitting images, and basic window management. But then, he continued, hardware got complicated (from multiple input devices to multiple GPUs), rendering got complicated (with OpenGL and hardware-accelerated video decoding), and window management got awful (with multiple desktop environments, new window types, and non-rectangular windows). As time passed, things slowly got out of hand for X; what was originally a well-defined mechanism swelled to incorporate dozens of protocol extensions and thousands of pages of specifications—although on the latter point, Packard chimed in to joke that the X developers never wrote anything that could be called specifications.

The root of the trouble, Stone said, was that—thanks to politics and an excessive commitment to maintaining backward compatibility even with ancient toolkits—no one was allowed to touch the core protocol or the X server core, even as the needs of the window system evolved and diverged. For one thing, the XFree86 project, where much of the development took place, was not itself the X Consortium. For another, "no one was the X Consortium; they weren't doing anything." As a result, more and more layers got wrapped around the X server, working around deficiencies rather than fixing them. Eventually, the X server evolved into a operating system: it could run video BIOSes, manage system power, perform I/O port and PCI device management, and load multiple binary formats. But in spite of all these features, he continued, it was "the dumbest OS you've ever seen." For example, it could generate a configuration file for you, but it was not smart enough to just use the correct configuration.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Things did improve, he said. When the X.Org Foundation was formed, the project gained a cool domain name, but it also undertook some overdue development tasks, such as modularizing the X server. The initial effort may have been too modular, he noted, splitting into 345 git modules, but for the most part it was a positive. Using autotools, the X server was actually buildable. Modularization allowed X developers to excise old and unused code; Stone said the pre-refactoring xserver 1.0.2 release contained 879,403 lines, compared to 562,678 lines today.

But soon they began adding new features again; repeating the pile-of-extensions model. According to his calculations, today X includes a new drawing model (XRender), four input stacks (core X11, XInput 1.0, 2.0, and 2.2), five display management extensions (core X11, Xinerama, and the three generations of RandR that Airlie spoke about), and four buffer management models (core X11, DRI, MIT-SHM, and DRI2). At that point, the developers had fundamentally changed how X did everything, and as users wanted more and more features, those features got pushed out of X and into the client side (theming, fonts, subwindows, etc.), or to the window manager (e.g., special effects).

[Daniel Stone at LCA 2013]

That situation leaves the X server itself with very little to do. Client applications draw everything locally, and the X server hands the drawing to the window manager to render it. The window manager hands back the rendered screen, and the X server "does what it's told" and puts it on the display. Essentially, he said, the X server is nothing but a "terrible, terrible, terrible" inter-process communication (IPC) bus. It is not introspectable, and it adds considerable (and variable) overhead.

Wayland, he said, simply cuts out all of the middleman steps that the X server currently consumes CPU cycles performing. Client applications draw locally, they tell the display server what they have drawn, and the server decides what to put onto the display and where. Commenters in the "Internet peanut gallery" sometimes argue that X is "the Unix way," he said. But Wayland fits the "do one thing, do it well" paradigm far better. "What one thing is X doing, and what is it doing well?"

The Wayland forward

Stone then turned his attention to providing a more in-depth description of how Wayland works. The first important idea is that in Wayland, every frame is regarded as "perfect." That is, the client application draws it in a completed form, as opposed to X, where different rectangles, pixmaps, and text can all be sent separately by the client, which can result in inconsistent on-screen behavior. DRI2 almost—but not quite—fixed this, but it had limitations (chiefly that it had to adhere to the core X11 protocol).

Wayland is also "descriptive" and not "prescriptive," he said. For example, in X, auxiliary features like pop-up windows and screensavers are treated exactly like application windows: they grab keyboard and window input and must be positioned precisely on screen. Unpleasant side effects result, such as being unable to use the volume keys when a screensaver is active, and being unable to trigger the screensaver when a menu is open on the screen. With Wayland, in contrast, the application tells the server that a frame is a pop-up and lets the compositor decide how to handle it. Yes, he said, it is possible that someone would write a bad compositor that would mishandle such a pop-up—but that is true today as well. Window managers are also complex today; the solution is to not run the bad ones.

Wayland also uses an event-driven model, which simplifies (among other things) listening for input devices. Rather than asking the server for a list of initial input devices which must be parsed (and is treated separately from subsequent device notifications), clients simply register for device notifications, and the Wayland server sends the same type of message for existing devices as it does for any subsequent hot-plugging events. Wayland also provides "proper object lifetimes," which eliminates X11's fatal-by-default and hard-to-work-around BadDevice errors. Finally, it side-steps the problem that can occur when a toolkit (such as GTK+ or Clutter) and an application support different versions of the XInput extension. In X, the server only gets one report from the application about which version is supported; whether that equals the toolkit or the application's version is random. In Wayland, each component registers and listens for events separately.

Go Weston

Stone capped off the session with a discussion about Weston, the reference implementation of a Wayland server, its state of readiness, and some further work still in the pipeline. Weston is reference code, he explained. Thus it has plugin-based "shells" for common desktop features like docks and panels, and it supports existing X application clients. It offers a variety of output and rendering choices, including fbdev and Pixman, which he pointed out to refute the misconception that Wayland requires OpenGL. It also supports hardware video overlays, which he said will be of higher quality than the X implementation.

The GNOME compositor Mutter has an out-of-date port to Wayland, he continued, making it in essence a hybrid X/Wayland compositor as is Weston. GNOME Shell used to run on Mutter's Wayland implementation, he said, or at least "someone demoed it once in July ... so it's ready for the enterprise." In fact, Stone is supposed to bring the GNOME Shell code up to date, but he has not yet had time. There are implementations for GTK+, Clutter, and Qt all in upstream git, and there is a Gstreamer waylandvideosink element, although it needs further work. In reply to a question from the audience, Stone also commented that Weston's touchpad driver is still incomplete, lacking support for acceleration and scrolling.

Last but clearly not least, Stone addressed the state of Wayland support for remoting. X11's lousy implementation of IPC, he said, in which it acts as a middleman between the client and compositor, hits its worst-case performance when being run over the Internet. Furthermore, the two rendering modes every application uses (SHM and DRI2), do not work over the network anyway. The hypothetical "best" way to implement remoting support, he explained, would be for the client application to talk to the local compositor only, and have that compositor speak to the remote compositor, employing image compression to save bandwidth. That, he said, is precisely what VNC does, and it is indeed better than X11's remote support. Consequently, Wayland developer Kristian Høgsberg has been experimenting with implementing this VNC-like remoting support in Weston, which has its own branch interested parties can test. "We think it's going to be better at remoting than X," Stone said, or at least it cannot be worse than X.

For end users, it will still be a while before Wayland is usable on Linux desktops outside of experimental circumstances. The protocol was declared 1.0 in October 2012, as was Weston, but Weston is still a reference implementation (lacking features, as Stone described in his talk). It may be a very long time before applications are ported from X11 to Wayland, but by providing a feature-by-feature comparison of Wayland's benefits over X, Stone has crafted a good sales pitch for both application developers and end users.


(Log in to post comments)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 20:33 UTC (Wed) by richmoore (guest, #53133) [Link]

I enjoyed this talk (and the others I've watched so far from the conference) though the continued moans about LWN comments did get a bit tired. That said, as one of the people who agrees with the direction that Wayland is taking I can see why he's pissed off. I have to wonder how many of the people complaining about remote desktop support in wayland have actually tried things like the RDP facilities in windows since these days they're actually much better than remote X11. As a developer who's worked on things that have to deal with X directly like taskbars and screenshot tools all I can say is bring on wayland! Wayland is immature right now, but the design is what we need.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 22:42 UTC (Wed) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

I don't want to start Yet Another Remote Wayland argument. I've seen enough from the Wayland folks to convince me that remote display is possible.

But I do want to nip this whole "RDP" thing right in the bud. Remote desktops are NOT WHAT WE WANT (well I'm sure some do, but many don't). If you're used to Windows then you may think "remote display" means "remote desktop" but it is not the same thing at all. We want to have support for remote display on a _per application_ basis, and even a _per-window basis_ for the same application--and of course all its related display objects (menus, etc.) and where its events come from (keyboard, mouse, cut/paste buffers, etc.) should follow.

I have this today with X. The next generation of X, regardless of how amazing it is otherwise, won't be a realistic option for me until it has this support as well. RDP in Windows is much WORSE than remote X11, because it's functionally inferior. RDP can't meet the entry requirements, so who cares how much faster it is?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:03 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

> But I do want to nip this whole "RDP" thing right in the bud.

You must be very unfamiliar with how Windows remote applications are done in today's business world by some companies.

Remote applications are now mainstream. It's perfectly reasonable and fairly common to find people running virtualized Windows desktops running applications that get displayed individually on 'thick' windows clients. Users are using a mixture of remote and local applications and couldn't tell you which of the stuff they use is not installed on the local machine.

Sound, video, input, menu launching, copying and pasting... all this is entirely transparent to the end user. There is no discernible difference in performance between local and remote applications. Everything is integrated into group policies and the like. So to allow different users access to different sets of applications based on role is easily achieved and desktop independent due to it's integration into Active Directory.

This is my experience in Windows enterprise setup today. It's shocking how well it works. This doesn't use RDP, though. It's done through a Citrix product using ICA protocol, of which RDP is a sort of bastardized offshoot or something of that nature. I am not completely aware of how it works and what products they are using because I don't do Windows support, but I use it and it works.

Hilariously there is a huge number of people that use real 'thin clients' in the form of Wyse terminals. I don't use the terminals personally, except rarely, however the ones I've seen all run Suse Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:24 UTC (Wed) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

I definitely know this can and is being done on Windows. But as you say, it's NOT RDP, and RDP is what people are always comparing X's remote display to (I guess because RDP is standard with Windows, as remote display is with X--the services you're talking about require separate purchase and typically serious hardware and maintenance). Although my experience with Citrix is not nearly as rosy as yours; when I used it (admittedly a few years ago) the applications were very slow and relatively dodgy. It could well be due to poor configuration or underpowered servers, I don't know.

However I don't think even those tools allow the same level of flexibility as X. For example, I have a system at work and I run Emacs on it and do all my work. When I get home I can ssh into my work system and ask my existing Emacs instance to open a new window on my display at home. All my buffers are right there just as I left them, and all aspects of the window work as if it were local (cut/paste, menus, etc.) Obviously Emacs had to provide some support for this itself, but it requires no special add-ons or third party integration.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:49 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

However I don't think even those tools allow the same level of flexibility as X. For example, I have a system at work and I run Emacs on it and do all my work. When I get home I can ssh into my work system and ask my existing Emacs instance to open a new window on my display at home. All my buffers are right there just as I left them, and all aspects of the window work as if it were local (cut/paste, menus, etc.)

And I can connect to my work system and use the same windows in Visual Studio with "all aspects of the window work as if it were local".

Obviously Emacs had to provide some support for this itself, but it requires no special add-ons or third party integration.

And this nicely shows the difference between Windows approach (everything works out-of-the box for 99% of usecases without any help from application developers) and X approach (we have this ultranice solution which can do everything in theory, but fails in 99% of cases in practice).

Sorry, but I regard RDP as "basically usable solution" and "X network transparency" as half-working experiment at best. It fails in all cases where I actually need it. Either I need to use only one of the very few programs which can show all the nice properties of "X network transparency" or I need to do something in advance and suffer even if you don't really need to use this "transparency" in this particular session.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 0:15 UTC (Thu) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

> And I can connect to my work system and use the same windows in Visual Studio with "all aspects of the window work as if it were local".

Only if you take the entire desktop--I've already explained why whole-desktop sharing doesn't work for me. X can do this, too, without needing any special support or coding in the applications. It's only if you want to have one application open windows in two different displays simultaneously that you need special support in the application.

However I'm no Windows expert, by any stretch. If there's a way to share a single application's windows between multiple systems seamlessly, without the entire desktop, that's very cool. If I was a Windows developer I'd probably be very happy with that.

I don't know what you mean by the X approach fails in 99% of the cases, or that "few programs" show all the properties of X network transparency. Either this is hyperbole or else the set of applications you use and the set I use have zero overlap, since 100% of the applications I use work perfectly (and transparently) when using a remote display, with no special extra code. However I'm not interested in this argument either.

This article is about Wayland, and my only point in posting is to make clear that "remote desktop" is not sufficient functionality to achieve feature parity with X.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 0:30 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Only if you take the entire desktop--I've already explained why whole-desktop sharing doesn't work for me.

Sure. I already know you need a solution for this rare 1% case. You've said it enough times, thanks.

X can do this, too, without needing any special support or coding in the applications. It's only if you want to have one application open windows in two different displays simultaneously that you need special support in the application.

How exactly does it work? What commands should I type? My usecase is simple: I'm late at work in Friday, I have dozen of programs open on my desktop and I want to leave for weekend but may be I'll find the time next Saturday to try to fix few things. What should I do?

Note: I have not planned this session in advance, I have not planned to work from home. It just... happened. Well, I obviously needed to do one-time setup to make my desktop remotely accessible, but I definitely have not done anything in this particular session! Sometimes I understand that I need to do something from home when I've already left my office.

With X there are only one choice: use something like xpra and suffer the slowdown all the time even if you actually need to access your programs remotely once or twice per year. Or you can sidestep X and use something like VNC.

I don't know what you mean by the X approach fails in 99% of the cases, or that "few programs" show all the properties of X network transparency.

Exactly what noted above: I've locked my workstation and went home without logging out, I need to access my programs somehow. How to do that? That's the most common usecase for rdesktop. And the second most common is to share your desktop with tech support guy, obviously. Both work perfectly in Windows, both are horrible in Linux - and the solutions offered usually don't use the much vaunted "X network transparency" at all. I know some Linux distributions offer VNC as a solution, but it's not perfect: when I access programs in such a way my desktop in office is actually becoming unlocked and anyone can do anything with it!

I'm yet to find a X-based solution which covers this 99% usecase - which is obviously the most important and the most polished usecase in Windows!

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:18 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

I'd also like to point out that in the situation I mentioned above were we have a 'thick' clients running a mixture of remote and local applications and then we have 'thin' clients running full remote desktop...

This isn't some corner case were you have some developers wanting to run their tools from home. Nor is this the case were some guy wants to remote desktop to finish up on work on their down time in the weekend. (which are both common enough), but this is _everybody_. We are talking about thousands of users in a geographically diverse business in nearly half a dozen different countries and spread all over the USA using applications hosted in virtual machines in a couple specific datacenters.

Now that being said the 'remote desktop' is by far the most common use case that you are likely to run into for remote desktop computing. All you have to do is look at the success of things like 'Gotomypc' and such things to realize that there are probably more Windows users using remote desktop applications in a single large city then there has been people that used X11 to remote applications in all of time and space.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 12:16 UTC (Thu) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

How exactly does it work? What commands should I type? (to attach to an existing X session.)

On Debian, apt-get install x11vnc and then read the man page. It does exactly what you want.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 14:06 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

It doesn't. At least, it doesn't allow to do it without leaving the local workstation insecure.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 14:54 UTC (Thu) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

That is true. You need to physically secure your workstation if you use this trick.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 17:07 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> It doesn't. At least, it doesn't allow to do it without leaving the local workstation insecure.

Why not? You can lock the screen while you're away. Nobody can do anything there while you're connected because you'll see that. And you can lock the screen again before disconnecting.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 17:10 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

I might need to see or enter sensitive data that I don't want everyone else to see (credit card details is an obvious example). If I lose a connection (happens on 4G quite often) then the workstation would be wide open for any period of time.

Khim is right - Windows does this use-case just right. It's streamlined and easy.

On X11 with its vaunted "network transparency" it's simply not possible without bending over backwards.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 17:54 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> I might need to see or enter sensitive data that I don't want everyone else to see

Well, you can't protect from that even being near your desktop, since somebody might be looking above your shoulder. Or somebody could hide a small camera in a pen near you.

But in case of X.Org you have a killing feature: you can remotely turn your monitor off! :)

> Windows does this use-case just right. It's streamlined and easy.

Yeah. You need to enable remote desktop, configure access to it, and set up your firewall. Or you may google and install some third party software and configure it instead. It's so much harder with X.Org where you only need ssh and 2 commands to reach your remote desktop. ;)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 17:58 UTC (Thu) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

> Yeah. You need to enable remote desktop, configure access to it, and set up your firewall. Or you may google and install some third party software and configure it instead. It's so much harder with X.Org where you only need ssh and 2 commands to reach your remote desktop. ;)

FUD, plain and simply. You enable the Remote Desktop and it's ready to be used from other Win machine. What it DOES is lock out any local user while you are using your machine remotely, and that is why it is posited in this thread -- rightfully so -- as more secure.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 22:18 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> FUD, plain and simply. You enable the Remote Desktop and it's ready to be used from other Win machine. What it DOES is lock out any local user while you are using your machine remotely, and that is why it is posited in this thread -- rightfully so -- as more secure.

Uhm. Are we still talking about?:

>>> I've locked my workstation and went home without logging out, I need to access my programs somehow. And the second most common is to share your desktop with tech support guy, obviously.

I guess you assume that user works under local administrator in office, and does not use any third-party firewalls like outpost/comodo or some firewall built into installed antivirus.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 22:42 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

I guess you assume that user works under local administrator in office, and does not use any third-party firewalls like outpost/comodo or some firewall built into installed antivirus.

I'm yet to see an office which allows installation of third-party firewalls. Except for small business, but in this case user usually is, indeed, an admin and can do whatever s/he wants.

If it's something larger then mom-and-pop shop then there will be firewall, antivirus and may be even Parity, but of course the firewalls installed by winops will support WRA. And you don't need to be an admin to use this feature.

I think you are confused. Two usecases cited above are, indeed, the most common usecases - but while they both use RDP as core protocol they have totally different activation sequences and totally different UI. The only thing they share is the ability to start using them without any preparation in this particular session (you need to change OS settings to enable these, of course, but these can be pushed using via Active Directory - and it's true for any remote access protocol; they all need some kind of initial setup).

RDP

Posted Feb 15, 2013 11:15 UTC (Fri) by tialaramex (subscriber, #21167) [Link]

So, since I work for a huge dinosaur corporation right now, let me burst this particular bubble straight off.

Here's the _reality_, some of this is paraphrased because I wasn't aware that it would be hilarious enough to be worth recording until some way through the process, and my responses (mostly "OK") are elided. It happened to me _yesterday_ but it could be anybody, and any day, of any week in corporations everywhere.

"Hi, I need you to log into your computer, then go to some3rdpartywebsite.com and enter this eight digit code: 12345678"

"Yes, just click through all the security prompts and choose Run"

"OK, I have control of the computer now. You can probably see things moving. Hello."

"I wasn't able to get access to do the task I was assigned. I will talk to my supervisor"

"Sorry, I am not able to complete the task, I am refused permission to download the software. I will have the ticket re-assigned"

That's a _massive_ global corporation, with both ends using Microsoft Windows, trying to install a program, which ought to be centrally provisioned but of course that doesn't work. Notice that they invoke a third party solution, they end up violating a lot of security principles and still they can't get it to work. In the process they aren't able to take control without leaving the desktop unlocked, and they have no clue what they're doing when they're in.

THAT is the reality on the ground, what you're talking about is every bit as much the theory that doesn't translate into practice as what was discussed above about remoting X applications. RDP could work, it's possible to see how on paper it has potential advantages, but it's erroneous to suggest that it's actually out there solving the problem in these big corporate systems.

I do use RDP, in another aspect of my job I have to connect to a remote facility where (we were told) access to the servers is via SSH. What we weren't told was that they're inside a corporate firewall that our contact hasn't got permission to change. So to "SSH" into these machines I connect to an RDP system where I only have permission to run Putty. This clumsy, error-prone solution makes every occasion when we must access those systems a trial.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 18:00 UTC (Thu) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

> But in case of X.Org you have a killing feature: you can remotely turn your monitor off! :)

Can you be sure it stayed off?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 19:55 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Can you be sure it stayed off?

Yes, why not?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 20:59 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

How? And how are you going to turn it back on once you return next day?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 21:22 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> How?

There may be other options, but I was thinking about: xrandr --output XXX --off

> And how are you going to turn it back on once you return next day?

Same: xrandr --output XXX --auto

I can do that remotely before leaving my ssh session.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 21:25 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> There may be other options, but I was thinking about: xrandr --output XXX --off
So start x11vnc and try to do it. Doesn't work.

> I can do that remotely before leaving my ssh session.
In other words "you can't".

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 22:17 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> So start x11vnc and try to do it. Doesn't work.

Tried. It does. What does not work for you?

> In other words "you can't".

I just did. :)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 13:25 UTC (Fri) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

TigerVNC supports xrandr. Others don't.

Different VNC implementations support different features and there can be a vast difference in performance.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 20:19 UTC (Fri) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> TigerVNC supports xrandr. Others don't.

It does not matter. Shell supports xrandr. If I initially used ssh to get VNC, I can run xrandr over the same ssh session. Or I can open xterm after I connected to VNC and run xrandr there.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 22:04 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

On Debian, pt-get install x11vnc and then read the man page. It does exactly what you want.

No, it does not. I can't even understand how can you ever suggest such nonsense as an answer to the message which includes the following: Both work perfectly in Windows, both are horrible in Linux - and the solutions offered usually don't use the much vaunted "X network transparency" at all. I know some Linux distributions offer VNC as a solution, but it's not perfect: when I access programs in such a way my desktop in office is actually becoming unlocked and anyone can do anything with it!

Yes, I know about x11vnc - and that's exactly my point. We have this nice super-duped-network-transparent GUI system which obviously should be good for remoting, but when it's faced with real-world task (the most popular real world task by far!) it FAILS. Utterly and completely. The only solution offered is a kludge used by such systems as MacOS or Android (which shun the remote access in principle as "not important") or "every program should implement it explicitly" solution. Nothing even remotely close to what that "awful" Windows offers.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 20:17 UTC (Fri) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Yes, I know about x11vnc - and that's exactly my point.

What's the problem with x11vnc? You mentioned two use-cases: share desktop with someone else and connect from home to office. So x11vnc exactly solves first case and can be easily used in another one.

And no, having an unlocked screen is not a problem, since nobody can do anything there anyway because you'll see that (you can turn your monitor off if you're afraid of someone to see something). Even more, it's an advantage, since while talking to someone in your office you can say "Let me show you, come to my desktop... Look, I open this program, do this, click here and check this..."

> We have this nice super-duped-network-transparent GUI system which obviously should be good for remoting, but when it's faced with real-world task (the most popular real world task by far!) it FAILS.

It's not. This "nice super-duped-network-transparent GUI system" is what allows you to do that, and do it instantly, without any preparations, without patching X.Org or rebuilding weston from experimental git branch.

For me the most common case of remote desktop is: I'm home, I have not started VNC server since I did not planned to connect to office, but now I need it. So I SSH into my office machine, start x11vnc, do the job, lock screen and leave. Simple, no preparations, no firewall configurations, I don't even need admin rights to do that.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 3:42 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

x11vnc has NOTHING to do with X11's network transparency. In fact, VNC works just fine on almost any display system (including Android).

And even then, x11vnc _STILL_ doesn't solve all problems.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 11:35 UTC (Sat) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> x11vnc has NOTHING to do with X11's network transparency.

But even if it's not, so what? The statement was like "X does not allow that", and that statement is wrong, X allows that, x11vnc is an example.

When you need to run a single program remotely and see its window you can use x11vnc too (it can forward separate windows), but there're better solutions to that, like ssh -X (ssh -Y) or xpra/winswitch.org.

I don't understand all the fuzz about "network transparency". You either can do something or you can't. It does not matter what words you use to call that.

> And even then, x11vnc _STILL_ doesn't solve all problems.

Of course it does not solve ALL the problems. But it solves those two, the most common ones. :)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 18:18 UTC (Thu) by daglwn (guest, #65432) [Link]

> Sure. I already know you need a solution for this rare 1% case.

How many times do people have to tell you? It's NOT rare. It may not be the majority, but it's not rare.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 22:09 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

How many times do people have to tell you? It's NOT rare. It may not be the majority, but it's not rare.

Sorry, it is rare. As drag put it: All you have to do is look at the success of things like 'Gotomypc' and such things to realize that there are probably more Windows users using remote desktop applications in a single large city then there has been people that used X11 to remote applications in all of time and space.

If one case is used by tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands users while alternative case is used by tens (if not hundreds) of millions then the first case is rare and obscure one.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 23:48 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

by that argument, all of Linux is a 1% niche and we should stop wasting our time and just live with what Windows provides us.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 0:33 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

By now probably... yes. "Just use Windows" has been my recommendation for the last 4 years. Battle of the classic desktop is lost.

Non-classic desktops, however, are quite alive. I'm very glad Google is pushing both Android and Chromebook.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 0:37 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

so if you think everyone should just use windows, why are you hanging out on a Linux forum?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 0:42 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

For me Linux is a nice way to develop Linux software (for cluster computing, embedded devices and Android). It really excels at this purpose.

But at classic desktop tasks? Fuhgetaboudit.

I've tried it a couple of times in large organizations (my company even provides migration services). It works, but not much better or cheaper than recent enough Windows.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 0:52 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

so why are you opposed to people using Linux for use cases like yours (I'm assuming that you have some sort of Linux desktop that you develop on)

that may not be Linux desktops for the masses, but it's still Linux desktops

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 0:58 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Opposed? Certainly not. You're free to use whatever you like - it's free software, after all.

It's just that in my opinion it would be better to focus development and improvements on areas where Linux can be a serious contender. But that's just my personal opinion.

PS: I'm actually using Mac right now to develop Linux software. I'd switched after a random Ubuntu upgrade broke things yet again.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 16:34 UTC (Fri) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

The first step to get the most out of a Linux desktop is just to ignore what most people are telling people to do on the Linux desktop.

The amount of misinformation and bad advice out there is staggering. I appreciate it when people are able to help set the record straight, even when they gave up on the desktop a while ago. :)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 2:33 UTC (Sat) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

But at classic desktop tasks? Fuhgetaboudit.

This is FUD. At my company, we all use Linux on the desktop. Even the non-technical staff, because I'm the boss and I make them.

People seem pretty productive to me and they don't have any problems doing typical desktop tasks.

What's a "desktop task" that is a problem under Linux? I'm really curious to know what everyone at my company seems to be missing.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 3:50 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Sure, you can mandate Linux within an organization. My company even provides migration services for that.

However, in the course of migrations and subsequent support we found out that it requires more hand-holding than Windows. Some required apps don't work on Linux, some programs break after updates, there are still problems with hardware (even very common, like AC97 sound cards). Localization support is still poor (not everyone speaks English). There's still little support for centralized management and so on.

In short, it's simply easier to pay $100 per year per user - that's the price for corporate subscription for Windows + Office + Windows Server.

For home users it's even more clear cut - not much games on Linux, no Photoshop, no decent video editors for beginners, etc.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 4:05 UTC (Sat) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

However, in the course of migrations and subsequent support we found out that it requires more hand-holding than Windows.

Anecdotal evidence. My experience is precisely the opposite. The Linux desktops were dead-easy to set up. Everything we need Just Worked. And ongoing maintenance is a breeze.

For home users it's even more clear cut

Again, precisely the opposite of my experience. I gave my (very non-technical) parents a Linux machine. I could not imagine the nightmares I'd have to endure trying to maintain a Windows machine for them.

Yes, if you need specific Windows-only tools, then obviously you need Windows. But my kids are reasonably content with the games they can play on Linux (my 10-year-old daughter is a bzflag fanatic) and Gimp instead of photoshop. And my middle daughter wanted to edit videos badly enough that she learned Cinelerra and became pretty adept at using it.

All of my kids, without exception, do not like using Windows. They grew up with Linux so a lot of your complaints have to do with what you're used to and not with any real deficiencies in Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 5:28 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>Anecdotal evidence. My experience is precisely the opposite. The Linux desktops were dead-easy to set up. Everything we need Just Worked. And ongoing maintenance is a breeze.
With ActiveDomain membership, centralized backup, etc.? I doubt it. You need to buy something like SuSE for that and it ain't cheap.

Again, Linux might be OK for you on desktop, but it certainly is not significantly better than Windows. And given that Windows+Office is pretty cheap - there's simply no business case for small-to-midsize companies.

Then there's question of home users. I'm not a Mac fanboi (I just like MacBook's Retina display too much), so I don't have any other Apple hardware (well, I also received an iPad as a gift) - my phone is Android-based. But I've seen people with all-Apple infrastructure at home: TimeCapsules for backup and WiFi, Apple TV to view movies rented on iTunes, iPods for home sound system, etc. Integration is really impressive and mostly JustWorks. Windows comes at close second and is slowly getting better. I know people who use Windows Media Center to play music over multichannel and multizone sound systems.

Linux? Nah, we still can't get one decent media player/manager.

So yes, I'm pessimistic. It doesn't seem like Linux is capable of catching up with classic desktop computers.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 6:00 UTC (Sat) by apoelstra (subscriber, #75205) [Link]

>Again, Linux might be OK for you on desktop, but it certainly is not significantly better than Windows.

This is very silly. But if we are going to argue with anecdotes, let me tell you about my experience with the last six Windows computers I tried to use.

Windows takes forever to boot up (and requires frequent reboots!), displays a desktop long before it has actually booted (to prevent you ever knowing if the computer is in a usable state), routinely freezes up as it pegs the hard drive for long periods of time for no apparent reason, changes keyboard layouts out from under you once or twice every hour (and often only for specific applications), and generally looks and feels unprofessional. The installer cannot handle repartitioning or multiboot, but you must run it every year or so because the OS naturally degrades to the point that it must be reinstalled.

If you buy Windows off the shelf, you will find it is missing crucial drivers, so you get the fun of searching a motherboard website for Ethernet drivers and then transferring them via USB key to the new system. Or, you can install an OEM copy which will have most drivers, and spend a month finding and deleting crapware and advertisements. It is your choice.

It has awful filesystem support, awful network support, awful driver support, no tiling window managers, no scripting languages. It ships without any sort of development environment or compiler. It requires a slew of arcane third-party programs to constantly monitor the system and spackle over security holes. These all need constant updates.

Office can't handle nearly as many formats as LO can, nor can it handle LaTeX. Windows Media Player can't play half the formats out there, including Vorbis or Theora or FLAC. Outlook can't deal with PGP unless you pay extra to yet another third party. (So I guess it's OK that Windows doesn't support any filesystems, since it can't deal with any files..)

Almost of its software is closed-source, so you have no chance of dealing with the barrage of bugs you will encounter. Of the dozens of vendors you will need to deal with, you will find that most of them are either AWOL or openly hostile to bug reports. There is no software repository or standard way to manage updates, so everything just pops up and interrupts you.

Windows is great if you are looking for garbage and despair. But for anything involving files or networks, you'd be much, much better off with Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 6:35 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Sure, whatever. Windows sucks and must die. We know that, yes.

However, everybody else just doesn't care about it much. Most computers can be ordered with pre-installed Windows that works sufficiently well enough for 99% of users. Who don't care at all about LaTeX or scripting.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 14:59 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

So... we should ditch Linux on the desktop because Windows works fine for the majority of users who don't want to *do* much with their computers?

That's logical.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 16:49 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

That just about sums it up. For the 'classic' desktop Linux only, of course. It's clear that it won't be able to capture a significant marketshare from Windows without some pretty drastic changes in development process throughout the whole stack. And these changes are not going to happen.

On the other hand, moving from the areas where Linux is a strong contender into 'desktopy' segments seems to be a better strategy.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 18:26 UTC (Mon) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

I think there's always room for another Mac OSX, in no way dominant but carving out a significant and sustainable market share. I think a similar strategy would work as well, selling a small number of boutique devices as a profit to fund development on a constrained set of hardware. Canonical could maybe pull it off if they could focus on one thing but I think Google has a better chance with their Chrome books which seem to be doing OK.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 20:57 UTC (Mon) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

I think there's always room for another Mac OSX, in no way dominant but carving out a significant and sustainable market share.

I'm not so sure. Mac OSX is only sustainable because Apple sells hundreds of millions iPods and iPhones. It's not a sustainable as a purely desktop OS. And I'm not sure even large companies (like RedHat) have enough money to pour in the development of Mac OSX alternative.

Canonical could maybe pull it off if they could focus on one thing but I think Google has a better chance with their Chrome books which seem to be doing OK.

These are no yet sustainable by itself: they are somewhat popular but you can't develop software for ChromeOS on ChromeOS. Give it few years and situation may change, though.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Mar 11, 2013 9:34 UTC (Mon) by Duncan (guest, #6647) [Link]

> but you can't develop software for ChromeOS on ChromeOS.

In theory, you develop it for the web and run it on a server an it "just works" on chromeos... and anywhere else there's a reasonably current browser. Yes, as always with the web there's some issues with portability on the advanced stuff, but it's still far more portable than stuff written to a local system api.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 11:32 UTC (Sat) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

I ran the same installation of Windows XP Home for something like five or six years without needing to reinstall, and I've never had a Windows XP Pro installation at work's lifespan be shorter than the corporate desktop-PC replacement cycle. Fact is, a Linux box whose user treats it as cavalierly as most people treat their Windows boxes will break.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 15:45 UTC (Sat) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Fact is, a Linux box whose user treats it as cavalierly as most people treat their Windows boxes will break.

Could you provide a citation, please?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 22, 2013 17:23 UTC (Fri) by Pawlerson (guest, #74136) [Link]

I ran the same installation of Windows XP Home for something like five or six years without needing to reinstall, and I've never had a Windows XP Pro installation at work's lifespan be shorter than the corporate desktop-PC replacement cycle. Fact is, a Linux box whose user treats it as cavalierly as most people treat their Windows boxes will break.
I recommend you to stop telling us some fairy tells. I reinstall windows boxes quite often, so you won't trick me. Fact is Linux doesn't break unless you break it intentionally. Windows breaks, because it's broken by design.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 22, 2013 17:44 UTC (Fri) by mpr22 (subscriber, #60784) [Link]

It appears to me that it is your intent to state that I have knowingly made a false statement (I admit that there was a slight error - the Windows XP Home installation I recently abandoned due to purchasing a new desktop PC was only three years old - but it was accidental and certainly not in the land of "fairy tales"). Would you like to disabuse me of this impression, or is it correct?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 22, 2013 18:49 UTC (Fri) by mjg59 (subscriber, #23239) [Link]

"Fact is Linux doesn't break unless you break it intentionally."

I have *no* idea how I managed to get paid for most of the past 5 years, then.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Mar 5, 2013 21:18 UTC (Tue) by bronson (subscriber, #4806) [Link]

Why this didn't make QOTW I have no idea.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 13:38 UTC (Tue) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>Fact is Linux doesn't break unless you break it intentionally.

Aha, haha, haaahaaahaHAHAAAAaa
HAHAHAHAHA.
*snort*
hah.

That's probably the most hilarious thing I've heard in the last three years.

Hehe.
teehee
Ow. My abdomen hurts.
uhumhee

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 6:59 UTC (Sat) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> Linux might be OK for you on desktop, but it certainly is not significantly better than Windows.

It's interesting how we've moved from "Linux is junk" to "Linux isn't significantly better than Windows"

You may not like it as a desktop, and you may consider it utterly hopeless. Fine. Nobody is trying to force you to use it.

But to deny that many other people are successfully using it as a desktop (including 15K or so people in Munich) is just being obnoxious.

Different people want different things from a desktop. It's very possible that Linux will never satisfy your needs, so go ahead and use something that does.

Unlike it's competitors, Linux isn't trying to prohibit you from using the competition.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 7:14 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> It's interesting how we've moved from "Linux is junk" to "Linux isn't significantly better than Windows"
Can't it be both?

Right now it is not significantly better than Windows so it is on the level of junk for most software vendors. There's simply no market sense in creating Linux software.

> But to deny that many other people are successfully using it as a desktop (including 15K or so people in Munich) is just being obnoxious.
Munich migration is a story in itself. They did save some money, but at the same time it required a multiyear project with lots of high-level system administrators.

Again, I'm saying that I'm extremely pessimistic about Linux on desktop. The time for that is long past. But there are new markets that are within Linux's grasp, and it would be wise to think what was done incorrectly in the "battle for the desktop" and try to avoid doing these mistakes in future.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 7:42 UTC (Sat) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> Munich migration is a story in itself. They did save some money, but at the same time it required a multiyear project with lots of high-level system administrators.

The migration from one version of Windows to another for an organization that size is a multi-year effort requiring lots of high-level system administrators.

continuing to run that many systems, of whatever type requires lots of high-level system administrators.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 7:44 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> The migration from one version of Windows to another for an organization that size is a multi-year effort requiring lots of high-level system administrators.
Sure. That's why it makes sense for large organizations to move to Linux.

That's not true for small and medium companies, though.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 15:43 UTC (Sat) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Sure. That's why it makes sense for large organizations to move to Linux. That's not true for small and medium companies, though.

Migration is expensive and you are right... small and medium companies will find it expensive and painful. Proprietary vendors have them by the short hairs.

We were smart, however. We didn't migrate to Linux. We started out with Linux from the get-go. That's one reason we can keep our costs low and in many cases undercut our competitors.

In my business, running an all-Linux shop has proven to be a significant competitive advantage. I like the fact that small and medium competitors are struggling under the burden of proprietary crap like Windows.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 7:24 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> It's interesting how we've moved from "Linux is junk" to "Linux isn't significantly better than Windows"

Just as an illustrative example - remember VHS versus Betamax. Betamax had somewhat better picture quality. But VHS had a killer feature (longer play time) that was useful for 99% of users who couldn't care less about 10% better picture quality. So VHS won easily.

Betamax lingered in a small niche of high-quality professional cameras where it continued to evolve (somewhat successfully).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 7:50 UTC (Sat) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

actually, as I remember it, a large part of the win/loose was how available the two formats were.

Betamax was held close by one manufacturer while VHS was implemented by many different manufacturers. VHS was also cheaper. The network effect then added to it.

Betamax also had to either take over or die, Linux is not in that situation, If it doesn't take over, it can keep going and continue to grow slowly.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 7:53 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Formats were pretty much the same in price at first. Then VHS started to benefit from network effects and the economy of scale.

> Betamax also had to either take over or die, Linux is not in that situation, If it doesn't take over, it can keep going and continue to grow slowly.
No it can't. Network effects make sure that it's very very hard to regain a lost market.

Basically, your only hope is to capture a new market and then grow from it into other markets. Or live within a small niche.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 18:45 UTC (Sat) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Linux is doing just fine pretty much everywhere except on the end-user desktop. Unlike Betamax in its time, it isn't going away anytime soon.

Even on the end-user desktop, a market share of 2% or so still adds up to a whole lot of seats.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 17:50 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Linux on the traditional desktop is about where Windows is on phones.

Microsoft will keep Windows on phones by throwing boatloads of money at it because it can't afford to lose face, but it will remain a niche player.

Linux will survive on the desktop because a sufficient number of people can see its clear advantages. No boatloads of money will be required.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 19:16 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Linux is doing just fine pretty much everywhere except on the end-user desktop.

Let me paraphrase this sentence: Linux is doing just fine pretty much everywhere except where it uses X.Org.

Unlike Betamax in its time, it isn't going away anytime soon.

Of course not! Linux will survive and thrive! X.Org will die, though. And we are discussing X.Org and it's successor Wayland here, not Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 22:32 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Let me paraphrase this sentence: Linux is doing just fine pretty much everywhere except where it uses X.Org.

Although X is somewhat old and crufty, I don't believe it's the reason Linux has very little desktop penetration. I don't think Wayland will cause a huge spike in desktop penetration. On the other side, my N900 phone runs X and it's a great little mobile device... just as good as any Android phone.

"Use of X" and "success of Linux" are orthogonal.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 8:22 UTC (Mon) by mgedmin (subscriber, #34497) [Link]

> On the other side, my N900 phone runs X and it's a great little mobile device... just as good as any Android phone.

You have low standards.

Now the successor, the N9, is almost as good as any Android phone. The only things it lacks are beefier hardware and a larger software selection. And corporate support.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 10:54 UTC (Mon) by thisisme (subscriber, #83315) [Link]

>You have low standards.

I guess "standards" - whatever is meant by that - and expectations are very subjective. A few months back I replaced my N900 with an Android phone due to hardware failure. I was much happier with Maemo on N900 than I am with Android ICS.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 19:06 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

You have low standards.

How so? What's wrong with the N900? It does everything I need and does it really well, and as a bonus, porting some Linux software I wrote to Maemo took no time at all... essentially just a recompilation. Can't do that with Android.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 19, 2013 18:00 UTC (Tue) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

"Use of X" and "success of Linux" are orthogonal.

Yes - and that is the problem. Since people know that Linux is a runaway success" and they "know" Linux uses X.Org they assume that future of X.Org is secure. What they tend to forget is the fact that places where Linux is a runaway success and places where Linux uses X.Org are disjoint. Which does not bode well for the future of X.Org.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 0:22 UTC (Mon) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

The success (or not) of Linux on the desktop is nothing whatsoever to do with X.org. If anything, the main problem that is holding Linux back on the desktop is that pretty much every major Linux distribution does its own thing as far as desktop environments go. All of this goes on on top of X.org, which all the competing desktop environments use as their base technology.

If there was one obviously canonical desktop environment/graphical tool kit instead of half a dozen it would be a lot easier to standardise things farther down the stack, and hence to develop or port applications that can be distributed in a neutral format to run on all important Linux distributions.

Which does not by any stretch of the imagination mean that Linux isn't any good as a desktop system today. As dskoll's examples show, among many others, it can be a very capable, powerful and cost-effective system. You just have to get rid of some preconceived notions.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 19, 2013 18:11 UTC (Tue) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

I'm not saying that X.Org is a failure. Far from it. But - and you've noted that above, too - it's the other way around. I mean: Linux has huge momentum today. Ton's of companies do tons of work. But they are not doing all that for desktop Linux - and X.Org is only used on desktop! This means that X.Org can easily repeat fate of Betamax even if the Linux world will continue to thrive. The signs are there: X.Org people often complain that there are so very few of them and this situation persists over years, any development which pushes what's possible happens elsewhere, etc. The fact that Linux is growing everywhere else will not save X and/or Wayland.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 21, 2013 3:12 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

And having a paradigma where half of the apps are X and other half are Wayland... doesn't make it better makes it worst, no matter if you could run both on the same system.

Has many "experiences" reported here, even from the Windows world, success on "mass adoption" for the end user, the large majority not tech aware, depends a lot on "familiarity" and "consistence"... all things that have run against Linux many times... ppl can't even agree on something so simple has having a common Icon Set engine, and one Icon Theme is installable everywhere...

And that is the main problem, everyone wants his bit of fame and success not sacrifice... it lacks humility, it lacks truly cooperation at most levels... any perceived growing triggers a wave of arrogance and bickering...

This way outside potential participants tend to stay away... even worst than when every "analyst" predicted that Linux desktop will never happen...

It seemed better then, outside "important" criticism made some how ppl group a little together... but its so absurd the situation, of why you **fork** so much yourselfs instead of the sacrifice to make it better and improve for the sake of compatibility and that "consistence"... why you shoot yourselfs so much in the foot, that it seems if Microsoft wants that Linux desktop never succeeds, the only thing it has to do is pay for a lot of reporting praising Linux!

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 15:39 UTC (Sat) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

With ActiveDomain membership, centralized backup, etc.?

I don't know what "ActiveDomain membership" is, but of course we have centralized backup. Actually, everyone's home directories are NFS-mounted so there's very little to back up on each individual machine. The machines are pretty much generic and interchangable; any staff member can go to any machine and immediately have his or her usual desktop and files available.

And given that Windows+Office is pretty cheap - there's simply no business case for small-to-midsize companies.

That's total bullshit. My 10-person company has saved between $50K and $100K in software licenses over the last 10 years, not to mention not having to worry about most malware. You really have no idea what you're talking about.

Linux might be OK for you on desktop, but it certainly is not significantly better than Windows.

That's your opinion. It's my opinion that it's much better and it's an undisputed fact that it's much cheaper.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 22:18 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>I don't know what "ActiveDomain membership" is,
It gives ability to manage users and services on all enrolled devices.

>but of course we have centralized backup. Actually, everyone's home directories are NFS-mounted so there's very little to back up on each individual machine. The machines are pretty much generic and interchangable; any staff member can go to any machine and immediately have his or her usual desktop and files available.
Yeah, works really great if a staff member decides to take their machine home to finish this very important presentation for tomorrow.

>That's total bullshit. My 10-person company has saved between $50K and $100K in software licenses over the last 10 years, not to mention not having to worry about most malware. You really have no idea what you're talking about.
So that's $5k per year or $500 per user per year. WAY too much. Microsoft subscription for Windows + Office costs about $100-$150 per year per user (depending on required feature sets).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 23:55 UTC (Sat) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Yeah, works really great if a staff member decides to take their machine home to finish this very important presentation for tomorrow.

If you want the gory details on how that works, here's how: All of our important documents are stored in Subversion. I would use git, but there's a limit to how much my non-technical staff will put up with.

If someone wants to take a machine home, it won't be their desktop... it'll be one of the company laptops. From home, the person will connect via OpenVPN and pull the latest files via SVN. He/she will edit the report and commit. In the morning, he/she will pull the SVN repo to the desktop.

It's a very smooth work flow and works extremely well. As a bonus, my staff now no longer have files like presentation.odp, presentation-draft1.odp, presentation-draft1-mike-updates.odp because they're using the right tool for the job. I even have somewhat dated slides about our use of open-source (though concentrating on Asterisk) from a talk I gave.

So that's $5k per year or $500 per user per year. WAY too much

We have 10 users, but more than 40 computers. We have a large number of servers because we offer our product in the cloud. Additionally, I buy really cheap used computers for salespeople's desktops (they work fine and are fast enough.) So when one of the $69 desktop machines dies, I just swap it for a spare. Under Microsoft's licensing terms, I'd need to be properly licensed on all our machines.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 9:26 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

So your company is very atypical, compared to 99% of small companies where nobody even knows what SVN is. Great for you, however totally irrelevant for the market picture.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 13:04 UTC (Sun) by pizza (subscriber, #46) [Link]

He is the perfect example of what happens when you look at IT strategically.

His higher initial investment (planning, implementation) and a little employee training greatly reduces his direct (licensing) and indirect (downtime, being beholden to 3rd party vendors, able to customize precisely, etc ) operational costs and overhead going forward.

Granted, it's a lot easier when you're starting from scratch since there's no inertia to overcome.

But as an example -- My employer uses MS Office. Unfortunately, there are *three* different versions of it in use. Perversely, by my using LibreOffice on Linux, I actually have better interoperability.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 15:18 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

So your company is very atypical

Yes, of course it is. We have a sensible IT environment.

where nobody even knows what SVN is

Aha. So your strategy is to shove proprietary crapware at them rather than educate them? Wow, I'd love to put you in charge of my IT department.

Great for you, however totally irrelevant for the market picture.

I don't care about the "market picture". You started this whole thing by saying that Linux is useless for typical desktop tasks, and I have proven that you're talking utter BS.

Just because the tools you use for a sensible Linux environment are different, it doesn't mean the Windows ones are better (and in my experience, they're a whole lot worse.)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 18:31 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>Yes, of course it is. We have a sensible IT environment.
Yeah. And most companies out there don't HAVE any "IT environment". They simply get stuff and ask a consulter IT person (who might come once every couple of weeks) to hook it up.

That's the environment you have to work in to achieve at least 10% of the market. Instead of current 1% or so.

>Just because the tools you use for a sensible Linux environment are different, it doesn't mean the Windows ones are better (and in my experience, they're a whole lot worse.)
Actually, Windows tools for corporate networks are still superior to Linux. Linux is getting closer with Samba4, SSSD and other developments, though.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 22:29 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

And most companies out there don't HAVE any "IT environment".

And they are the ones who can most benefit from Linux. That's why I set my parents up on Linux: I configured everything for them just as a consultant would for a small business and I didn't give them the root password. It's very, very hard for my parents to mess up their computer permanently.

Actually, Windows tools for corporate networks are still superior to Linux.

You keep saying that. I don't know why you think that argument by repetition is valid. I think I've demonstrated pretty convincingly that Linux excels in the corporate world; you just keep saying things without offering any evidence.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 22:57 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>And they are the ones who can most benefit from Linux. That's why I set my parents up on Linux: I configured everything for them just as a consultant would for a small business and I didn't give them the root password.
We tried it. Doesn't work without a dedicated admin.

The amount of custom tasks that are required in a small business environment is simply too large. Your setup might handle 90% of them, but the rest 10% would case unending problems.

Examples? An owner bought a security camera and its software only works on Windows. Or maybe a printer/scanner/fax combo with configuration utility for Windows only.

All these finicky details cause problems in real life. Sure, it's possible to avoid them by careful analysis and planning. But small shops simply don't have anyone who is interested in doing it.

>You keep saying that. I don't know why you think that argument by repetition is valid.
Corporations want integration with the AD for central package and resource management. For example, I work in a large company now - we have a central user database. So adding a user to a project requires a couple of clicks in the AD manager and this user gets access to all required files (on all of the hosts), devices, shared email inboxes, calendars, etc.

>I think I've demonstrated pretty convincingly that Linux excels in the corporate world; you just keep saying things without offering any evidence.
Nope. You've demonstrated that it works in your case. Corporate world is predominantly Windows.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 23:42 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Corporate world is predominantly Windows

Um? So? How does that make Linux less suitable? Just because something is, doesn't mean it always has to be. 40 years ago the corporate world was predominantly IBM mainframes or else typewriters. Windows is successful now just as dinosaurs were successful for millions of years. But conditions change.

Examples? An owner bought a security camera and its software only works on Windows. Or maybe a printer/scanner/fax combo with configuration utility for Windows only.

So don't buy things like that. Here's a brilliant piece of advice: If you want to get things done, hire competent people to do them. It works for us and it can work for you too. Our security camera, for example, is a cheap webcam and we use motion plus some scripting to save photos remotely and batch up a day's worth of pictures into movies that we archive. Cost us $30 in hardware, $0 in software and about 4 hours of my time for Perl hackery.

For example, I work in a large company now - we have a central user database. So adding a user to a project requires a couple of clicks in the AD manager and this user gets access to all required files (on all of the hosts), devices, shared email inboxes, calendars, etc.

I do it too, albeit with a couple of commands rather than clicks... GUIs are incredibly stupid for managing users, especially if you have to add more than a few at a time. And your comment about "all required files (on all of the hosts)" is charmingly quaint... it's funny to read about people who work with IT infrastructure where the physical location of files matters. :)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 2:40 UTC (Mon) by dpquigl (guest, #52852) [Link]

I understand that Linux is working for you but Cyberax has a very good point about corporate infrastructure management. Linux is way behind in this area. If you're not aware of what is meant by corporate infrastructure management look at what FreeIPA provides (http://www.freeipa.org/page/About). The whole point of FreeIPA is to take a bunch of tools and provide similar functionality to active directory. AD isn't anything special technology wise. It uses a lot of the same technologies everyone else uses (LDAP, Kerberos, etc...). What AD does well is that it integrates it into a nice easy to use package that makes administration of 10s or 100s of thousands of users easy. Its the tight knit integration of services which makes AD useful and while FreeIPA is gaining ground it still has a way to go. The ability to survey boxes and push out patches and policy though AD is also a big feature. We have similar tools that can do this (CFEngine and Puppet) but once again show me a single package that has all of this integrated and makes it trivial to ensure you're compliant on your network for patch levels?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 4:47 UTC (Mon) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> The ability to survey boxes and push out patches and policy though AD is also a big feature. We have similar tools that can do this (CFEngine and Puppet) but once again show me a single package that has all of this integrated and makes it trivial to ensure you're compliant on your network for patch levels?

Companies routinely run Linux and Unix on tens of thousands of servers, and keep all of them up to date with all the right patches. Why would that same infrastructure not work for Linux desktops?

apt and yum both provide you will all the info you need to keep your systems on the software that _you_ want them to be on (which isn't necessarily the latest and greatest that's been released, you can trivially run your own repositories that only contain approved software and everything can trivially update from there)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 6:36 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> Companies routinely run Linux and Unix on tens of thousands of servers, and keep all of them up to date with all the right patches. Why would that same infrastructure not work for Linux desktops?
Because it's much harder to do it for desktops. And I've actually wrote my own cluster computing system for Amazon EC2 that has more than 2000 nodes (Linux, of course) during peak times.

For servers it's easy - you create config files and start required services. Easy peasy lemon squeeze.

It's much more difficult for desktop software. Puppet has lots of useful templates for servers, but almost nothing for desktop. For example, some HP printers require hplip setup that can only be done interactively. Fail.

> apt and yum both provide you will all the info you need to keep your systems on the software that _you_ want them to be on (which isn't necessarily the latest and greatest that's been released, you can trivially run your own repositories that only contain approved software and everything can trivially update from there)
So now we're talking about running your own repositories and checking all changes. That'll require at least one $100k-a-year high-level sysadmin.

On Windows it can be done by an MCSE (Minesweeper Consultant, Solitaire Expert). They'll probably won't understand how this devilish ActiveDirectory works, but it'll work good enough.

That's the problem with Linux - you HAVE to have a solution that can be deployed by average technician. And right now the only way to do it with Linux is to restrict functionality to a known-good set (Chromebooks, various set-top box devices).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 6:51 UTC (Mon) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

if you want the level of support that you get from your cheap MSCE, just install ubuntu and configure it to automatically install all updates.

your MSCE isn't going to do any more than what the auto-update will do. And just like the MSCE, most of the time everything will 'just work' and when it doesn't, the answer can be the same 'just reinstall the OS'.

And just like your MSCE isn't going to be able to handle a large company this way, the auto-update from the Internet repository isn't going to scale to a large company.

but to claim that this means that it can't be done is redefining "can't be done"

If you have a company with tens of thousands of systems, you had better have a team of highly paid admins checking everything before it gets pushed out to them.

Enterprises running Windows don't rely on windows auto-update, they verify all the patches, roll them out in waves and cross their fingers to find out what business critical software Microsoft broke this time.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 14:47 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> if you want the level of support that you get from your cheap MSCE, just install ubuntu and configure it to automatically install all updates.
Tried that (I really did!). Didn't work.

The problem are not updates, but all kinds of small maintenance.

>And just like your MSCE isn't going to be able to handle a large company this way, the auto-update from the Internet repository isn't going to scale to a large company.
>but to claim that this means that it can't be done is redefining "can't be done"
Nope. Can you read my arguments, please? I'm saying that for large companies it's certainly possible to migrate to Linux because they have a good IT stuff (or they can just stay on Windows, because they have good IT stuff that can make it work).

For small companies it's different. They usually don't have anybody with sufficient knowledge of system administration - and simply contracting third-parties doesn't really work as well.

While with Windows you can get one of the MCSEs to setup something that almost works. It won't be perfect, but it'll be good enough.

That's what Linux has to do - offer an easy-to-use _complete_ system. So that a trained monkey (MCSE) can setup everything, including commercial third-party software. It also must work all the time for the most common scenarios. Right now it's not really possible with the "regular" distributions, but it's becoming possible with the _new_ Linux distributions (Chromebooks and Android).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 16:12 UTC (Mon) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

The problem are not updates, but all kinds of small maintenance.

I have a friend who owns a small residential seminar centre about 150 km from where I live. Her PC, which I set up for her more than five years ago, is used for the usual office-type tasks and is running Linux. I see her once or twice a year, and among other things we usually spend an hour or so over coffee going over user questions and doing the type of »small maintenance« she can't do by herself. (She can, and does, install distribution security updates on her own.) Very occasionally I get a phone call if something goes wrong, but whatever it is is usually nothing to do with her computer – it is more likely to be an ISP outage of some sort or other.

There is no way whatsoever that this sort of arrangement would work with a Windows machine.

While with Windows you can get one of the MCSEs to setup something that almost works. It won't be perfect, but it'll be good enough.

Please explain why it is impossible to get a modern Linux install to a point where »it won't be perfect, but it'll be good enough«. It is funny how many people are willing to cut Windows huge amounts of slack but will tolerate nothing short of absolute perfection when it comes to Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 16:45 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>I have a friend who owns a small residential seminar centre about 150 km from where I live. Her PC, which I set up for her more than five years ago, is used for the usual office-type tasks and is running Linux.
How about QuickBooks or TurboTax or something like it? Or maybe a couple of games?

> Please explain why it is impossible to get a modern Linux install to a point where »it won't be perfect, but it'll be good enough«.
Because it is. A lot of software is simply not available on Linux, a lot of hardware STILL doesn't work completely.

In my experience EACH company has at least a couple pieces of infrastructure that are not supported under Linux. From softphones with T.38 fax sending to high-end printers with Windows-only configuration utilities. Or maybe that nice order-tracking system with WinCE-based wireless scanners. Or maybe that small Access database that tracks lab samples. Etc.

Seriously, start a company and try to offer migration services. You'll quickly see that the RealWorld(tm) is quite a bit different from "just use OpenOffice instead of MS Office".

What can be done? First, you need to start from a "known good" situation. Chromebooks offer a nice opportunity here - they work just fine, have a nice management infrastructure and are explicitly designed NOT to replicate all desktop tasks. So using Chromebooks to augment existing Windows-based infrastructure should be quite easy (we haven't tried it yet, to be honest). Then this platform might become attractive to third-party developers, so it can be slowly expanded into more general 'desktop' usage.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 17:38 UTC (Mon) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

How about QuickBooks or TurboTax or something like it?

My friend's (external) accountant takes care of that.

Or maybe a couple of games?

We're talking »office PC«, remember? Here in Germany, you get to deduct the cost of your office PC from the taxes you pay for your company, but if you do so the tax office doesn't like you to play games on such a computer. Hence, no games. (My friend is not a computer-game person, anyway.)

A lot of software is simply not available on Linux, a lot of hardware STILL doesn't work completely.

A lot of that software is software you may not really need (as dskoll has aptly demonstrated) if you're willing to think outside the box.

And for most categories of hardware there are specimens that are well-supported by Linux. Hence the problem reduces to one of getting the right hardware to begin with. Of course if you buy the el-cheapo-stuff-of-the-week and then expect it to work perfectly with Linux you may be in for a surprise every so often. And on the other hand, it isn't as if every piece of hardware worked perfectly with Windows all of the time, either.

Seriously, start a company and try to offer migration services.

It's funny, but the guys in the office next to ours (our sister company) are doing exactly that, among other things. AFAIK they're doing fine and I don't hear them complaining more than one would expect. I guess it helps if you're competent …

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 19:04 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Cyberax has a very good point about corporate infrastructure management

Maybe so, but does that apply to small companies? Remember, Cyberax is arguing that small companies are the worst candidates to run Linux desktops.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 19:43 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Yeah, it's just that Windows also works pretty well for large corporations.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 20:58 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Make up your mind. You yourself wrote: Sure. That's why it makes sense for large organizations to move to Linux.

Your position seems to shift like sand every time you want to avoid the issue.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 3:29 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>So don't buy things like that. Here's a brilliant piece of advice: If you want to get things done, hire competent people to do them.
Done that. They've recommended Windows Server.

>It works for us and it can work for you too. Our security camera, for example, is a cheap webcam and we use motion plus some scripting to save photos remotely and batch up a day's worth of pictures into movies that we archive. Cost us $30 in hardware, $0 in software and about 4 hours of my time for Perl hackery.
Yup. Does it support writing 24 parallel h264-compressed streams with automatic highlighting of movement, archiving support and indexing?

Thought so.

Another customer had a similar problem with keycard access system which supports only Windows for its configuration utility.

Do you think all these vendors operating on razor-thin margins are going to spend time writing custom software for 1% of users? Ha!

That's what I mean by "power of networking". And that's why it's so complex to regain the lost marketshare.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 4:53 UTC (Mon) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

>> So don't buy things like that. Here's a brilliant piece of advice: If you want to get things done, hire competent people to do them.
> Done that. They've recommended Windows Server.

I could be snarky and say something along the lines of "he said hire someone competent" :-)

but instead I'll say that with your anti-linux and pro-windows attitude, any competent consultant you hire is going to figure out what you prefer and find some way of making it work that fits your bias

In any case, it's clear that you refuse to be convinced.

You say it's not possible to run Linux as a desktop.

We show you large organizations that do so and you dismiss them because they are large (saying that small organizations can't do it)

We show you small organizations that do so and you dismiss them because they are small (because of the requirements of large organizations)

We have many people who speak up and say they are using Linux this way, and have non-technical relatives that are using Linux this way.

you label all these examples as fringe cases that don't matter.

It's not that Linux can't work on the desktop, it's that the network effect and pre-training of people makes it easy to run Windows as a desktop. This is a "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" thing, not a "windows is the obviously better choice" thing.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 6:52 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> I could be snarky and say something along the lines of "he said hire someone competent" :-)
> but instead I'll say that with your anti-linux and pro-windows attitude, any competent consultant you hire is going to figure out what you prefer and find some way of making it work that fits your bias
Actually, that was about 4 years ago when I was flamingly pro-Linux and tried to push it everywhere. I've actively searched for security companies that offered Linux-based solutions - and couldn't find any. At most a couple of companies offered a solution (hosted on Windows Server) with a buggy Java applet to viewing the security footage.

As I've said, I was so pro-Linux that I've founded a company to help with migration services. This company actually still exists (I'm no longer involved in its day-to-day operations), but business is not that good - it can't charge much more than the price of Windows-based software licenses, and just a couple of extra support cases per customer can ruin all the profit margins.

>You say it's not possible to run Linux as a desktop.
Nope, I've said that it's not really feasible to just run Linux desktops as a straightforward replacement for Windows. It always requires planning and competent personnel.

>We show you large organizations that do so and you dismiss them because they are large (saying that small organizations can't do it)
Yep, see above.

>We show you small organizations that do so and you dismiss them because they are small (because of the requirements of large organizations)
Nope. THAT you have not yet shown. You've shown that ONE small company can use Linux. My company also uses Linux (and now also Mac OS X) on desktops - I know it can be done.

But:
>you label all these examples as fringe cases that don't matter.
Exactly.

The only thing that matters is the marketshare. And it's been stagnant for many years now. That speaks louder than any words.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 19:01 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Nope, I've said that it's not really feasible to just run Linux desktops as a straightforward replacement for Windows. It always requires planning and competent personnel.

Look. I have proven that not only is it feasible to run Linux desktops instead of Windows, it's also cheaper and more efficient. Granted, we started with Linux so we didn't have migration costs.

And if you plan on running a business without planning and competent personnel then you should not be in business.

The only thing that matters is the marketshare. And it's been stagnant for many years now. That speaks louder than any words.

That speaks to fear. It speaks to monopoly market share. And most of all, it speaks to legions of Cyberaxian "consultants" who spread FUD and live on the fat profits they get from foisting commercial crappy software on their clients. The entire Windows IT ecosystem is a giant scam that fattens consultants and Microsoft at the expense of end-users and small businesses.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 20:06 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>Look. I have proven that not only is it feasible to run Linux desktops instead of Windows, it's also cheaper and more efficient. Granted, we started with Linux so we didn't have migration costs.
No you haven't. You've shown that you can run Linux with highly competent admins in an organization that can outsource non-Linux tasks.

>And if you plan on running a business without planning and competent personnel then you should not be in business.
It might be a news for you, but most businesses are not IT-related. They treat software as a business expense - like office chairs or printer paper.

You can offer them better software? Fine! However, your offer doesn't replace the existing functionality - it won't be even considered.

>That speaks to fear. It speaks to monopoly market share. And most of all, it speaks to legions of Cyberaxian "consultants" who spread FUD and live on the fat profits they get from foisting commercial crappy software on their clients. The entire Windows IT ecosystem is a giant scam that fattens consultants and Microsoft at the expense of end-users and small businesses.
And powers these businesses along the way. And if you check prices - they are usually quite reasonable.

I think that all Linux fanbois should be forced to spend a year working with a well-supported Windows network and a year working with an average MCSE. It'd greatly improve the general quality of Linux software offerings.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 20:56 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

No you haven't. You've shown that you can run Linux with highly competent admins in an organization that can outsource non-Linux tasks.

Any organization can outsource Linux administration to competent admins. Quite a lot of small businesses already outsource their Windows administration (at fairly high expense, I might add.)

And yes... my company does outsource things like payroll and tax filing because other people do it far more effectively and cheaply than I can do it. It makes sense to outsource that to people who are good at it rather than try to do it myself, especially on Windows. It's a pure business decision.

It might be a news for you, but most businesses are not IT-related. They treat software as a business expense - like office chairs or printer paper.

In my consulting days, I set up a lot of Linux machines for businesses exactly as you describe. They were of course servers and firewalls, not desktops, because the businesses already had a significant investment in Windows. However, a small business starting from scratch with no computers at all could get by just as easily on Linux as on Windows, and far more cheaply.

I think that all Linux fanbois should be forced to spend a year working with a well-supported Windows network and a year working with an average MCSE. It'd greatly improve the general quality of Linux software offerings.

I think you need to be less closed-minded. You need to think outside the box and see how Linux tools enable you to get things done. You need to think of tasks that need doing instead of specific pieces of software. Use some creativity, if you have any.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 18:57 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Done that. They've recommended Windows Server.

I said competent.

Yup. Does it support writing 24 parallel h264-compressed streams with automatic highlighting of movement, archiving support and indexing?

No, because that is not a requirement of ours. I'm fully confident I could do all that with free software should I have the motivation and requirement to do so.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 19:58 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>No, because that is not a requirement of ours. I'm fully confident I could do all that with free software should I have the motivation and requirement to do so.
I can offer you $2000 (it's about the breakeven price for this task) for a solution that can utilize hardware not more expensive than in Windows, with similar features. It also should be done within a couple of weeks.

I have really checked it and there's nothing available for Linux - the only project is Zoneminder and it has extremely poor hardware support.

That's one typical task in Linux migration in the real world out there. And I have encountered tons of problems like that.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 20:50 UTC (Mon) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

I can offer you $2000 (it's about the breakeven price for this task) for a solution that can utilize hardware not more expensive than in Windows, with similar features. It also should be done within a couple of weeks.

No thanks, because I don't need the product and I don't need the $2000.

Besides, my solution does things yours doesn't. For example, does your solution pop up a small window on our receptionist's desktop whenever motion is detected so she can see who has entered our office? Same thing for the display monitor in our kitchen in case we're all at lunch.

Does it email me when someone's in the office outside normal office hours? Does it securely archive after-hours video on a remote server so even if our office is trashed our video is still accessible?

Those are all more important and more useful to me than your features.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 21:00 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>Besides, my solution does things yours doesn't. For example, does your solution pop up a small window on our receptionist's desktop whenever motion is detected so she can see who has entered our office? Same thing for the display monitor in our kitchen in case we're all at lunch.
Yep. With tunable triggers and alarms for any channel, including keycard system and various detectors.

>Does it email me when someone's in the office outside normal office hours? Does it securely archive after-hours video on a remote server so even if our office is trashed our video is still accessible?
It actually stores all the video on a locally secure (in a vault) RAID array for a month. Certain triggers can also start live streaming to a remote storage (it's not feasible to do it all the time).

>Those are all more important and more useful to me than your features.
Sure, these are typical features of mid-level security systems. Unfortunately, there are no such systems offered for Linux. Even though there are security DVR systems running embedded Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 0:01 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

So that's $5k per year or $500 per user per year. WAY too much. Microsoft subscription for Windows + Office costs about $100-$150 per year per user (depending on required feature sets).

Even if that's true, that's the tip of the iceberg. Please add in costs for:

  • CRM software. (We use SugarCRM.)
  • Development tools. (We're a software development company.)
  • Anti-virus. (We don't use AV.)
  • Email software (Exchange and Outlook.)
  • Phone system (We use Asterisk.)
  • Issue-tracking system (We use RT.)
  • Accounting software (We use Ledger-SMB.)

While some free software similar to the above is available for Windows, some is not and we'd end up having to pay for proprietary software.

Our existing software licensing budget is $0. Nothing. And our work flow is smooth and efficient. I simply can't see how Windows (or any other proprietary software) can compete.

You can argue all you want, but I invite you to come visit us and see how efficient and productive people are on Linux desktops. You have objections; I have 10+ years of real-world business experience on Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 0:47 UTC (Sun) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Our existing software licensing budget is $0. Nothing. And our work flow is smooth and efficient. I simply can't see how Windows (or any other proprietary software) can compete.

Also you don't have the hassle of having to deal with surprise auditing visits from the BSA because somebody – usually an ex-employee with a grudge – claimed you didn't have proper licenses for all your software.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Mar 3, 2013 17:04 UTC (Sun) by JanC_ (guest, #34940) [Link]

Actually, the BSA will hapily investigate your purely open source company (as happened to an acquaintance of me after he requested a refund for the removed Windows on their new laptops...).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Mar 3, 2013 21:39 UTC (Sun) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Actually, the BSA will hapily investigate your purely open source company

Not when I'm not under any contractual obligation to actually let them into the building they won't. They're free to come back with the police – if they can convince a judge to grant them a search warrant – and are prepared to be sued afterwards.

Incidentally, did your friend actually get that refund?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 9:32 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Total strawman.

But let's see. A lot of CRM/ERP software is free or very cheap for Windows, especially for small companies.

>CRM software. (We use SugarCRM.)
Quickbooks works fine for this for small companies AND it also allows to track taxes/checks/invoices.

>Development tools. (We're a software development company.)
MSVS Express is free and even professional versions are cheap. Never mind Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA and other IDEs.

>Anti-virus. (We don't use AV.)
Windows has one built-in.

>Email software (Exchange and Outlook.)
People simply use one of the cloud offerings now. Running own mailserver is totally a non-starter for 99.99% of small companies.

>Phone system (We use Asterisk.)
Ditto.

>Issue-tracking system (We use RT.)
Atlassian has a $10 for 10 users starter package (for Wiki, JIRA and other stuff). We actully used it just fine until we got acquired by a multi-billion company.

>Accounting software (We use Ledger-SMB.)
LOL.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 15:16 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

A lot of CRM/ERP software is free or very cheap for Windows, especially for small companies.

First of all, you still fail to understand that "very cheap" is not the same as "free".

Secondly, you fail to understand that "Free" is not "proprietary". You simply don't get it, so there's not much point in continuing.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 15:26 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Quickbooks works fine for this for small companies AND it also allows to track taxes/checks/invoices.

Did you read my slides? How easy is it to integrate Quickbooks with our CRM system and phone system so that when a customer calls, a web page pops up with all their open tickets, their CRM information and all outstanding invoices?

Oh. It's impossible. Because Quickbooks is proprietary and you're out of luck.

MSVS Express is free and even professional versions are cheap

Again, let me remind you that cheap != free.

Windows has one [AV] built-in.

To quote your comment about Ledger-SMB: LoL

People simply use one of the cloud offerings now. Running own mailserver is totally a non-starter for 99.99% of small companies.

It's not for us; spam-filtering is our business so putting our email in the cloud would be ridiculous. Furthermore, in case you have forgotten, cheap != free and there are no business-level free cloud email services.

Atlassian has a $10 for 10 users starter package

So you are saying that $10 is less than $0? Where did you learn arithmetic? And does Atlassian permit us to integrate with our phone and CRM system in the way I described in my slides?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 18:28 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>Did you read my slides? How easy is it to integrate Quickbooks with our CRM system and phone system so that when a customer calls, a web page pops up with all their open tickets, their CRM information and all outstanding invoices?
Actually, it's quite easy because QB has fairly complete API that allows to access customer data. But don't let that to distract you.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 22:26 UTC (Sun) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

OK, I didn't know that about QB. Something to remember if I ever lose my mind and buy a Windows machine. ;)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 20, 2013 10:12 UTC (Wed) by jmorris42 (guest, #2203) [Link]

Sorry, if you can recommend QuickBooks with a straight face you must turn in your geek card right now because you sir, are a menace to your customers.

Quickbooks (and Peachtree/Sage) have a timebomb built in which forces a very pricy upgrade when a transaction/line item limit is hit. This limit is of course NOT disclosed prepurchase. So you are either running some very small operation that has not managed to hit the trigger or you just don't care you are encouraging people to fall into a trap.

And the limit is fairly low, we are starting to worry about it (and Sage is sending monthly notices/sales pitches) to us and we only started using it in 2010. And we are a small public library.

This very news source recounts our esteemed editors recent travails with Quickbooks and lwn.net running into the paywall.

That sort of thing happens too often in the Windows world because the customers there are accustomed to being hosed on a regular basis.

And as for the ease of deployment of Windows vs Linux... I was recently tasked with building a small training lab for Win+Office (we are a public library, we got some grant money to offer the classes) so I have purchased the Windows 7 Resource Kit and am reading it. Why am I hearing the theme song from Gilligan's Island when reading it, seeing myself cast as the Professor building everything from coconuts. Deploying on Linux is something I have down to a science, Windows PE and the Windows deployment tools are like returning to Slackware or something.

My current plan in fact is to mostly ditch the Microsoft tools and use a dual boot Linux install to handle reimaging the Windows side. Rsync is fast, simple and understandable without a total retrain. If rsync can't be made to work it will be back to the stone knives and coconuts.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 20, 2013 15:24 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Technically, I was recommending 1C Enterprise (my company is in Ukraine, after all). It actually has a native Linux client now, but not at the time I was active in my company.

Also, I would also recommend QB because _it_ _works_. Yeah, it's not free and very scammy, but customers don't care as long as the price is reasonable - it's just another business expense.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 20, 2013 17:45 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

And as for the ease of deployment of Windows vs Linux... I was recently tasked with building a small training lab for Win+Office (we are a public library, we got some grant money to offer the classes) so I have purchased the Windows 7 Resource Kit and am reading it. Why am I hearing the theme song from Gilligan's Island when reading it, seeing myself cast as the Professor building everything from coconuts. Deploying on Linux is something I have down to a science, Windows PE and the Windows deployment tools are like returning to Slackware or something.

And that is Windows-to-Linux migration problem in a nutshell. Except it's the other way around. Once upon time migration to Linux was quite easy because people used UNIX in the universities and Linux administration is similar to that. Back then Linux had a chance but it blew it. Microsoft have invested literally billions and have reached a state where most organizations only know how to operate things built "from coconuts". Linux deployment starts from the prerequisite that you need to learn the whole new world and instead of helpful wizards you need to write configuration files by hand. You may preach the advantages of "Linux way" till you are blue in face, but they fact remains: most businesses will not survive long enough to ever see these benefits yet they still need to pay for the problems these future benefits create here and now. If business uses Quickbooks in the first year (because it really is cheaper) then it'll probably pay for the upgrade when the timebomb hits. Business which tries to use Linux to avoid timebomb will just fail in the first year thus it does not matter what'll happen after that.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 16:18 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Linux deployment starts from the prerequisite that you need to learn the whole new world and instead of helpful wizards you need to write configuration files by hand.
Have you used a Linux system in the last decade? Because this bears no resemblance to anything I recognize in that time period. You can write configuration files if you want to: you don't have to.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 16:57 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

If you are deploying anything reasonably complicated - you HAVE to. Now, I quite like my config files but there's no denying that they are more complex then GUI utilities for a lot of people.

Another story (I have tons of them) from my Linux deployment experience. Situation: company's managers want to control access to Facebook and similar sites, allowing unrestricted access to certain groups of users. Their current solution is Kerio Firewall (actually an HTTP proxy) on Windows Server, it allows to edit access lists using a simple GUI tool (translated into Russian, btw).

I've tried replacing it by transparent Squid but there are NO solutions that provide necessary functionality. There is a couple of commercial ISP-oriented packages that require dances with shaman's drum around them to make them work, and still they are not enough.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 19:06 UTC (Mon) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

if you are deploying anything large and complicated you WANT to be able to write config files (either manually or through automation tools)

it's impossible to automate deployments that require GUI clicks.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 19:10 UTC (Mon) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

Defense of .inf files in 4... 3... 2...

:-D

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 21:11 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Sure. We all know this.

Now explain this to a non-English speaking "admin", who only knows how to click on buttons. And such "admins" can actually support networks of 30-50 Windows machines without much effort. A good Linux

Again, I think it should be mandatory for anyone working on Linux to see how Windows works in the RealWorld(tm)(r).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 21:37 UTC (Mon) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

a good linux admin can support many small companies remotely, without having to visit the office at all other than to make people feel good

Yes, many companies dig themselves a hole that makes it hard to change, but companies do this with webservers as well, and yet somehow they manage to make the 'horrible' switch from IE to Apache when they get large enough (not all companies switch, but those that don't serve as good object lessons to others as why they should switch)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 22:48 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>a good linux admin can support many small companies remotely
No they can not. They quickly get bogged down in minutiae (like broken fax machines or non-working VoIP), get disgusted and then quit their job.

Having separate 'low level' admins is not really an option with Linux because these admins won't be able to do anything complicated. And doing back-and-forth between two departments leads only to frustration and pain. It's much easier for businesses to pay a couple of thousands dollars and get a Windows Server.

Guys, I'm speaking from a (bitter) personal experience of actual migrations. You're offering me basically anecdotes in the form of: "But my organization works fine! See, our employees are kernel developers and compile their own desktops from individual molecules using 3D-printers! So this workflow can definitely work for all Mom&Pop companies with 2 employees!"

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 23:03 UTC (Mon) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

I am not doing this from the point of view of 'my company has kernel hackers...' first off, you don't have any idea what my company is, let alone what they do or don't do.

But I am saying that I have seen companies do this. I and my friends have had contracts to support small companies running Linux, and we can do wonders remotely without a lot of effort.

You have also shouted down a person who runs their entire company on Linux.

You are "I'm speaking from a (bitter) personal experience of actual
migrations". guess what, we are also speaking from personal experience of actual companies.

Yes, migration is harder than starting with Linux, by that logic we need to give up doing anything. By definition, we aren't going to be the first, default experience in any new space we start moving into.

But--- We weren't first in the mobile space, in the server space, or in the embedded space. In all of those spaces we faced similar problems with entrenched market leaders, but in all of those spaces Linux is becoming dominant.

By your exact same logic, Apple faces a hopeless task and should just go out of business, but they are actually gaining market share in the desktop/business environment. This actually helps Linux in these same environments because it does break the mindset that the windows way is the only way to do things.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 0:03 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

>But I am saying that I have seen companies do this. I and my friends have had contracts to support small companies running Linux, and we can do wonders remotely without a lot of effort.
So can Windows admins. Remoting works just fine for Windows (using RDP, TeamViewer, Gotomypc, RAdmin and a plethora of other technologies).

> You have also shouted down a person who runs their entire company on Linux.
I also run my entire company on Linux (and now also on Mac OS X). Not a big deal if you know what you're doing.

You don't seem to get it, but Windows doesn't actually require anybody who knows what they're doing. You can get acceptable results by using barely trained monkeys (aka MCSEs). Microsoft spend literally tens of billions of dollars to make it work good enough.

> But--- We weren't first in the mobile space, in the server space, or in the embedded space. In all of those spaces we faced similar problems with entrenched market leaders, but in all of those spaces Linux is becoming dominant.
Embedded devices usually do a single well-defined function and are designed by specialists who know what they're doing. Server side is actually similar - Linux wins in specialized markets (like webhosting) and in markets where qualified professionals are available (like Google infrastructure). But Windows servers rule the small-to-medium business market.

> By your exact same logic, Apple faces a hopeless task and should just go out of business, but they are actually gaining market share in the desktop/business environment. This actually helps Linux in these same environments because it does break the mindset that the windows way is the only way to do things.
Apple has its own small niche on desktop. They are content to remain in it. Their main growth engine is iDevices where they quite famously win because they try to keep things simple for end-users, even they don't have as much features and flexibility as competitors.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 10:39 UTC (Tue) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

But--- We weren't first in the server space,

Yes, we were. Linux replaced UNIX in server space, not Windows. It's [relatively] easy to switch from UNIX to Linux and [relatively] hard to switch from UNIX to Windows. Microsoft has much, much, MUCH better success with server then Linux has with desktop.

in the embedded space

Yes, we were first there, too. Before Linux embedded space was filled with homebrew solutions thus when they outgrew that stage Linux was an easy choice. The fact that most embedded space developers know how to alter config files and most embedded space users only deal with creations which don't expose configs cinched the deal.

in the mobile space,

Linux only managed to carve out some niche in mobile space when bunch of companies threw all that "our way or the highway" attitude and offered integration with Windows, MacOS, etc.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 23:49 UTC (Mon) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

I'm speaking from a (bitter) personal experience of actual migrations. You're offering me basically anecdotes in the form of: "But my organization works fine!

You're only offering anecdotes claiming the contrary. That other people seem to succeed where you apparently don't could just as well be an indication that those people may be more competent at what they do, including dealing with problems.

I'm not doing this as my main day job (various colleagues of mine do), but in my experience supporting non-technical Linux users, actual reality is nowhere near as bleak as you make it seem.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 0:17 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Nope. I'm saying again and again that the classic Linux desktop right now is unusable because it doesn't offer the complete solution that can be used by anybody. You always need someone who understands how it works in details.

Microsoft offers complete solutions - not perfect, by any measure but still /complete/. Linux needs something that at least is just as good, and right now it doesn't seem possible on classic desktops.

> I'm not doing this as my main day job (various colleagues of mine do), but in my experience supporting non-technical Linux users, actual reality is nowhere near as bleak as you make it seem.
Again, if you have non-technical Linux users then it means that somebody has already done all the groundwork for the migration.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 1:39 UTC (Tue) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Linux needs something that at least is just as good, and right now it doesn't seem possible on classic desktops.

You keep saying »it doesn't seem possible« when you should really be saying »I didn't manage to make it work«. Other people do manage that.

If you have non-technical Linux users then it means that somebody has already done all the groundwork for the migration.

Who said anything about a migration? I support various people who started out on Linux. One person »migrated« from Mac OS 9 to Linux (where going to Windows would also have required expert assistance). With the one person I support who actually used Windows (XP) to begin with, the »migration« essentially amounted to copying a bunch of Office documents across to the new (Linux) computer and a couple of hours of »training«, i.e., about the same as one would have had to spend going from Windows XP to a new machine running Windows 7. All of these people are regular non-technical users (certainly not geeks in any way, shape, or form) who expect their computers to »just work« but even so they need very little hand-holding and they are perfectly happy with their Linux desktops.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 5:28 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> You keep saying »it doesn't seem possible« when you should really be saying »I didn't manage to make it work«. Other people do manage that.
Yep. Maybe a team of genetically engineered kernel hackers (with transplanted genes from GNOME and KDE developers) might be able to find all the required software, easily writing missing pieces in kernel-level Haskell.

But that's exactly my point - an average admin/user CAN NOT do things that are possible with COTS software on Windows (or even with the built-in Windows functionality).

Have you ever wondered why Linux's traffic stats on popular website hover near 1% of the total? That's why.

> Who said anything about a migration? I support various people who started out on Linux.
That's vanishingly small number - less than 0.1% of total world desktop users.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 7:40 UTC (Tue) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

an average admin/user CAN NOT do things that are possible with COTS software on Windows (or even with the built-in Windows functionality).

So? An average Linux admin/user can do loads of things with the content of a typical Linux distribution that are not possible (or, at least, not possible for people who are not Windows experts way above MCSE level and/or without very considerable expense) with Windows. That doesn't prove anything either way.

That's vanishingly small number - less than 0.1% of total world desktop users.

So what? It's still a large number of bodies. (On the other hand, there are way more people in the world who have never used Windows than there are people who have.)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 15:35 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> So? An average Linux admin/user can do loads of things with the content of a typical Linux distribution that are not possible (or, at least, not possible for people who are not Windows experts way above MCSE level and/or without very considerable expense) with Windows.
Irrelevant. By definition, these things are not used in organizations with Microsoft Windows-based workflows, so they won't affect the migration.

> So what? It's still a large number of bodies.
Linux already has problems with third-party software. And it will only get worse with this attitude. After all, why would Adobe port their stuff if only 1% of the market would be able to use it? It's much better to simply cater to the remaining 99%, especially if Linux support is so much more complicated.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 16:01 UTC (Tue) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

By definition, these things are not used in organizations with Microsoft Windows-based workflows, so they won't affect the migration.

You bet they will, if you use them to do stuff in half an hour that takes the Excel pushers half a day. Compare dskoll's experience thinking »out of the box«.

I had a great summer way back when I was a university student when I was the single Unix person in a Windows shop. They hired me for four weeks to come up with a program that would collect and aggregate router statistics via SNMP. It took me about four days to write the program in Tcl/Tk (including a GUI), and I basically spent the rest of the time testing and documenting it, doing other sundry stuff and reading Usenet news. Suddenly a lot of the people there became quite interested in Unix.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 16:48 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> You bet they will, if you use them to do stuff in half an hour that takes the Excel pushers half a day.
No you won't, and that's the fact.

For the most real businesses out there tasks that can be automated make a fairly small part of the workload. Having a better infrastructure - like storing documents in SVN or SharePoint instead of mailing them back-and-forth, gives SOME improvement but it almost never is decisive.

> Compare dskoll's experience thinking »out of the box«.
I'm explaining for the umpteenth time: it doesn't matter. Windows infrastructure works acceptably so for most users and most businesses DO NOT care about their IT as long as it gets stuff done.

And they're right, you know. Do you care about the color of your stapler? What would you say if tomorrow somebody comes and says:

- Hey, we have this new paper-folding system that can replace your staplers! It can cut down on number of workplace injuries and speed up your document flow.
- Great, how much does it cost?
- It's just $10000, but you'll be able to recoup the cost in a couple of years.
- Well, OK. A bit steep but if you say so...
- Also, you'll need a specially trained paper-folding specialist. We can provide you one for /just/ $20000 a year.
- Hm, let me think about it. Any other issues?
- Well, our paper folders are not compatible with some printed text. You also need to write everything using special pencils. But don't worry, we also provide you with pre-filled forms that cover all possible cases that everyone could conceivably need!
- So, let me recoup this, your stapler-less solution can save me a couple thousands dollars per year _tops_, requires a specially trained officer and can not be used to replace our workflow?
- Correct!
- I believe, the door is that way.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 18:25 UTC (Tue) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

No you won't, and that's the fact.

It must be great to live in a dream world where you can claim what you want and are always right.

In the world I inhabit, many people are deeply interested in making their business more efficient – especially in the current economic climate where cost-cutting is all the rage. For our customers, using Linux more is a very viable option in this context, and my company and its siblings next door are doing very well helping them along this path (in various different ways).

You can insist until you're blue in the face that what we are doing every day is actually impossible, but money talks, so we shall simply have to agree to disagree.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 19:23 UTC (Tue) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

It must be great to live in a dream world where you can claim what you want and are always right.

Probably. That's the world you live in, right?

You can insist until you're blue in the face that what we are doing every day is actually impossible, but money talks, so we shall simply have to agree to disagree.

Yes, money talks and the plural of anecdote is not data. I just don't sure why we should agree to disagree. It's pretty clear by now that Linux is a failure on desktop: it's market share was kept basically the same in the last decade while MacOS grew from couple of percents to 7% worldwide and to above 20% is some countries (namely US). That's hard facts, when you ignore them you really look silly. Now, when we go from well-established facts to the possible explanations for these facts things become blurry. You may claim that the problems with config files don't matter — fine, we can agree to disagree. If you have another explanation for the Linux's failure. Do you have such an explanation? Just please keep in mind that for such explanation to be plausible it should work for Linux only, not for MacOS (which slowly but steadily grows especially in affluent countries and high price of the hardware nicely explains why it's a failure in poor countries).

I'm just not sure why desktop discussions are so different. When Microsoft posted the infamous Mindcraft's Benchmark results Linux community responded in entirely sane way: first it become angry (because it mistakenly believed that back then Linux was clearly superior to Windows) иге then, after some time, it found the relevant problems and fixed them. Somehow "desktop story" is entirely different: when confronted with facts and possible explanations Linux enthusiasts claim that all the evidence which shows that Linux sucks on desktop is riddled, then they claim that everything is fine and we just need to continue do what we did for the last ten years and when confronted with facts that this strategy does not work they explain how that don't matter because 1% "it's still a large number of bodies".

Why it's so hard to talk about these things rationally?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 19:59 UTC (Tue) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Why it's so hard to talk about these things rationally?

Search me. It is patently obvious what the Linux community would have to do to make Linux more interesting on the desktop. Unfortunately the strategy in question is unlikely to fly with the people who would most have to cooperate to implement it, so it isn't going to happen unless a major miracle occurs first.

However, this does by no means imply (like Cyberax seems to believe) that Linux is completely useless on the desktop. There are fine Linux-based desktop systems which are great for non-technical (and especially for technical) users to get actual work done. It's just that these systems are not particularly popular, because the vast majority of users buys computers with a pre-installed operating system that, while inferior to Linux in various respects and superior in others, appears to serve these users well enough so they do not necessarily feel the need to install Linux instead.

The problem with this situation is that it is self-perpetuating as long as Microsoft essentially owns the PC manufacturers, who also don't want to jeopardise their Windows discounts (and preinstalled-junkware kickbacks) by pushing other OSes too hard. After all, even though it would be perfectly possible to market pre-installed Linux systems, selling Windows PCs is most of their business. This is unfortunate but not a reason to give up on desktop Linux altogether. I've been using Linux on my desktop for 20 years now and I don't intend to stop anytime soon.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 27, 2013 2:50 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> However, this does by no means imply (like Cyberax seems to believe) that Linux is completely useless on the desktop.
I never said that. Linux desktop can be used in niche markets, sometimes it can be used to a great effect. That's self-evident.

However, I'm claiming that Linux is a failure in the _general_ 'classic' desktop market for a variety of reasons. These reasons are certainly disputable but the failure is evident in the marketshare. You can argue until you're blue in the face, but that won't budge 1% share of Linux desktop at all.

From my personal experience - desktop Linux lacks an ecosystem around it (from third-party developers to cheap sysadmins).

>The problem with this situation is that it is self-perpetuating as long as Microsoft essentially owns the PC manufacturers.
Microsoft never owned computer producers in Russia (or xUSSR). Yet in 90-s and early 2000-s the most popular OS in Russia was pirated Windows (sometimes installed right in the computer shops), even though Linux was readily available. Speaks volumes.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 27, 2013 6:50 UTC (Wed) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Yet in 90-s and early 2000-s the most popular OS in Russia was pirated Windows (sometimes installed right in the computer shops), even though Linux was readily available. Speaks volumes.

Possibly, but it certainly doesn't imply Windows is the better desktop OS.

I agree with you about the lack of an ecosystem, but on the other hand, even at 1% market-share, Linux does seem to be able to sustain itself on the desktop (and has done so for a couple of decades). It would sure be nice if it was more popular in the general community, but as I said this is unlikely to happen for a variety of (mostly fairly obvious) reasons.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 27, 2013 7:02 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> Possibly, but it certainly doesn't imply Windows is the better desktop OS.
It kinda does. People choose Windows overwhelmingly, even though alternatives (BTW, it included OS/2 as well) were readily available.

I actually agree with them - Linux in early 2000-s was nothing but embarrassingly clumsy for general users. It started to get somewhat usable only close to the second part of the last decade.

>I agree with you about the lack of an ecosystem, but on the other hand, even at 1% market-share, Linux does seem to be able to sustain itself on the desktop (and has done so for a couple of decades).
At this rate and attitude? Might be not for long. And the biggest 'threat' might be actually from Google.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 27, 2013 7:43 UTC (Wed) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

People choose Windows overwhelmingly, even though alternatives (BTW, it included OS/2 as well) were readily available.

I don't think people walk into a computer store in Russia (or for that matter anywhere else) and the sales clerk asks them »Do you want Windows on your computer or Linux?«. People aren't actively asking for Windows in favour of Linux (or. in the 1990s, OS/2). For the most part people are unlikely to be aware that there even is an operating system apart from Windows, and that would include many computer salespeople. So the popularity of Windows is less due to its overwhelming technical superiority and ecosystem, but mostly due to the fact that it is the default assumption. This in turn stems from the fact that Windows used to be pretty much the only game in town in the early 1990s, and that Microsoft used that time well to cement its predominance. You can be pretty sure that (a) Russian computer stores wouldn't bother with Windows if Windows hadn't already been popular in the US, the Far East and western/central Europe (which is where most of the celebrated »ecosystem« was), and (b) Windows wouldn't stay as popular as it is if Microsoft were to really crack down on piracy (Ballmer famously said about the Chinese that »if they must steal an operating system, let them steal ours«).

Also, Windows does for most people roughly what they expect, including the crashes and virus infections, which many people have learned to accept as facts of life (sort of like getting the flu – a nuisance but normally not the end of the world) – hence looking for alternatives to Windows isn't something that figures big in most people's minds.

At this rate and attitude? Might be not for long.

The demise of desktop Linux has been predicted for so long that I'm not unduly worried. People have been saying that Unix would disappear long before Linux even came out, and see where we are now.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 27, 2013 9:19 UTC (Wed) by BlueLightning (subscriber, #38978) [Link]

Microsoft never owned computer producers in Russia (or xUSSR). Yet in 90-s and early 2000-s the most popular OS in Russia was pirated Windows (sometimes installed right in the computer shops), even though Linux was readily available. Speaks volumes.

Not really. At that time Linux was vastly less capable and polished than it is now.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 23:30 UTC (Mon) by mathstuf (subscriber, #69389) [Link]

> but companies do this with webservers as well, and yet somehow they manage to make the 'horrible' switch from IE to Apache

I assume you mean "IIS to Apache"? Using IE as a web server would be…special.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 23:43 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

But possible. After all, node.js is in Javascript and IE can use external COM objects.

...evil grin...

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 21:11 UTC (Mon) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

if you are deploying anything large and complicated you WANT to be able to write config files (either manually or through automation tools)

Oh, absolutely. The only problem: by the time you need large and complicated scripts Linux is no longer a contender.

I think you are missing some facts which are clear and obvious to me and Cyberax but somehow are lost to you. Think about it: there are over 20 million businesses in US. What does it mean? Most of them have no admins, most of them have no IT department and most of them have noone who can change config files by hand. How can they ever do anything you ask? They ask someone to work as part time admin. Said guy can visit them once per week or once per month — when they need to do something complex and/or when they manage to break the system they have.

But surely when they'll grow they will need the ability to manage complex configurations? Sure. But by that time they have dozens of computers in Active Directory domain, they have Exchange server and bazillion Windows-related programs. Wholesale switch to Linux is no longer an option.

This is how Linux loses the battle: it loses it at the very beginning. And then it keep the potential users "out" by offering alien (for them) tools.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 21:43 UTC (Mon) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

It's kind of sad, Cobalt had a good thing going for SoHo servers, which would have been a foot in the door but was destroyed when Sun bought them out.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 25, 2013 23:19 UTC (Mon) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Univention Corporate Server (a Debian-based distribution) is really quite good for low-hassle Windows-like office setups. Among other things it supports centralised management, migration from existing Active Directory servers to Samba 4, and good integration with Zarafa (an Exchange workalike).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 26, 2013 14:39 UTC (Tue) by nye (guest, #51576) [Link]

>if you are deploying anything large and complicated you WANT to be able to write config files (either manually or through automation tools)

I don't think any serious admin is going to disagree with that - least of all Microsoft. Which is why for several years now the administrative GUIs for MS systems are essentially 'command-line builders' - they have a graphical wizard that generates the PowerShell command line to run, then *tell you what it is*, and runs it.

This is extremely useful because it means that there is an easy way to work out exactly what command you need to run for a particular task - and you know it's correct because it's the supported way to do it using first-party tools - and then you can modify/script it for your needs. Basically it adds extra discoverability to the PowerShell API, which is the native way of working with modern Windows systems.

If you have experience of Windows that's only as recent as the XP era (or, god forbid, 9x), then the operating system you're thinking of bears only a passing resemblance to what currently exists - seriously, it's *so much* better than it used to be, in practically every respect.

I'm not going to claim that Windows makes a better server than Linux, but I will claim that there are common situations now in which it is, and also that it is no longer *clearly worse* overall - as it once was.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 19:10 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

So yes, I'm pessimistic. It doesn't seem like Linux is capable of catching up with classic desktop computers.

Actually it looks like it can be quite capable. It's like with mobile: huge number of companies spent huge amount of time and money trying to make Linux which does not suck on mobile (have you noticed what folks which created Wayland worked for when iPhone arrived?) and in the end it was achieved and Linux even dominates it… only it was done by different guys in different place using different set of tools.

And now it looks like desktop story starts repeating itself: as I already wrote bestselling laptop on Amazon right now, today is Linux-based. But somehow I think if history will indeed repeat itself and 70% (or even 90%) of desktop will be occupied by Linux — we'll hear the same unhappy voices who will bitterly complain that it's "wrong" Linux and their "perfect" Linux is unfairly deprived of drivers and marketshare.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 19:56 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Chromebooks (which are really nice) are not really in the 'classic desktop' range. They are in a new niche (let's say 'netbooks done right').

Maybe they can grow into 'classic desktop' tasks in future, though.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 20:51 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Maybe they can grow into 'classic desktop' tasks in future, though.

That's what I'm talking about. In about 2-3 years they'll get the ability to write and execute code on device and in 5-7 years they can be self-hosting. That's not 100% guarantee but that can happen. If that'll happen then Linux will win on desktop like it won on mobile, but somehow I doubt people who explain how "X.Org is a pearl of Linux world" will be satisfied by this outcome.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 17:22 UTC (Sun) by boudewijn (subscriber, #14185) [Link]

"All of my kids, without exception, do not like using Windows. They grew up with Linux so a lot of your complaints have to do with what you're used to and not with any real deficiencies in Linux."

Same experience here with my daughters. There was one especially tense moment when a virus struck msn messenger, and they were the only people in their class who still could use msn (which was the main way for 10-year olds to connect, back then, in the Netherlands). It lead to lots of recriminations, like "If you don't switch to linux so we can MSN, you are not by Best Friend anymore!".

And the guy who is calling me his as-it-were father-in-law, he saw Krita and was like, "where can I download that? is it on bittorrent?". And then I told him he could get it, for free, because it is free software.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 22, 2013 17:15 UTC (Fri) by Pawlerson (guest, #74136) [Link]

Battle of the classic desktop is lost.
It's not. Thanks to Steam Linux will become far more popular than OS X.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 22, 2013 18:26 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Mac OS X already has Steam...

That might result in a nice Steam console, but I doubt it will result in EA porting all their games to Linux.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 1:04 UTC (Fri) by neilbrown (subscriber, #359) [Link]

> by that argument, all of Linux is a 1% niche and we should stop wasting our time and just live with what Windows provides us.

I realise you are being sarcastic, but this is so deeply wrong I felt the need to reply.

It is a big market. 1% is still a lot of people. In any case, I *like* smaller markets - the people tend to be friendlier, and people are more important than technology any day.

And what is this "wasting our time" that you speak of? Developing functionality that only I will use is not a waste (unless I learn nothing and don't enjoy it) and if someone else does use it: double prizes!

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 1:26 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

I'll point out that the comment I was replying to was making the case that a specific use case was a 1% or tiny fraction of users, and so we should just accept that we are such a small minority that our needs don't matter and we should just accept the loss of capabilities that we've used for decades because the vast majority of users don't need them.

If that is a valid logic trail to follow, all of Linux should not exist.

I fully agree with you that even small percentages amount to lots of people, and that the number of people doesn't matter as long as there are people who want to use it.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:02 UTC (Fri) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

There is nothing wrong with serving the needs of tiny niche (there are a lot of specialized companies who sell things by hundreds and may be, if they are lucky, thousands), but you must understand that you are serving the needs of tiny niche.

But there is such thing as fairness: if you serve some tiny niche you get the resources from this tiny niche, you can't demand the resources spent for them mainstream.

When people demand to keep that "X network transparency" they, in fact, demand that their obscure needs must be honored before needs of wast majority of the population - which is quite strange thing to do. Develop software for the 99% of cases first, then start thinking about that remaining 1%. If it's turned out that you can not solve 99% problem and 1% problem simultaneously then solve just 99% problem. People who need solution for 1% problem can then solve it themselves or do without.

I think people who endlessly raise this "perfect X network transparency" argument again and again actually understand these basic facts of life, they just refuse to accept them. I mean: they are trying to influence developers who are trying to solve 99% problem exactly because they know they don't have resources in their tiny niche to keep it from breaking.

But I still don't understand why 99% of users should suffer for the needs of 1%. It's just illogical. It's as in hypothetical case where DirectX is banned on Windows because Linux users can't use it. Makes no sense at all.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:22 UTC (Fri) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

If you start cutting features because "99% of the users don't need that feature", you will very quickly get to a system that has no users.

I've seen businesses do exactly this. One company had a 3 year development effort to re-write their entire codebase, along the way they had a couple dozen decisions to cut features that only 1-2% of the corporate clients they had used. The end result (which got announced with great fanfare) was a version that only 30 out of their 2000 customers could use because of the missing features.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:49 UTC (Fri) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

If you start cutting features because "99% of the users don't need that feature", you will very quickly get to a system that has no users.

Sure. No doubt about it. But if you'll not implement features which are needed by 99% of users because they break this oh-so-important 1% of then you'll get there much, much, MUCH faster. And this is, in fact, what happened with Linux.

Do you know that bestselling laptop on Amazon right now, today is Linux-based laptop? Go and check, if you want. What? What do you mean "it's not Linux"? It sure is. It just culled some features not useful by 99% of users (such as the ability to run compiler locally) and added some features useful for 99% of users (such as the ability to watch netflix), that's all.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:28 UTC (Fri) by neilbrown (subscriber, #359) [Link]

> When people demand ....

I've noticed that ... people seem to demand, but don't put any resources into it. I don't really understand that attitude.
Fortunately the Wayland people don't seem interested in responding to anyone's "demands", but are doing what they want to do in the way that they think is best. Very commendable.

People who endlessly raise any argument again and again are best ignored. But if they were, these comment threads would be much shorter.

:-)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 11:09 UTC (Fri) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

I've noticed that ... people seem to demand, but don't put any resources into it. I don't really understand that attitude.

It's not hard to understand, really. Think about it. Here is the feature they used for decades but which is not used by most of other users and which is major PITA to support. This combination means that they have no hope to keep it supported independently (because it needs a lot of resources) and it means that they can't argue that "hey, there are few of us, but we only need ten lines of code here and dozen more there", so what can they do? Raise huge racket and hope that developers will be intimidated. It's as simple as that. This strategy rarely works, but it sure is amusing to watch. Think "focus follows mouse" which went over similar contortions and was eventually punted from one of the most popular Linux desktops (I mean Unity here, of course). It to went from "something most definitely supported" to "something which works poorly" to "something which can be enabled but you can't really used" to "it's no longer an option". People who raise this racket are all too familiar with this pattern and they hope to slowdown (or, ideally, stop) it at early stages.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 12:16 UTC (Fri) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

Assuming we're talking about remote display (per-window or per-desktop, both are equally possible with Wayland right now, today), who ever - ever - said it wouldn't be supported? What's being taken away?

What part of 'this works right now and here's the git branch to go look at if you don't believe me' was misleading?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 17:55 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

And who the heck does khim think is intimidating anyone? I've seen intimidation. There's none here. Yowls of 'please don't break this' perhaps, but intimidation? You must be kidding.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 11:56 UTC (Thu) by ibukanov (subscriber, #3942) [Link]

> Only if you take the entire desktop--I've already explained why whole-desktop sharing doesn't work for me.

At the current project at work where I use remote Windows clients I configured the remote desktop to be slightly less that the real display and use the remote application in a full screen mode. It gives me single application window integrated into my desktop.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 21, 2013 1:23 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

I'm absolutely BAFFLED to learn HOW SMALL Xorg in reality is ??

"" 562,678 lines today ""

And so much controversy and bickering for something so small... even worst because if of those it counts all the "video-drivers" and other ancient stuff that could be removed... perhaps it could be half of that...

I HATE Xorg in that sense, actually it got a friend of mine laughing his guts out about my comment Linux being ready for Modern desktop... S3 Virgo, Voodoo, etc ?... c'mon Xorg... that must be a bad taste JOKE... why does that s*** has to be dragged around anytime a new release is launched !!?

Linux kernel that is very far from the biggest thing on any Linux system has "millions" of lines of code...

So about *Remote Desktop/Display* why not merge something like NX into the X codebase itself... it would put a final nail on any controversy about speed or better...

And being so small and very "modular" i can't think why does X have to be replaced, the piece meal breaking for clean up is done!... why can't it be cleaned and improved, and why not incorporate the most pertinent features of Wayland, why not make it really *Multi-Threading* and really "multi-renderer" prone ...

It might be that in the end it would be less than 1 million lines of code... patient and good documentation (good code comments) and it would require a small team to maintain...

I don't know the code, but it must be really bad to read and understand for this... but i think it would be much easier faster and better strategy, good patient a good clean up and documentation, than to try to fork the all X app base to a new system... *can't think otherwise*...

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Mar 7, 2013 21:35 UTC (Thu) by jawz101 (guest, #89736) [Link]

in regards to RDP and publishing an individual application for remote access, in Windows 2008 Server MS did add this feature. It's called RemoteApp. I replaced our Citrix servers at my last job and used this feature.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 18:16 UTC (Thu) by daglwn (guest, #65432) [Link]

> For example, I have a system at work and I run Emacs on it and do all my
> work. When I get home I can ssh into my work system and ask my existing
> Emacs instance to open a new window on my display at home.

How do you do this? I've wanted to do that for YEARS!

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 22:55 UTC (Thu) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

It's super-easy. I run Emacs in daemon mode (start "emacs --daemon") but this isn't required; if you don't do that you need to start the Emacs server yourself in your ~/.emacs file, or run M-x start-server by hand.

Then if your system running Emacs is named "server", just run:

ssh -X server emacsclient -c

The -c tells Emacs to create a new graphical frame, and since you're using ssh it will forward the display securely back to your local desktop.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 14:16 UTC (Fri) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

This is actually a nice and useful tip. Thanks and kudos!

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 23:39 UTC (Fri) by jimparis (subscriber, #38647) [Link]

Typo: the command is M-x server-start

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 17, 2013 6:14 UTC (Sun) by daglwn (guest, #65432) [Link]

Well, almost:

Waiting for Emacs...X11 connection rejected because of wrong authentication.

*ERROR*: Display localhost:30.0 can't be opened

Any ideas?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 16:15 UTC (Mon) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

I'm not sure LWN comments are the best place for a support conversation :-), but can you run other remote X operations (for example, can you run "ssh -X server xterm" and have the xterm show up locally)?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 21:01 UTC (Mon) by daglwn (guest, #65432) [Link]

Yep, xterm works fine remotely.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 21:03 UTC (Mon) by daglwn (guest, #65432) [Link]

Ah, I found this, which looks useful:

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/gnu.e...

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 19, 2013 13:26 UTC (Tue) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

Hm. The original problem definitely sounded exactly like yours. However following the links to the recommended solution, I don't see how tramp is related. Anyway this looks way more complex; I certainly have never needed to copy a file like ~/.emacs.d/server/server to my local host. Things Just Work, with no extra help. If xterm works then it's probably not an issues with Xauthority etc. It seems bizarre to me but I suppose it could be a hostname thing. If on the server you say "ping server" does it work and give you a real IP address (not 127.0.0.1)? If on your client you say "ping server" does that work and give back the same IP address?

Have you tried starting Emacs in --daemon mode rather than using start-server? What version of Emacs do you have?

We may need to move this to the Emacs help mailing list: https://lists.gnu.org/mailman/listinfo/help-gnu-emacs

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:34 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

This doesn't use RDP, though.

You can do that with RDP, too.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 21, 2013 1:47 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

i'm tel' ia.. i've seen the Cristal Ball...

the killer app of the second half of this century, is not the WEB (page sharing/publishing)... is "desktop environment virtual reality sharing", with something like X has the main protocol... the web will go with http-over-X(something)...

Any desktop could have multiple "virtual reality desktops", or better said "worlds", like some desktops projects that have flanked... each "world" could be a dedicated point-to-point connection, tunneled and encrypted, so privacy is a feature... but also you could put your friends of some "worlds" talking to each other, and create private group conference and interaction...

"whiteboarding" could be pervasive along with video... also group private "intra-nets" for docs and files... all possible because HTTP/jabber etc goes above something like X... this is the future... going down the drain!...

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:13 UTC (Wed) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

Just in case you hadn't seen/heard about it yet... there is the FLOSS program xrdp. It is basically a service that uses rdp for two end points... but on the remote system there is a VNC shim between rdp and the host.

I believe you can do a single application with it or a complete desktop.... and even if not... who cares. You can have the whole desktop with your single app running. If it is more efficient for the client side that's all they care about. The remote side has the whole desktop but you can make that be a very light-weight window manager if desired.

Now, with a full desktop in the window you can run lots of applications and the speed on the client side doesn't really change. In fact there might be times when you want to do just that. Open up 3-10 different X applications and see how well that functions. It'll be way slower. I'm sure you're counter would be... "who wants to do that?". Ok, you are probably right... but I'm just say'n. :)

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:50 UTC (Wed) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

Just to be clear I'm not talking about creating a thin client/server environment or something. I have a system I use at work. It has dual displays, both of which are very large. It has multiple workspaces. All my applications run natively on this system (it has lots of CPU and RAM). I have a system I use at home. It has one, smaller display. It has its own workspace layout. I do "home stuff" on it, but I also want to do "work stuff" on it.

My "work stuff" involves running (and stopping, and restarting) multiple applications, all of which have their own windows. At home I move the windows to different workspaces, as my display is smaller. I do not want to have all my remote windows "captured" inside a single remote desktop, especially one which is the size of my very large dual-screen desktop at work.

Then sometimes I log into work from my laptop, which has its own, smaller display size. Etc.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:33 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

RDP in Windows is much WORSE than remote X11, because it's functionally inferior.

You can create an .rdp file which launches remote application on your desktop. What exactly is missing?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 0:26 UTC (Thu) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

That's good. For me it's annoying because I need to run applications under the debugger, with different arguments, etc. and rewriting the RDP file to change this (or having a suite of slightly different ones) is kind of a pain--it's much simpler for me to ssh to the remote system and invoke whatever commands I need from the shell, knowing all X traffic will automatically appear on my local display; but that's par for the course in Windows I suppose.

The missing thing is allowing a single application to create windows on both local and remote displays at the same time. But this is not a built-in feature of X, either (although its network transparent architecture makes things like this relatively straightforward to implement).

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 2:16 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

So start a remote Explorer and use it to run your applications. Easy.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 1:50 UTC (Thu) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

The X11 server can render to Wayland. X11 applications can talk to that X server. There is no way that Wayland can make things worse for you or anyone else. It can only make things better.

Well, I guess anyone who loves actually working on the current monolithic "Do everything in the X server" code might find it worse, however it seems everyone actually doing such work prefers and is looking forward to the Wayland approach. That should tell you something.

tldr:

a: Wayland == X12

b: It will be fully backward compatible with X11

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 1:52 UTC (Thu) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

Oh, and wrt remote displays specifically, the Wayland scheme allows for *greater* flexibility in how applications and their proxies (like X servers, or VNC servers, or whatever) arrange their remoting.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:53 UTC (Thu) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

I'm definitedly not an X apologist but what you wrote is *very* inacurate!

> There is no way that Wayland can make things worse for you or anyone else. It can only make things better.

False: when your toolkit drops support for X to become Wayland only (let's be realistic: backward compability support isn't good in the Linux desktop world), then "Wayland can make things worse for you".
It won't be Wayland devs's fault, it'll be the toolkit devs fault but if there are users for which "Wayland experience" is worse than "X experience" (I hope that there won't be, but I'm not sure that this won't be the case) then **they will still have problems**..

> Wayland == X12

Only in the sense that Wayland is X's successor but X is a model where programs send drawings commands to a display server, Wayland is a model where programs sends whole buffers to a display server, that is a significant difference: drawing commands can include 'send a whole buffer' but not the other way round.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 21, 2013 4:06 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

No one in their right mind can be an apologist of the actual situation of Xorg...

Also none in their right mind will change car only because its tires got flat

Everyone should be apologist of how X network works... it could be substantially improved, yet maintain perfect compatibility (think of it like the kernel ABI)... and this is fundamental, kill X network and the desktop could not suffer much, but a good part of the "app server" business is gone...

There is this misconception that to "grow" you must change to new... its exactly the opposite... change when its a fail in "use" and "install" base, because this kind of changes mean exactly "born again", and you have to pass for the same growth pains allover again...

Wayland with improved X protocol in it is just X12... Improved Xorg with the Wayland protocol is also X12... X without X protocol is not X... Wayland without X is a disaster...

And worst, the ugly hack of running server on top of server a clumsy duplication that is not AT ALL in favor of fast or stability, could be buggy prone, and will flop miserably... more so because that is the *issue*, none of millions of potential users out there understand a word of you are saying... only *good* and or *bad* notions... yet they can feel when its real "draggy" or "instable", and they will NOT blame X or wayland or whatever, they will BLAME ALL, switch and stay away...

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 21, 2013 6:48 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

and sure it isn't the toolkits guys fault... that is a lost battle, ppl should get over it, more so because there is a very simple solution...

* a common Icon engine

* a common theming engine (embeddable) mainly for the "app windows" and doesn't touch panels, docs, bars or special widgets.

Than the battle that is not lost yet, is putt a "common" display engine for everything from boot (Grub DM) to the desktop, one which could take the responsibility for basic multi display, mouse pointer and keyboard (among other things)... it could even be the engine for something like Coreboot setup display and help this one gain traction...

Can a striped down version of Wayland fulfill those rolls, be the "mouse pointer engine" and the "keyboard engine" for the desktop in collaboration with the main windowing system ? ( i think it can)

In debugging or a crash situation of the main desktop, is just a pain why does the keyboard mapping have to change and why does the mouse pointer theme have to change...

Then at least Wayland would be tremendously faster to adopt and evolve... and with those successful... than to port the now ~200.000 X applications allover all this years, to be Wayland apps, and to accomplish that will require ugly buggy and instability prone hacks, of servers on top of servers...

Honestly, i have nothing personally against Wayland... and it hasn't to do with the engine itself (which could be good)... but i couldn't think of a better *mess* than this, to throw Linux desktop back to stage 1.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 1:54 UTC (Thu) by pflugstad (subscriber, #224) [Link]

> But I do want to nip this whole "RDP" thing right in the bud. Remote desktops are NOT WHAT WE WANT (well I'm sure some do, but many don't).

I think you are seriously overestimating how many people want your use case (remote application) vs those who want remote desktop.

I very much DO want remote desktop. I want to be able to connect to all already my running apps on my desktop. I often have existing shells, Eclipse, Firefox, documents, PDFs, etc, that I want to view. And I frequently want to do this from lab machines, conference room machines, other developers PCs, etc. While I use Emacs extensively, very few other applications I use can fire up new windows like it can. Can Firefox do this? Eclipse? OpenOffice? Yes, I can figure up new instances of those apps, but that's wasteful, and some may not behave well or be able to access a file already opened by another instance.

I do not think I am alone in this. And I expect the vast majority of people will expect that same behavior, for the reasons I outline above, and because, for better or worse, that's how Windows generally does it.

In any case, Wayland will clearly allow for both use cases. I personally hope that they figure out way to make remote desktop perform reasonably. I've been trying to use x11vnc (and other versions) on my server for several years now, but performance has always been poor, even on my wifi.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 9:30 UTC (Fri) by Lennie (guest, #49641) [Link]

> even on my wifi

Euh, for many people wifi is worse, a lot of the time even worse than going over the Internet.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 5:41 UTC (Mon) by tnoo (subscriber, #20427) [Link]

> I think you are seriously overestimating how many people want your use case (remote application) vs those who want remote desktop.

I think you are seriously underestimating how many people have that use case.

One example: Our lab can only afford to buy one new machine every year (and our compute servers are slowly getting too old to be of much use). By being able to tap the computing power of newest, fast desktops, everyone can run calculations fast without the need for a fast computer on each desk. Our work is still mostly writing and data analysis with only occasional high computing needs, so this is the perfect setup.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:49 UTC (Thu) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

Wayland's remoting is done on a per-window basis.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 1:59 UTC (Fri) by madscientist (subscriber, #16861) [Link]

Wow, some people like to argue. I'll reiterate what I said originally: (a) remote desktop is not what I want and not what a lot of people currently using X want, and (b) I've seen nothing to suggest that Wayland is not capable of supporting remote display.

Other than that a few notes:

On my Ubuntu system remote desktop is trivial: no need to install anything (it's part of the base system). I select the "Desktop Sharing" applet and enable it, then when I need to connect from a remote system I use the "Remote Desktop Client", enter the server name and my password, and it just works. I have no problem believing the Windows implementation of remote desktop is better than X's. However, X's remote display model is what I want, and in my experience, Windows doesn't have the same flexibility. However, even that is beside the point: maybe Windows is better and more feature-ful than X in every possible way. It makes absolutely no difference to me, since I don't use it. What I care about is what features Wayland has, compared to X.

Comparing the number of people who use remote desktop on Windows to those using remote display in X is useless. We're talking about Wayland and X. The only meaningful statistic is how many X users who use non-local display operations want remote display, vs. remote desktop. I can assure you that far more than 1% of X users would be very upset to lose remote display and have only remote desktop.

X's remote display was designed to work on a per-application basis. It was not designed to remote an entire desktop. Dismissing X's "vaunted network transparency" because it doesn't do what it was never designed to do is silly. X _is_ network transparent. You may say that the per-application design of the 1980's is not sufficient for all use-cases in 2013. Fine. What _I'm_ saying is that the use-cases X _was_ designed for are still legitimate and still matter to many people using X, and shouldn't be forgotten.

For the remote desktop fans, I do wonder how you manage it? My display at work is 3840x1080, and I have 8 workspaces of that size. My display at home is 1680x1050. My display on my laptop is 1280x960. How in the world does anyone get anything done trying to use a 3840x1080 remote desktop on these smaller displays? How do you manage switching workspaces inside the remote desktop, vs. switching workspaces on your local desktop? This is a serious question. I've never been able to be even close to productive with remote desktop and I can't figure out how it's supposed to work. It just seems SO limiting and SO confining, to not be able to have application windows that fit on my physical display, can be resized, moved to different workspaces, etc.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:17 UTC (Fri) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Hmm.

On my Ubuntu system remote desktop is trivial: no need to install anything (it's part of the base system). I select the "Desktop Sharing" applet and enable it, then when I need to connect from a remote system I use the "Remote Desktop Client", enter the server name and my password, and it just works.

and

remote desktop is not what I want and not what a lot of people currently using X want

Can not both be right: if capability is not useful and is not asked-for then why it's there by default?

The only problem: this capability is, again, implemented using a kludge. "Desktop Sharing" using the same trusty VNC with screen scraping, not the much-vaunted "X network transparency".

I can understand why it's done this way but what it boils down to: "X network transparency" is a failure. If we want to propose a replacement then we need to develop something to support the most common usecase first and rare obscure usecase second - even if these are dear to you.

The only meaningful statistic is how many X users who use non-local display operations want remote display, vs. remote desktop.

Wow. Why do you think that it's "the only meaningful statistic"? Why do you think that people who left Linux for MacOS or Windows are not important? I'm seriously tempted to do that myself. I'm still with Linux because I like ThinkPads keyboards enough to cope with all that nonsense, but as time goes on and Lenovo makes them less and less usable in newer models I may decide that "enough is enough" and it's time to switch...

I can assure you that far more than 1% of X users would be very upset to lose remote display and have only remote desktop.

I'm not all that sure. By now a lot of these users are Ubuntu users and they don't know and don't care about all these old crufty stuff. I'm not sure if it's 90% by now or 99% by now, but you can be sure that old-timers who really know how to use all these incantations are in minority: that's why all these incantations are not there in a nice GUI wrappers in default installation, you know. Because few users care.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 17:15 UTC (Fri) by lyda (subscriber, #7429) [Link]

I use screen in my terminal windows. I have no trouble getting access to those.

The main graphical app I use is my web browser. I use Chrome. I click "new tab" and click "other devices" in the lower right hand part of the screen. Shows me everything I have open everywhere - desktops, phones, tablets.

I can access everything on my desktop remotely with little fuss even I have minimal bandwidth.

As for running other gui apps remotely, I just ssh -X to whatever machine I want (including ones without any desktop) and run the app I want.

I've used X11 desktops since 1990 and never really used Windows. The few times I did I found any remote solutions painful and slow even when they were nearby. Worse even than ssh-tunneled trans-Atlantic X11 apps.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 18, 2013 5:45 UTC (Mon) by tnoo (subscriber, #20427) [Link]

Exactly my experience.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:26 UTC (Fri) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

For the remote desktop fans, I do wonder how you manage it? My display at work is 3840x1080, and I have 8 workspaces of that size. My display at home is 1680x1050. My display on my laptop is 1280x960. How in the world does anyone get anything done trying to use a 3840x1080 remote desktop on these smaller displays?

Why do you think I would use 3840x1080 remote desktop? When you connect to remote desktop in Windows it can be resized to match your needs (yet-another-thing-which-oh-so-perfect-X-can't-do without a lot of tweaking). Windows will be rearranged, sure, but that's better then chase around all these huge windows on my small screen.

How do you manage switching workspaces inside the remote desktop, vs. switching workspaces on your local desktop?

If you make your remote desktop "full screen" then everything is sent to the remote system (except for one tunable sequence which makes it windowed). This means that I can easily switch between mode where all my shortcuts are used by remote system and another one where I must be careful because most of them are used for local system. It's not perfect arrangement, but works fine for most needs.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 0:21 UTC (Sat) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> When you connect to remote desktop in Windows it can be resized to match your needs

you are contradicting yourself

either you get a view of the existing desktop (which is a large size with windows spread out over the large space)

or you get a new desktop of whatever size you want and you open apps in the new desktop

My experience with RDP and Citrix is the second, but you have been claiming the first.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 0:32 UTC (Sat) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

That's not a contradiction at all, it's not either/or, to claim such indicates a lack of familiarity with the subject. When connecting to an existing session the screen resizes to whatever resolution you specify when you connect, just like if you changed resolution and hot unplugged any secondary displays. When you takeover the session logged into the console that way the console switches to the login screen. You can take the session over by logging in on the console.

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 16, 2013 2:17 UTC (Sat) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> When you connect to remote desktop in Windows it can be resized to match your needs (yet-another-thing-which-oh-so-perfect-X-can't-do without a lot of tweaking).

Of course X can do that easily: xrandr to the rescue. X just does not force you to a single solution. For example I prefer do not resize remote desktop, instead I allow vnc viewer to scale it locally, so I get a small view of remote desktop in a window.

X is a great thing, it allows you to do everything you want. :)

--
Start the sentence with "Linux is gay because it can't do XXX like Windows can". You will have PhDs running to tell you how to solve your problems. <http://bash.org/?152037>

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 12:19 UTC (Fri) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

The only people who are saying that remote desktop is the only remoting method supported in Wayland instead of remote windows are totally, utterly, wrong. And have never even tried it. Actually, I think it's the other way around: I'm not sure remote desktop is really supported at all, bar kludges like remoting a new compositor.

The references to VNC and RDP were about the conceptual differences between sending a stream of rendering commands, and sending the pixel buffers. That's all, nothing else. I'm not referring to reimplementing VNC or RDP exactly 100% like-for-like with all its bugs and deficiencies, because why would we do that?

Remote desktop vs. remote display

Posted Feb 15, 2013 12:44 UTC (Fri) by andresfreund (subscriber, #69562) [Link]

> The only people who are saying that remote desktop is the only remoting method supported in Wayland instead of remote windows are totally, utterly, wrong. And have never even tried it. Actually, I think it's the other way around: I'm not sure remote desktop is really supported at all, bar kludges like remoting a new compositor.

> I'm not referring to reimplementing VNC or RDP exactly 100% like-for-like with all its bugs and deficiencies, because why would we do that?

Besides, RDP actually supports remote windows for some time now.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:04 UTC (Wed) by virtex (subscriber, #3019) [Link]

I think the main complaint about using a protocol like RDP or VNC is that they require the remote side to manage an entire desktop. When I run an X11 application remotely, it opens a window on my desktop rather than a whole other desktop. This becomes even more pronounced if I want to run multiple applications each running from a different remote host. The X11 way integrates more naturally into my workspace. Now, if RDP or VNC can be made to work with individual windows rather than entire desktop (maybe it already can, I don't know), this would change the game entirely.

On the subject of remote displays, I've long thought the best way to handle remote applications is, rather than copying bitmaps back and forth, is to handle it at the toolkit level. As an example, imagine you have a calculator program written using the GTK+ toolkit. You would have a plugin to the Weston (or similar) compositor which understands how to render windows and GTK+ widgets. The calculator program would generate a description - perhaps using XML - that defines the initial size of the window, the placement of all the buttons, labels, pull-down menus, etc, as well as callbacks for each button for which it's interested. It would send this description to the compositor which could then render the window. At this point, the user can resize the window or do certain other actions without requiring a trip back to the remote calculator app to redraw everything. The compositor would understand how to do all this. When the user presses a button containing a callback, the compositor would notify the remote application that the button was pressed and it could handle it from there by updating the display, performing a calculation, etc. In a way, it would work similar to some of the web 2.0 applications out there, but without all the client-side javascript. Granted, this is all just a thought experiment, but it would be interesting to see if something like this is possible.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:10 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> I think the main complaint about using a protocol like RDP or VNC is that they require the remote side to manage an entire desktop.
No, they don't. VNC and RDP work perfectly fine without the root window.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 10:01 UTC (Thu) by pkern (subscriber, #32883) [Link]

How can one get a rootless VNC window that allows resizing? Or a rootless VNC in general?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 12:48 UTC (Thu) by lindi (subscriber, #53135) [Link]

I haven't figured out how to do that with VNC but a year ago I switched to xpra and it does that so nicely that I have also almost completely quit using screen.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 0:09 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

On the subject of remote displays, I've long thought the best way to handle remote applications is, rather than copying bitmaps back and forth, is to handle it at the toolkit level.

Sure, that's doable. I'm pretty sure some programs will allow you to do that. Probably the same percentage of them which allow you do connect to the new X server on the fly (as emacs can do).

For all other uses there will be need to do something different.

In a way, it would work similar to some of the web 2.0 applications out there, but without all the client-side javascript. Granted, this is all just a thought experiment, but it would be interesting to see if something like this is possible.

You already explained why it works just fine and will continue to work or why it fails and will continue to fail (depending on your viewpoint). Applications which need this today are already implemented this way with a web 2.0. Applications which don't need that will not have that because... well, they don't need it. It's like an OpenBSD support: something you can to your program but which will be broken all the time without anyone noticing or caring.

I don't really see why do you think it'll be a problem to achieve acceptable speed with a bitmaps and a compression: if you have slowly changing stuff on your screen then delta-algorithms will work fine and if you have something like 3D shooter you'll need to send huge amount of data anyway. The only case where I can imagine substantial loss is with videoplayers: if you send pre-compressed stream (which was compressed using state-of-the-art-algorithms which need insane computation requirements of course it'll be more efficient then if you'll compress these same frames on-the-fly), but this is such a narrow use case I doubt we need optimize for it (or, alternatively, it may be good idea to provide sensible bypass for it because it's extremely narrow but quite common case).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:05 UTC (Thu) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183) [Link]

>> On the subject of remote displays, I've long thought the best way to handle remote applications is, rather than copying bitmaps back and forth, is to handle it at the toolkit level.

> Sure, that's doable. I'm pretty sure some programs will allow you to do that. Probably the same percentage of them which allow you do connect to the new X server on the fly (as emacs can do).

If you count web applications then there are probably more of them around than that.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:06 UTC (Thu) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183) [Link]

Oh dear, next time I will read to the end of a comment before answering.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 9:38 UTC (Fri) by Lennie (guest, #49641) [Link]

Supposedly Spice can already recognize previously compressed content and will not try to compress it again.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 8:20 UTC (Thu) by alexl (guest, #19068) [Link]

Its seems a lot of people are misunderstanding the RDP references. RDP does in fact do both app remoting and desktop remoting, although the later is what its most know for. However, in this discussion we're not talking about using RDP as-is in wayland, but rather about the conceptual differences in the protocol.

The X verison of remoting is that the client sends a stream of drawing requests which are then rendered on the server, whereas the RDP-style version is that clients render locally (using whatever rendering approach they want, including GPUs), and the system then sends the resulting images in an efficient version to the server. This image can be the buffer for the toplevel window (as in wayland) or of the whole desktop (traditional RDP).

Now, this sounds like a bad solution performance wise, as you have to send all pixels of the window each frame, but it turns out that this is a fallacy for a few reasons:

* The rendering model of X is not really useful for modern apps, so clients end up doing client side rendering a lot which makes the rendering operations heavy (X doesn't even have a way to send compressed images!).

* A lot of apps overdraw a lot, so sending the pixels in each drawing operation may very well be more data than the finished image.

* Its very hard to optimize a stream of drawing operations. For instance, the Xserver will do a lot of clipping which apps rely on to avoid expensive rendering, but of course this doesn't help with the network bandwidth. Its also very complicated to compare two frames if they are just a stream of drawing operations. In Wayland however things are very simple. You have perfect frames, so you only ever see finished versions of the window, which in practice differ in very small amounts. This makes it very simple to detect the minimal amount of changed pixels and send them over in a compressed format.

* X is very latency sensitive as it does a lot of work on the server side, like window hierarchy changes and event generation. This causes a need to often synchronize the application with the xserver which needs a roundtrip. Wayland instead treats the output as a dumb display and remote input as just sending the raw device input, which lets these run freely. So, Wayland should be much less sensitive to high latencies.

Some of this is fixable for X with e.g. NX, which adds a local server to get better latency behaviour and compressed images. But at this point this is not even X, you might as well compare it to rendering an X client on a remote wayland server and then connecting to that via wayland remoting.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:14 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

The X verison of remoting is that the client sends a stream of drawing requests which are then rendered on the server, whereas the RDP-style version is that clients render locally (using whatever rendering approach they want, including GPUs), and the system then sends the resulting images in an efficient version to the server.

This is just plain wrong. RDP remotes GDI and (depending on the capabilities of client) Direct 3D commands on client. It also includes efficient protocol which compresses client-generated content. This is needed not just for Java applications but for things like Photoshop, too. But where possible RDP sends primitives to the other end.

Oh, and it usually does not use local GPU (because it'll not work if dozen of users will try to access server at the same time which is also not uncommon usecase).

The rest of response is not relevant because it's hard to compare something which exist only in alexl imagination with any other solution: I, personally, have no idea what the imaginary alexl's protocol does and how it's related to the X, Wayland or [real, not imaginable] RDP.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 10:21 UTC (Thu) by alexl (guest, #19068) [Link]

Its true that modern RDP has some extensions that do some of these things, like MS-RDPEGDI. I don't deny that, but as I've said, this discusson is not about RDP as-is. There was never any interest whatsoever in using exactly the RDP protocol in Wayland or X, that makes little sense as it is quite Win32 specific.

What I mean is that when Wayland developers say that "VNC" or "RDP" is better than X, they don't mean using the exact same bit streams, but rather the basic (original) concepts of these.

As to a protocol implementation, Kristian has an initial implementation of wayland remoting in his git repository and has been demoing it publically. I don't think its quite usable yet, but its far from in my imagination only. And even if there wasn't an implementation, I don't understand how discussing the real weaknesses of X vs a planned replacement is irrelevant?

Modern RDP is actually kind of a mix host and client rendering depending on what APIs the app uses and what kind of graphics it renders. If apps hit the right codepaths they get drawing commands piped to the client, otherwise it gets host rendered. Then they ensure that the most basic OS things like DWM gets this right so that e.g. window management always hits the efficient paths. In the case of Wayland the WM side is less problematic as the compositor always runs on the client, but for sure some of the more modern RDP extensions are interesting to look at. In particular I think forwarding of video streams is important to get right.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 12:13 UTC (Thu) by sdalley (subscriber, #18550) [Link]

khim, your knowledgeability is admirable. But it is sometimes badly offset by your arrogant manner.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 19, 2013 13:05 UTC (Tue) by wookey (subscriber, #5501) [Link]

Indeed. I have often wondered: who _is_ 'khim'? He (not she I suspect) seems very well informed about many things, but also impressively opinionated, even by geek standards. I wonder what background all this knowledge and these opinions come from.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 19, 2013 16:31 UTC (Tue) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

There are a few heavy posters that I wonder about, I think that khim and Cyberaxe and a few others have probably written more words on LWN than the people who work here and write for a living. I don't know where they find the time, do they really have jobs? 8-) It'd be nice to have a LWN meet-up and have a beer with our fellow commenters sometime.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 19, 2013 18:49 UTC (Tue) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Personally, I write a lot of stuff during boring meetings :)

LWN meeting would be interesting (I'm in SF, btw).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 25, 2013 10:10 UTC (Mon) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

I support the notion of a LWN meetup, but i suspect we are widely distributed around our little planet. Any fellow LWNer from anywhere can feel free to contact me for a beer whenever she or he gets stuck here in my neck of the tropical mountains (Belo Horizonte, MG, BR)...

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 25, 2013 4:54 UTC (Mon) by muwlgr (guest, #35359) [Link]

'khim' could be Victor Khimenko (search Google, LKML)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 14:00 UTC (Thu) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

Actually, it's massively relevant. People seem to assume that it's a straight binary switch between how X is perceived to work across a network today (which usually bears no relation to fact), or the very specific implementations of VNC/RDP and its extensions. Rather than having a third choice of a new protocol which does efficient compressed transfer of client-rendered images (yes, like VNC/RDP), but without necessarily being rooted or limited by any of the gripes people have with VNC/RDP.

If you don't believe me, go look at every other comment on this article.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 11:26 UTC (Thu) by nhippi (subscriber, #34640) [Link]

> The calculator program would generate a description - perhaps using XML -
> that defines the initial size of the window, the placement of all the
> buttons, labels, pull-down menus, etc, as well as callbacks for each
> button for which it's interested.
...
> it would work similar to some of the web 2.0 applications out there,
> but without all the client-side javascript.

What would be the point? The main problem with remote desktop
applications is user interface latency, which client side javascript
neatly eliminates for simple operations - such as calculator operations.

HTML/JavaScript is in many ways the better than running desktop
applications remotely. Which is, incidentally the reason why only
a vocal minority cares about remote X these days.

The only remaining reasonable usecase for remote desktop is user support.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 11, 2013 14:07 UTC (Mon) by runeks (guest, #74789) [Link]

> You would have a plugin to the Weston (or similar) compositor which understands how to render windows and GTK+ widgets.

You've just described server-side rendering. It's what we've spent 10 years trying to abandon in the X-world with direct rendering, and what we're finally abandoning completely with Wayland.

At the end of the day, maintaining a drawing API in the compositor is just a maintainer's nightmare, hence why we're leaving X (this is basically what HTML and a HTML rendering engine do. Use these, they are tailored for the task.

Just spend a few minutes pondering that "XML format" you suggest. I know a certain XLM-format that fits the features you seek, it's called HTML. Just imagine having to implement WebKit inside a compositing window manager. Now that sounds like a fun project :).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 11, 2013 15:25 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

So... if we want to run an application remotely, and it's not a web page, you think we should just give up, even though we can do it now with X easily?

That sounds like a regression to me.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 11, 2013 16:08 UTC (Mon) by Jonno (subscriber, #49613) [Link]

>So... if we want to run an application remotely, and it's not a web page, you think we should just give up, even though we can do it now with X easily?

No, what we are saying is that *in the general case* you are better off rendering your application client-side and pushing (compressed) bitmaps over the network, and if in a *specific use case* that isn't good enough, you are better of using (X)HTML rather than reimplementing it poorly in the compositor...

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 12, 2013 22:41 UTC (Tue) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> No, what we are saying is that *in the general case* you are better off rendering your application client-side and pushing (compressed) bitmaps over the network, and if in a *specific use case* that isn't good enough, you are better of using (X)HTML rather than reimplementing it poorly in the compositor...

That "XHTML" is called XRender and was invented in X almost 15 years ago. It supports primitives, gradients, even some transformations. It allows you something like drawing a page of text in one command without sending any images, just referencing previously sent glyphs. Uses hardware acceleration if possible. And all modern toolkits know about it.

X also allows you to display anything locally, even directly talking to hardware with mesa, like on Wayland.

There's no need to reinvent it for Wayland, it's already done for X.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 13, 2013 1:44 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Xrender is useless for anything complicated and is poorly supported on modern graphics cards.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 14, 2013 5:37 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Xrender is useless for anything complicated and is poorly supported on modern graphics cards.

Quite the opposite, Xrender is good for complicated things, and as far as I remember its support in drivers is rather good too. Xrender is only bad for drawing custom images pixel-per-pixel.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 14, 2013 17:24 UTC (Thu) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Nope. Modern cards do not HAVE 2D acceleration modules. Recent Radeons simply use OpenGL to do 2D drawing (GLAMOUR layer). And XRender is focused on trapezoids instead of triangles, which makes it non-trivial to implement. So it works quite poorly.

Besides, XRender is not that great even in the best of times. Its support for gradients is not that great, line drawing is mediocre, no support for text rendering, etc.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 14, 2013 18:56 UTC (Thu) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

> Modern cards do not HAVE 2D acceleration modules

People keep saying that, but then there are articles like this one

2D Support Still Coming To NVIDIA's Open Tegra
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MT...

besides, if nothing else, isn't 2D acceleration a subset of 3D (with Z=0 in all cases)??

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 14, 2013 20:19 UTC (Thu) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

I skimmed through some of the related docs about host1x and it seems that the Tegra isn't implementing a VGA with fixed-function 2D acceleration but is a standard general-purpose GPU. The host1x driver seems to be designed to use DMA to push data into buffers managed on the GPU device via normal kernel DRM. Presumably acceleration is had by sending the appropriate programs to the GPU and having them run on the buffers sent to produce an output image. This is using the "3D" engine to provide 2D acceleration as this is a subset of its full functionality, as you pointed out, and what is meant when someone notes that GPUs don't have 2D-only modules anymore.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 15, 2013 7:14 UTC (Fri) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Modern cards do not HAVE 2D acceleration modules.

Well, it actually depends on a particular chip but ok, let's say that they ALSO have 2D acceleration.

> Recent Radeons simply use OpenGL to do 2D drawing

Radeon is not the best example. Simple CPU-based software 2D rendering there is often faster than doing that through driver/hardware.

> (GLAMOUR layer).

Ehm. Glamour is an option. And it's not the best option. It's idea is to make driver support easier by making things simpler AND SLOWER, because you can't do many specific optimisation with it any more. That's why Intel SNA acceleration rocks. :)

> And XRender is focused on trapezoids instead of triangles, which makes it non-trivial to implement. So it works quite poorly.

Hm... Xrender does not stop you from drawing triangles, but... Do you know that images are usually rectangular, not triangular? How do you expect to put rectangular image on a triangle?

> Besides, XRender is not that great even in the best of times.

XRender is a protocol. Or are you talking about its support in drivers?

> Its support for gradients is not that great, line drawing is mediocre, no support for text rendering, etc.

XRender, as a protocol, has great support for gradients, line drawing and text rendering. As for its hardware acceleration in drivers it depends on a driver of course.

That's the point of XRender! You make a good implementation of XRender hardware acceleration in a driver just once, each driver can have different implementation, optimized for that particular piece of hardware. The software just use XRender and does not care which hardware it works on.

Without XRender you have to implement hardware-specific hacks in EVERY PROGRAM in the world, or actually that would be every toolkit. That's what Wayland wants you to do. Otherwise your program may be even slower than using a software rendering.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 15, 2013 16:21 UTC (Fri) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> Well, it actually depends on a particular chip but ok, let's say that they ALSO have 2D acceleration.
Nope. Almost all of the embedded chips and most of desktop GPUs don't have any 2D XRender acceleration. At most, they have accelerated compositing.

> Radeon is not the best example. Simple CPU-based software 2D rendering there is often faster than doing that through driver/hardware.
Yup. Especially since X server is single-threaded and complicated XRender scenes can easily swamp it.

> Ehm. Glamour is an option. And it's not the best option.
For new Radeons - it's the only one. They simply don't have any 2D acceleration.

> XRender, as a protocol, has great support for gradients, line drawing and text rendering.
No it doesn't.

> Without XRender you have to implement hardware-specific hacks in EVERY PROGRAM in the world, or actually that would be every toolkit. That's what Wayland wants you to do. Otherwise your program may be even slower than using a software rendering.
And with XRender you have to pray and make burnt offerings to videocard gods to make sure that your application even runs.

Applications can use software rendering which is almost always faster than XRender, especially with multi-threaded rasterizers. And in future - just stick to EGL or OpenGL3 - they provide guaranteed hardware acceleration.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 16, 2013 7:52 UTC (Sat) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Nope. Almost all of the embedded chips and most of desktop GPUs don't have any 2D XRender acceleration. At most, they have accelerated compositing. At most, they have accelerated compositing.

They have 2D XRender acceleration if they can be used to accelerate XRender drawing compared to CPU-based software rendering.

...

Ok. I can see that you don't know things you talk about. But I don't understand what are you really trying to say any more. This has nothing to do about Mir protocol, Wayland protocol, X11 protocol, their problems or limitations. Then what's this all about? Are you trolling? Or do you just like talking to me? ;-)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 16, 2013 9:21 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> They have 2D XRender acceleration if they can be used to accelerate XRender drawing compared to CPU-based software rendering.
No. They. Don't.

New Radeons do not even HAVE specialized 2D units. Ditto for ALL embedded cards (from Poulsbo to Mali and Reno) - they sometimes have accelerated overlays, but never 2D drawing acceleration.

Besides, you've missed the part about threading - XRender in X.org works in a single thread for ALL clients. Do you think it's a good design?

> Ok. I can see that you don't know things you talk about. But I don't understand what are you really trying to say any more. This has nothing to do about Mir protocol, Wayland protocol, X11 protocol, their problems or limitations. Then what's this all about? Are you trolling? Or do you just like talking to me? ;-)
I think that X should be killed with fire as soon as possible. It was THE greatest stumbling block for Linux users for a long, long time (XF86Config - ugh).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 17, 2013 9:51 UTC (Sun) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

>> They have 2D XRender acceleration if they can be used to accelerate XRender drawing compared to CPU-based software rendering.

That was supposed to be a definition of "acceleration".

> No. They. Don't.

Obviously you have your own understanding of the word "acceleration" too. Can you explain what would you call "accelerated xrender" then?

> Besides, you've missed the part about threading - XRender in X.org works in a single thread for ALL clients. Do you think it's a good design?

First, as long as you have a single videoadapter having a single thread to work with it is perfectly fine. Second, as long as Xorg uses less than 100% CPU, yes, single-threading is the best design, because it makes X-server faster. Third, that's not a limitation of X11 protocol, you know? And finally, Wayland/Weston is also single-threaded.

> I think that X should be killed with fire as soon as possible. It was THE greatest stumbling block for Linux users for a long, long time (XF86Config - ugh).

Yeah, I understand that, but I don't understand your reasons. If the problem was in Xorg bugs then the best option would be to fix Xorg or write another implementation of X11 protocol (there're many of them). Since you prefer Wayland instead there should be some fundamental limitation of the X11 protocol itself that can't be fixed by different implementation.

You should be saying where Wayland is better, instead you're mainly saying what you don't like (or rather don't know) about X. Every time you said that Wayland has some feature while X has not, it appeared that X actually has it but you didn't knew that. Or worse, that X has it, while Wayland has not or it's useless there. The rest of your reasons were just childish excuses like: "Look, at the Wayland code! 'd->gbm'. Do you think that calling variable 'd' is a good design? Wayland should be killed with fire!"

If all your reasons were wrong then why do you still hate X? Have one of X devs stepped on your foot?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 17, 2013 10:15 UTC (Sun) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> Obviously you have your own understanding of the word "acceleration" too. Can you explain what would you call "accelerated xrender" then?
Something that doesn't really exist. Modern videocards don't have any intrinsic way to accelerate drawing of thick lines (especially with antialiasing), so X-server has to do it in software. Of course, thick lines and everything else can be emulated in shaders but as far as I know, no driver in X.org does this.

> First, as long as you have a single videoadapter having a single thread to work with it is perfectly fine. Second, as long as Xorg uses less than 100% CPU, yes, single-threading is the best design, because it makes X-server faster.
X.org can use 100% of CPU in graphics-intensive apps.

>Third, that's not a limitation of X11 protocol, you know?
It is. There is exactly ONE implementation of X protocol with XRender extension.

>And finally, Wayland/Weston is also single-threaded.
Which is totally fine, because Wayland/Weston do not care about client rendering (unlike X). Moreover, Wayland and Weston have thought-out architecture, so clients can happily render the next frame while Wayland is processing the request to render the current frame.

>The rest of your reasons were just childish excuses like:
If you haven't noticed, I've just used your logic for these reasons.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 17, 2013 13:24 UTC (Sun) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

>> Can you explain what would you call "accelerated xrender" then?

> Something that doesn't really exist. Modern videocards don't have any intrinsic way to accelerate drawing of thick lines (especially with antialiasing), so X-server has to do it in software. Of course, thick lines and everything else can be emulated in shaders but as far as I know, no driver in X.org does this.

Many (most?) Xorg drivers use shaders. And that's not a problem of X11 protocol, not even Xorg problem, that's a problem of good drivers implementation. Drivers are the best place to implement hardware-specific optimisations. It's much better than having every software to carry all the possible hacks for all video adapters in the world. Unfortunately you don't have such option in Wayland.

> X.org can use 100% of CPU in graphics-intensive apps.

Sure. If it was multithreaded it could use 1600% CPU. But in real world it does not. So single-threaded design is better here. "Do not add new functionality unless you know of some real application that will require it."

> It is. There is exactly ONE implementation of X protocol with XRender extension.

Really? Xfree86, Xorg, Kdrive, Xwin32, there're even VNC servers supporting it.

> clients can happily render the next frame while Wayland is processing the request to render the current frame.

You can use Xorg this way too. The difference is that you CAN do that on Xorg, but you HAVE TO do that on Wayland.

> If you haven't noticed, I've just used your logic for these reasons.

I haven't. My logic is simple: Wayland adds more work to people, lacks lots of features, but fixes no X11 problems and nobody wins from Wayland.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 17, 2013 18:09 UTC (Sun) by jrn (subscriber, #64214) [Link]

> nobody wins from Wayland

Clearly its developers win, or they wouldn't be developing it. ;-) It looks like a neat project and I am happy to see it move forward.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 10:25 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

The project could do with better defenders than Cyberax though. He doesn't know what he's talking about and his debating strategy appears to consist mostly of goalpost-shifting.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 11:40 UTC (Mon) by anselm (subscriber, #2796) [Link]

Possibly the people who are really knowledgeable about X11 and Wayland and the state and roadmaps of the respective projects have more important things to do with their time than to engage into pointless back-and-forth on random web sites. It's not as if Serge was a much better debater than Cyberax, either.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 21:43 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

True enough! I'm not saying that choosing to do actual development rather than comment wars isn't a totally sensible decision :)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 12:10 UTC (Mon) by PaXTeam (guest, #24616) [Link]

> [...]his debating strategy appears to consist mostly of goalpost-shifting.

this coming from you is more than ironic ;). pot meet kettle!

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 21:44 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

I don't shift goalposts intentionally. I just have a crap memory for these conversations and don't check past posts often enough. :)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 10:24 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Something that doesn't really exist. Modern videocards don't have any intrinsic way to accelerate drawing of thick lines (especially with antialiasing), so X-server has to do it in software. Of course, thick lines and everything else can be emulated in shaders but as far as I know, no driver in X.org does this.
There's a reason for that. It's pointless. Almost no applications draw thick lines anymore, just as almost no applications use the ROPpery in the core protocol.

TBH, while it would be nice for my BARTS Radeon card here to have XRender acceleration as good as my old Matrox had, it's also pointless: the card is so fast that except in its lowest-power mode a full-screen refresh of two 1680x1050 monitors filled with tiny text composited onto a bitmap backdrop is instantaneous (I clocked it at 35fps in medium-performance mode, 60fps in high). Visible latencies happen only if the glyph cache fills up -- which hardly ever happens these days, I notice it once every few months -- and that's a latency imposed by the sloth of moving data into the GPU, which can hardly be fixed by ditching XRender's glyph caching and moving even more data across the bus.

You appear to be saying that XRender should be killed with fire because it can't be accelerated, even though I would require a prosthetic visual cortex to see the results of any such acceleration, and even though the only thing you've recommended replacing it with would exacerbate the only thing left in XRender that ever causes visible delays in my experience. Thanks, but no thanks.

>Third, that's not a limitation of X11 protocol, you know?

It is. There is exactly ONE implementation of X protocol with XRender extension.

You clearly didn't understand Serge's point. The protocol does not mandate lack of acceleration: indeed, in the past, at least one driver has implemented it. So the current ONE implementation does not make it impossible to accelerate XRender. (In fact, one of the problems with XRender is that it needs too much support code inside the drivers. If there was "ONE implementation" this would actually be better than what we have now.)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 22:06 UTC (Mon) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

> So the current ONE implementation does not make it impossible to accelerate XRender.

No, but it's the exception that proves the rule, that XRender isn't a good fit for how GPUs work.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 10:16 UTC (Mon) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

First, as long as you have a single videoadapter having a single thread to work with it is perfectly fine. Second, as long as Xorg uses less than 100% CPU, yes, single-threading is the best design, because it makes X-server faster.
This is guaranteed true only if the GPU is also single-threaded and the X server does nothing but talk to it: but the GPU is massively parallel, and the X server does a lot of things other than talk to it.

However, in practice, locking overhead seems to dominate if you try to parallelize the existing server. (It's been done, in the 1990s. It didn't scale, even then, when the memory hierarchy was less hostile to such things than it is now. There's a reason that even the mouse driver works as it has always worked, via SIGIO in a single thread.)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 16, 2013 8:53 UTC (Sat) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

>> XRender, as a protocol, has great support for gradients, line drawing and text rendering.
> No it doesn't.

This reply is at kindegarden level.. What exactly do you think is missing from XRender to have good support for gradients, line drawing and text rendering?

>And with XRender you have to pray and make burnt offerings to videocard gods to make sure that your application even runs.
>And in future - just stick to EGL or OpenGL3 - they provide guaranteed hardware acceleration.

If you've made the correct "burn of offerings" so that your videocard support well the correct fooGL, how is that different from XRender situation?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 16, 2013 9:17 UTC (Sat) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> This reply is at kindegarden level.. What exactly do you think is missing from XRender to have good support for gradients, line drawing and text rendering?
Elliptical gradients, font compositing with gamma-correction, seamless polygon joining, rotated fonts and images, pixel-perfect matching, etc.

That's a list from a guy who makes a Flash renderer, btw.

> If you've made the correct "burn of offerings" so that your videocard support well the correct fooGL, how is that different from XRender situation?
---><----
That's the amount of care videocard manufacturers now devote to XRender support. I.e. none at all - nobody needs this shit on phones or new computers (Windows doesn't care about 2D accel as well).

However, good OpenGL/EGL compatibility is necessary, because basically all videocard users need it. So manufacturers have incentives to make something that at least works some of the time.

Have you noticed that developers (OEM's and reverse engineering guys) don't even bother to create X 2D drivers for chips like Mali or Reno?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 17, 2013 10:31 UTC (Sun) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Elliptical gradients, font compositing with gamma-correction, seamless polygon joining, rotated fonts and images, pixel-perfect matching, etc.

These are supported in XRender. But even if they were not, it's always possible to extend it. For example older XRender version (more than 10 years ago) have not supported gradinets, gradients were added later.

But that's not important because Wayland has nothing like XRender, so in that part its worse than Xorg anyway.

> However, good OpenGL/EGL compatibility is necessary, because basically all videocard users need it.

You mix hardware and drivers support. Do you know why SNA works faster than EXA on the same hardware?

XRender is better, because it can be heavily optimized in drivers for the particular adapter. XRender is also better for users, because they don't have to manually check and implement all the GL quirks. Do you think that OpenGL/ES is just either supported or not? Some feature that you have used to on your video adapter can be missing on another one. Check "OpenGL extensions" section in `glxinfo` output. For XRender that can be done once in drivers, without it, i.e. in Wayland, you have to do that in all your programs yourself.

Wayland makes things easier for wayland developers, while X makes things easier for the rest of developers. Feel the difference. :)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 18, 2013 0:17 UTC (Mon) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> These are supported in XRender. But even if they were not, it's always possible to extend it. For example older XRender version (more than 10 years ago) have not supported gradinets, gradients were added later.
Hah. It's funny that in one paragraph you talk about how optional extensions are great and then in the next paragraph you blame OpenGL for optional extensions.

> But that's not important because Wayland has nothing like XRender, so in that part its worse than Xorg anyway.
Nope. Wayland simply doesn't need it.

> You mix hardware and drivers support.
No I don't. An uber-great architecture is useless if there's no hardware for it.

> Do you know why SNA works faster than EXA on the same hardware?
SNA does not work anywhere except for i965 hardware. So it's kinda irrelevant. Besides, it's only used to implement XRender.

>Do you think that OpenGL/ES is just either supported or not?
Now? Pretty much yes.

>Some feature that you have used to on your video adapter can be missing on another one.
That used to be true 5 years ago. Now OpenGL standards mandate the required extension sets, so one can just check for the implemented OpenGL/EGL level and use functionality from that set.

BTW, how can I check that a certain feature of XRender is accelerated? For example, vmware svga driver supports accelerated compositing but not trapezeoid rendering.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 20, 2013 15:00 UTC (Wed) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> It's funny that in one paragraph you talk about how optional extensions are great and then in the next paragraph you blame OpenGL for optional extensions.

I'm not blaming OpenGL, I'm just telling that it's not easier to use than XRender.

> SNA does not work anywhere except for i965 hardware. So it's kinda irrelevant. Besides, it's only used to implement XRender.

You're wrong here. Check http://www.x.org/wiki/IntelGraphicsDriver at least. But I wasn't asking where it works, I was asking why it works faster on the same hardware. Hint: because it uses hardware-specific optimisations for 2D rendering, impossible outside of the driver, impossible in Wayland.

> Nope. Wayland simply doesn't need it.

That universal excuse "I don't need it"... Wayland doesn't need anything. It just makes optimised 2D interface impossible, and it does not care that almost everything in modern interface is 2D.

> That used to be true 5 years ago. Now OpenGL standards mandate the required extension sets

And new extensions appear... So the problem is still there.

> BTW, how can I check that a certain feature of XRender is accelerated?

You don't need to check that. That's the beauty of XRender. You only need to check that it's supported. And it is supported for 10+ years.

Acceleration is up to the driver. To make sure if it's really accelerated you have to benchmark it. That applies to both GL and XRender. Because on some drivers/hardware some "accelerated" features actually work slower than software rendering.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 20, 2013 15:07 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> I'm not blaming OpenGL, I'm just telling that it's not easier to use than XRender.
Is it? OpenGL now has very nice wrappers that can abstract gritty details.

> You're wrong here. Check http://www.x.org/wiki/IntelGraphicsDriver at least. But I wasn't asking where it works, I was asking why it works faster on the same hardware. Hint: because it uses hardware-specific optimisations for 2D rendering, impossible outside of the driver, impossible in Wayland.
That's incorrect. You can use whatever rendering API you want, the only requirement is that you use a surface that can be composited by Wayland.

Nobody stops you from using driver-specific rendering methods.

I've actually checked the SNA source code and it looks like it's using the regular GEM and command submission system of the kernel driver. So you definitely can use something like it for 2D rendering with Wayland. You probably can even use the current SNA with Wayland.

>That universal excuse "I don't need it"... Wayland doesn't need anything. It just makes optimised 2D interface impossible, and it does not care that almost everything in modern interface is 2D.
Incorrect on both counts.

> You don't need to check that. That's the beauty of XRender. You only need to check that it's supported. And it is supported for 10+ years.
Yeah, sure. That's why many XRender-based apps are about as fast as molasses.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 20, 2013 16:51 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

> You're wrong here. Check http://www.x.org/wiki/IntelGraphicsDriver at least. But I wasn't asking where it works, I was asking why it works faster on the same hardware. Hint: because it uses hardware-specific optimisations for 2D rendering, impossible outside of the driver, impossible in Wayland.
Actually, running SNA on _Wayland_ is not only possible, but it works RIGHT NOW.

Yes, you can run an X server with SNA acceleration _inside_ Wayland with full acceleration - http://wayland.freedesktop.org/xserver.html

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 20, 2013 17:14 UTC (Wed) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

One point Cyberax :-)

I wonder why Serge is so hell bent in finding imaginary drawbacks of Wayland even though it's not difficult to find real "drawbacks" aka trade-off in Wayland.
The latest one I've read in Wayland mailing list: some weird screen have different subpixel ordering depending on the pixel position(!!), so as Wayland clients doesn't know where their window are going to be displayed, they cannot do subpixel aware rendering on these screen..

I hope that these kind of screen are rare, bleah.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 20, 2013 17:23 UTC (Wed) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

To be complete: someone has a plan to add an extension fix this, so this may change, sorry Serge ;-)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 20, 2013 18:39 UTC (Wed) by chris.wilson (subscriber, #42619) [Link]

> Yes, you can run an X server with SNA acceleration _inside_ Wayland with full acceleration - http://wayland.freedesktop.org/xserver.html

Claiming that will be the same speed is stretching the truth by about a factor of 2.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 20, 2013 18:48 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Well, yes. There's an additional roundtrip (from the X Server to the Wayland compositor). However, there are no reasons why it's not possible to do completely locally (perhaps using a better API like OpenVG).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 15:06 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> people complaining about remote desktop support in wayland

I'm not really sure why people always talk about "network transparency" near wayland. I can understand that http://winswitch.org/ idea is fun. But I don't think that many people really depend on it being based on X11 rather than VNC/RDP/NX/SPICE/etc. Anyway, it can be implemented in wayland. Wayland compositor will have to include its own VNC-like server, but it's possible.

Wayland has another fundamental problem: to keep the protocol small it tends to implement everything in a single compositor application. No separate window managers, no custom dockbars, no tools to manage multiple monitors (xrandr), and obviously no small useful tools like x2x/xdotool/xautomation. Regular applications are only allowed to draw something or listen for input. Need something else — write/patch the compositor.

> As a developer who's worked on things that have to deal with X directly like taskbars and screenshot tools all I can say is bring on wayland! Wayland is immature right now, but the design is what we need.

Wayland does not support taskbars and has some troubles with screenshots by design. How are you going to port your tools to wayland? ;)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 17:12 UTC (Thu) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

> Wayland has another fundamental problem: to keep the protocol small it tends to implement everything in a single compositor application. No separate window managers, no custom dockbars, no tools to manage multiple monitors (xrandr), and obviously no small useful tools like x2x/xdotool/xautomation. Regular applications are only allowed to draw something or listen for input. Need something else — write/patch the compositor.

That's not different than today, the X window managers have to know all about multiple monitors, dockbars, etc. and a compositor has to receive all the window contents, compose them together then provide a full screen bitmap for final display which is also not substantially changing. I don't know where you get the idea that there won't be window managers in Wayland, window managers (plural) are the future of Wayland, they are just able to talk more directly with the graphics hardware for final output, since they are doing all of the work today anyway.

I have no idea what 'wayland' protocol you are talking about since it seems to have no relation to the actual Wayland project. You might be interested in watching some of the Wayland presentations at LCA to learn more info.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 17:48 UTC (Thu) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

> Wayland has another fundamental problem: to keep the protocol small it tends to implement everything in a single compositor application.

Again, I think this needs debunking. For the desktop shell, the task launcher/clock/etc, screensaver/lock, screenshooter, etc, are all separate clients. They use private protocols which aren't available to other apps, but they are not one application.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 16, 2013 11:31 UTC (Sat) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Again, I think this needs debunking. For the desktop shell, the task launcher/clock/etc, screensaver/lock, screenshooter, etc, are all separate clients. They use private protocols which aren't available to other apps, but they are not one application.

I guess I misunderstand something. Let's assume that I have just built and installed current (or stable?) version of Weston. Can I write a dockbar for that Weston, without rebuilding or patching it? Or at least something like fspanel? Can I write a Dwm-style tiling manager without rebuilding Weston? How?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 16, 2013 11:33 UTC (Sat) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

Yes, by writing a shell plugin. With the stable plugin ABI.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 16, 2013 12:31 UTC (Sat) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Yes, by writing a shell plugin. With the stable plugin ABI.

Looking through sources. Can't find a way to get list of all windows with their icons, titles and types (to know, what to show).

By the way, the stable plugin ABI is the one in weston/protocol/*.xml?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 11, 2013 14:22 UTC (Mon) by runeks (guest, #74789) [Link]

The protocol bits required to do this have recently been submitted by Scott Moreau to the mailing list.

http://www.mail-archive.com/wayland-devel@lists.freedeskt...

Wayland is still very much in development, so for some things you will have to write additional protocol (which really is very easy), which we start with keeping internal to Weston. Then we will have to evaluate further down the line, whether we should include this functionality in the core protocol.

Please come join us :)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 12, 2013 22:07 UTC (Tue) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> The protocol bits required to do this have recently been submitted by Scott Moreau to the mailing list.

After 5 years of development somebody have suggested the functionality that everyone in the world use every day, only after I yelled about that like crazy in comments. :-)

And by the way, those patches are changing the core wayland protocol and incompatible with all (few) existing compositors.

>>> Yes, by writing a shell plugin. With the stable plugin ABI.

> Wayland is still very much in development

So is it stable or very much in development? ;-)

Xorg is also in development, but it does not break compatibility and is not missing so obvious features.

> Please come join us :)

I just don't understand what's the point. (If) after 10-20 more years Wayland implement all the features, write all the standards of modern Xorg, will be as large as Xorg and will finally become usable. By that time people could be using special 6D-"displays" wired directly to the brain, and most of the Wayland protocol will be almost unused, as it is now for X11. What would you do then? Declare Wayland obsoleted and start working on another replacement from scratch again?

Wayland has lots of missing features. Its design makes writing dockbars impossible and window managers very hard (to create WM you have to either fork Weston or constantly support your WM within it). It requires heavy modifications to all the toolkits just in order to make things for Wayland look not worse then for Xorg. And all this for what sake?

Users will loose many X11-specific tools that were working before. Toolkit developers will have to do a lot of additional coding. Commercial software development companies will stop developing for Linux while "Linux community is deciding what it's going to use". That will throw linux 10-20 years back in commercial support. And who's going to win from that all? Is it just NIH for fun? Or is that some evil Microsoft plan of destroying Linux from within? ;-)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Mar 16, 2013 8:47 UTC (Sat) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

> I just don't understand what's the point.

Given that Wayland has support from X developers, maybe you should ask them?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 20:09 UTC (Thu) by richmoore (guest, #53133) [Link]

>> No separate window managers

In KDE we will solve that by having our own compositor KWin, which also manages the windows.

>> As a developer who's worked on things that have to deal with X directly
>> like taskbars and screenshot tools all I can say is bring on wayland!
>> Wayland is immature right now, but the design is what we need.

> Wayland does not support taskbars and has some troubles with screenshots
> by design. How are you going to port your tools to wayland? ;)

Taskbars I haven't looked at yet, but it'll probably be a case of agreeing a protocol with kwin (and hopefully other compositors). For screenshots there's already a basic interface in weston that provides the basics, but it will need extending to cover the more complex facilities. As I said, it's a bit immature at the moment. The facilities required are actually pretty simple, so I don't see it being a problem.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 20:36 UTC (Wed) by arekm (subscriber, #4846) [Link]

Is there any compatibility with current X11 apps or every app needs to have wayland support?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 20:42 UTC (Wed) by richmoore (guest, #53133) [Link]

Yes, you can simply run an X server that talks wayland. That's very easy.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 20:59 UTC (Wed) by arekm (subscriber, #4846) [Link]

Including all xserver features, DRI2, accelerations and such?

Will it features/performance be on par with xserver without wayland?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 21:18 UTC (Wed) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

I hope not... otherwise Wayland would be an X11 crutch that discouraged people from porting to Wayland proper.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 21:26 UTC (Wed) by Cyberax (✭ supporter ✭, #52523) [Link]

Yep. And also video acceleration, 3D, OpenGL and so on.

Basically, X server just gets a "front buffer" that is an OpenGL texture. It then can use whatever it wants to draw on it and Wayland just pushes it to the actual screen.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 22:28 UTC (Wed) by iabervon (subscriber, #722) [Link]

It doesn't include *every* xserver feature, but it includes every feature that can be used by normal clients. For example, you can't run a window manager that talks to a rootless Wayland-client X server and have it do much of anything. Wayland doesn't let arbitrary clients effectively lock the screen, so you can't stick with xscreensaver.

DRI2 and accelerations bypass the X server in the first place, so it doesn't matter whether the X server is a Wayland client or not for them.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 20:26 UTC (Thu) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Is there any compatibility with current X11 apps or every app needs to have wayland support?

Technically Wayland is totally different from X11. No compatibility. To get the compatibility you have to run them both: either start X-server inside Wayland or start Wayland server inside X.Org, both ways work, kind of.

In the long run Wayland is supposed to completely replace X.Org, meaning, every app would need wayland support, either explicit, or in toolkit it's based on.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 20:51 UTC (Thu) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

Wayland is, in many fundamental ways, similar to modern X because it is developed by X.org developers, if anything it's X12 in all but name. X.org can output to Wayland just like it was another graphics device so has as high level of compatibility since you will be running X for apps which depend on it for the foreseeable future.

No one is even talking about removing X support, except for you.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:53 UTC (Fri) by dgm (subscriber, #49227) [Link]

> if anything it's X12 in all but name

I would rather say that, if there's ever a X12, it will run _on top_ of Wayland. And as a consequence, it's going to be much, much simpler (and more reliable).

But that will only happen if the people that want X features organize and start to walk instead of talking. It's almost time.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 18:43 UTC (Fri) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> you will be running X for apps which depend on it for the foreseeable future. No one is even talking about removing X support, except for you.

Ok. I see 3 possible future ways for wayland:

1. Wayland runs as X.Org client. Meaning, X.org talks to the hardware, and Wayland talks to X.Org. Nothing changed, window managers work as usual, everybody is happy, we just got one more layer on top of X11.

2. X.Org is running as Wayland client. Meaning, Wayland talks to hardware, X.Org talks to Wayland, and all X11 apps run through such X11-to-Wayland proxy.

3. Wayland is aiming to replace X.Org. Meaning, there would be a compatibility proxy for some time, but developers would be aggressively encouraged to switch to wayland.

Since Wayland is advertised as a better X.Org, I was thinking that #3 is the case. If it's not, if you're talking about #1, you developed Wayland, which is "better than X.Org", but you're still relying on X.Org and not going to replace it, then... what have you made Wayland for?

So, I guess you mean #2. Obviously, window managers, dock-bars, decorators, and other similar stuff won't work in that mode. So every window manager in the world would have to either (a) implement its own wayland compositor (b) fork and hack weston, (c) commit its code to weston as a plugin and merge with it, or (d) cease to exist.

It takes a lot of effort to support such a monster as wayland compositor. So only big players like Gnome and KDE will stay alive. Others will die. Compiz author had already said that he sees no reason to develop compiz any more.

Under X11, if somebody wants to write a cool dockbar he can just write it. He don't have to patch Gnome/KDE/X.Org. And he can use it anywhere, in Gnome, KDE or OpenBox. If he wants to write a WM he's free to do it (IIRC, it takes ~50 lines of code for a basic WM). And then he could use it anywhere, he could use KDE Plasma or XFCE desktop with his own WM and it would work.

Under Wayland one can't just write a dockbar. He must integrate it with some compositor. So he either forks weston just to write a dockbar (obviously, nobody would do that), or he must submit patches to the compositor. And even if his patches were accepted by e.g. kwin, his dockbar will work under kwin only, but not under weston.

X.Org is a pearl of Linux world. It's extremely flexible, whatever you want you can do that. You like gnome panel, but don't like metacity — you can use OpenBox+gnome-panel. If you want to switch to XFCE, but you are used to kwin features — you can use kwin in XFCE. You like tiling — there're plenty of options for you, all working in X.Org. At the same time X.Org is extremely stable and backward compatible. You can use programs written 10+ years ago. People usually don't even talk about X.Org, they talk about Gnome/KDE/etc, X.Org just works.

Wayland bring fragmentation to Linux. Under wayland almost everything is compositor-specific. Since it's really hard to make a good compositor, there's going to be just a few of them, and soft written for one compositor, won't work under another one.

Are you still saying that there will be X11 support in wayland? And what is it going to be used for?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 19:49 UTC (Fri) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Wayland bring fragmentation to Linux. Under wayland almost everything is compositor-specific. Since it's really hard to make a good compositor, there's going to be just a few of them, and soft written for one compositor, won't work under another one.

Well, there's still a ray of light in a world of Wayland.

Since there's going to be just a few compositors out there there's a chance that their developer will start talking to each other and create a common standard. It already took 5 years to develop wayland/weston. It will probably take 10 more years for "simple wayland protocol" to turn into "simple core wayland protocol and compositor extensions". Of course technology will change by that time, older extensions will get deprecated and replaced by new ones. And finally after all those years Wayland will turn into what X11 is now (with Weston in place of X.Org).

Unfortunately most probably by that time nobody will be using it. Wayland is not going to be as stable as X.Org, and real world users like everything stable and working as expected. Of course they like new features, but they prefer stability. After some time most people get tired of fighting, fighting with bugs, crashes, unexpectedly disappeared windows or mysteriously closing programs.

When KDE4 was released people started switching to Gnome/XFCE not because it was bad, it was great, it had many new features that were not possible before. They left KDE because it was unstable and because previously working things, that everybody were used to, got broken. Same happened to Gnome3, it looked great, but it was missing all the features people got used to. Even now users go from Ubuntu to Win/Mac just because once again their system became unusable after upgrade. Pushing Wayland to desktop will definitely reduce number of linux users. Some fanatics or really smart people will stay, but many users will go. Together with users developers will start leaving to, since they have nobody to develop software for.

The main question is: why spending 10 years for making Wayland as good as X11, if we already have X11 today?

PS: I really wish I was wrong and there's another bright wayland future

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 22:34 UTC (Fri) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

> And finally after all those years Wayland will turn into what X11 is now

I doubt that, the developers of the Wayland protocol and Weston and other window managers have a much better idea of what the state of the art of graphics looks like and are likely to be in the future vs. the original X11 developers in the 1980s. I don't expect things to ever be as complicated or fundamentally broken as the X11 protocol, we just know more about designing this kind of thing now.

> Wayland is not going to be as stable as X.Org

I call BS. It's using the same underlying graphics infrastructure as X11 is using but with less broken behavior in the middle so it should be much more stable, with less surprises, than Xorg can be. It's not going to be worse, it can only get better.

> The main question is: why spending 10 years for making Wayland as good as X11, if we already have X11 today?

You think X11 is good, which puts you at odds with the people who work directly with X11. We don't just "have" X11 today, what we have is an on-going, heroic effort to keep it working and support modern devices, which is failing.

> PS: I really wish I was wrong and there's another bright wayland future

No argument there 8-)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 4:40 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

> PS: I really wish I was wrong and there's another bright wayland future

No argument there 8-)
-------------------------------

Tech unaware but savvy user talking (lol)

Does it make any app look better ? NO (depends on lot of things)

Does it makes any app with more features ? NO

it doesn't matter a bit at all then...

And that is the truth, give 10 users with 10 computers with very identical "themes" with identical "apps", and they will not say a word if it Wayland or X or care AT ALL...

Wayland is better, it may be but depends a lot on how much and how X could evolve... in the end it could be almost a perfect match...

But if it is already settled, if Wayland is to go full force, then i advocate the end of Xorg, CLOSE THE DOORS... who is paying their bills BTW ? ... Collabora ?... what the hell for ?... to keep an illusion for donkeys consumption ?... and who is paying Collabora and why BTW !?

**(THIS ARE THE QUESTIONS)**

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 6:46 UTC (Thu) by viro (subscriber, #7872) [Link]

[snip a load of incoherent noise]
> **(THIS ARE THE QUESTIONS)**

Never would've guessed by the question marks alone - not without all-caps from a pretentious wankstain. Good thing that you've clarified that...

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 23:46 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

Sorry if the aesthetics bother you so much... or is the truth that hurts ?

Nevertheless, no matter who *pretends* to have known or guessed, i never saw those questions posed... who is it really? ... why is it really? ... who **benefits** the most, or what is the real agenda ?

The LCA X thread provides also a lot of clarifications.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 22, 2013 0:08 UTC (Fri) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

Lay down the pipe, son.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 22:24 UTC (Fri) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

TL;DR version: you are incorrect on nearly every claim you make.

> 2. X.Org is running as Wayland client. Meaning, Wayland talks to hardware, X.Org talks to Wayland, and all X11 apps run through such X11-to-Wayland proxy.

Yes. X11 apps run on an X11 server with Wayland being the backing graphics output and key/mouse input.

> It takes a lot of effort to support such a monster as wayland compositor. So only big players like Gnome and KDE will stay alive. Others will die.

That seems unlikely. Wayland should be easier to make a window manager/compositor for than X11 because it has a sane design. I expect there to continue to be a robust assortment of Wayland compositors with various behaviors, some ported from X11 window managers, some based on Weston. It would make sense to build from the reference Weston implementation rather than writing your own from scratch.

> Under X11, if somebody wants to write a cool dockbar he can just write it. He don't have to patch Gnome/KDE/X.Org. And he can use it anywhere, in Gnome, KDE or OpenBox

That's not really true, X11 doesn't have any support for dockbars and the like, what there is are standards hammered out over the years by the window manager makers for dockbars and other apps to signal what they expect so that the window manager knows where to put them, not to put borders on them, etc. So they did have to "patch" gnome/kde/xorg to make this work, and continue to make new standards at freedesktop.org for new use cases, you can't take that effort for granted and claim that Wayland would be any different.

> If he wants to write a WM he's free to do it (IIRC, it takes ~50 lines of code for a basic WM)

I call BS, a window manager which supports all the relevant standards you just talked about previously takes far far far more than 50 LoC and has to spend a huge amount of effort to work around unfixable bugs and legacy behaviors because of X11. Nothing is straightforward or easy at this level. All of the logic for how your desktop work is in the window manager.

> Under Wayland one can't just write a dockbar. He must integrate it with some compositor.

That's not any different than X11 for the reasons I mentioned before

> And even if his patches were accepted by e.g. kwin, his dockbar will work under kwin only, but not under weston.

I would expect new versions of the relevant standards that these window managers, such as kwin, already support. It may be even easier than that, much of the expected behavior may just work with very little modification when porting existing desktops to Wayland. I wouldn't expect the major window manager/compositors to radically change their behavior when moving to Wayland, just to spite each other or something.

> X.Org is a pearl of Linux world. It's extremely flexible, whatever you want you can do that.
...
> X.Org just works.

Not really, the people who maintain that fiction for you have very strongly disagreed, which is why they have created Wayland.

> Are you still saying that there will be X11 support in wayland? And what is it going to be used for?

Yes, of course. X11 will continue to work much the same way it does now into the distant future to support all those 10+ year old applications you may want to run.

> Wayland bring fragmentation to Linux. Under wayland almost everything is compositor-specific. Since it's really hard to make a good compositor, there's going to be just a few of them, and soft written for one compositor, won't work under another one.

Not really true on any point. This will not be any different than today, compatibility is not a function of X11 vs. Wayland but of the window manager/compositor makers like KDE/GNOME/XFCE/Openbox/etc. in having standards. I wouldn't expect anything substantial to change on this front.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 16, 2013 2:11 UTC (Sat) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Wayland should be easier to make a window manager/compositor for than X11 because it has a sane design.

Hm... Modern cars are very complex, so many buttons, so many parts, they take too much space, require too much fuel, and they were designed ages ago! There's a fundamental flaw: they have 4 wheels. That's too much, people don't need so many wheels. Let's fix that! I present you... unicycle. It's simple, easy to use, takes little space, has just a few parts, easy to support. It has sane design.

Of course that's sarcasm. But still, Wayland design is simple, that does not make it sane. For example client side decorations make sane tiling (and many other things) impossible.

> I expect there to continue to be a robust assortment of Wayland compositors with various behaviors, some ported from X11 window managers, some based on Weston. It would make sense to build from the reference Weston implementation rather than writing your own from scratch.

Forking and patching Weston is not that simple. But even if people start forking Weston to implement dockbars, WMs, etc. you end up choosing between Wayland compositors with nice WM, nice dockbars, nice theming support OR nice workspaces. And you'll have to choose only one of them. Do you call that sane design?

> That's not really true, X11 doesn't have any support for dockbars and the like

X11 does have that support (EWMH). By "support" I mean ability to implement it without having to patch X.Org or write protocol extensions. X11 is so good that it allows me to do that.

> standards hammered out over the years by the window manager makers for dockbars and other apps

That's what I was talking about! Yes, if I was inventing dockbar, I would have to write a standard for that. But it's already done, ~20 years ago. And now Wayland makes everybody to reinvent the wheels, spend 10 more years to write all those standards again. From scratch. But use extensions, outside of Wayland. Because core Wayland protocol does not allow that by design.

> a window manager which supports all the relevant standards you just talked about previously takes far far far more than 50 LoC

I just tried TinyWM (which is ~50 lines) and it works. :) Well, I had to unbind Alt+F1 to make it work. As for some actually useful WMs, there's DWM. Yes, it's about 40 times larger than TinyWM, but it's 20 times smaller than Weston and has many features that Weston does not.

> I would expect new versions of the relevant standards that these window managers, such as kwin, already support.

That's it! Wayland is useless as it is now. It's just a toy, like TinyWM. To make it useful you NEED all those standards. After ~10 more years new compositor-related standards will appear, and "simple wayland protocol" will slowly turn into "core wayland protocol + extensions + standards". But hey, X11 is "core protocol + extensions + standards". Why breaking everything and inventing another X11 if we already have X11?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 16, 2013 3:58 UTC (Sat) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

You make it seem like all the work on window manager standards will have to not only be reimplementing from scratch but reinvented, like all of the developers will develop some kind of selective amnesia

I'm not sure what more can be said, others can decide for themselves whether you've addressed my points or I've addressed yours and whose version of reality is most likely to be predictive and useful

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 16, 2013 9:50 UTC (Sat) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

I'm not going to go over the same points (like how you don't need to fork Weston because it has a stable plugin ABI) again because we've already been over it and yet you insist on spouting this nonsense. But:

> Why breaking everything and inventing another X11 if we already have X11?

Keep using X, then. It's not going to stop existing, and with all its advantages it sounds like it's going to be much better for you.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 17, 2013 18:44 UTC (Sun) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

X.Org is a pearl of Linux world.

X.Org is "pearl of dying Linux world". Take most popular Linux distribution — X.Org is not there. Take most popular linux laptop on Amazon — X.Org is there but it's not accessible and there are plans to rip it out altogether.

Wayland is a play to try to make something relevant in this brave new world. If you want to continue to use X.Org till X.Org-compatible hardware will go the way of dodo - you are free to do that.

I'm not sure if Wayland will succeed or not, but it's clear that X.Org is failing. It's not yet finished, it still has few years of life in it, but it's failing — and small cosmetic changes will not save it.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 18, 2013 0:29 UTC (Mon) by Serge (guest, #84957) [Link]

> Take most popular Linux distribution — X.Org is not there.

Android became popular because it had just one competitor among high-end devices and no competitors among low-end devices. (And because Google have done good job advertising it)

X.Org have nothing to do with android popularity. Android was initially developed for small screens, single full-screen window, no multiple monitors, it used a simplified graphical system (and now it's not that good on large screens because of that).

> Take most popular linux laptop on Amazon — X.Org is there but it's not accessible and there are plans to rip it out altogether.

The cheapest laptop should be the most popular, isn't it? ;) Or do you think its low price could be caused by X.Org absence?

> X.Org is "pearl of dying Linux world".

Linux is not the most popular desktop OS, that's right. Why? Because it was not among the first! Android came to a semi-empty market and filled it. But desktop Linux came to a market, filled by Apple (a little) and Microsoft. It had to fight for its future, and one of its advantages was X11: desktop workspaces, many DE/WMs to match everybody's taste, multi-monitor support, multi-seat and X-terminals with the network transparency that people like to talk about so much — its features and design were so good that now we have at least basic X11 support everywhere, on Linux, Windows, MacOS...

In those early times when X11 was like modern Wayland, there were about 3 Linux distributions and nobody have even heard about Linux. What do we have now? Most people know about Linux and many of them tried it.

Without X11 there could be no desktop Linux world at all.

Why VNC and not RDP?

Posted Feb 13, 2013 20:58 UTC (Wed) by giggls (subscriber, #48434) [Link]

Reading about VNC beeing fast I sound very strange to me.

Talking about Speed of remote protocols at least from a users perspective on a LAN this has to be in this oder: RDP, remote X11, VNC.

I wonder why VNC seems to way to go rather than RDP which is very fast even over relatively slow links.

Sven

Why VNC and not RDP?

Posted Feb 13, 2013 21:23 UTC (Wed) by dowdle (subscriber, #659) [Link]

He was being all ironical... saying that while VNC is considered slow it is better than X11... which is mostly true. Both work fairly well over a LAN but start doing WAN stuff... and it is a race to the bottom.

The idea behind NoMachine's NX protocol was all about reducing the overhead in X11... and they have been very successful with that with NX 3. For NX 4, where they refactor everything... I saw press releases over 18 months ago saying it was coming out real soon now... and it still looks like it has another 6 months to a year to go... assuming it does complete. They do periodically continue to release beta updates.

Why VNC and not RDP?

Posted Feb 13, 2013 21:45 UTC (Wed) by Fats (subscriber, #14882) [Link]

For me X11 remote on a LAN is superior to all other remote protocols (even when tunelled through ssh, how I use it the most). It is the only protocol that does window based remoting so that a popup for a remote application behaves the same as popup for a local application.
Through for WAN/Internet with higher latency one need NX or something similar.

Why VNC and not RDP?

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:17 UTC (Wed) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

There are massive different levels of performance between VNC implementations. VNC _can_ be very fast, but if you just do a 'apt-get install vncserver' and play around with it for a half a hour you wouldn't get that impression at all.

Why VNC and not RDP?

Posted Feb 17, 2013 6:07 UTC (Sun) by speedster1 (subscriber, #8143) [Link]

> VNC _can_ be very fast, but if you just do a 'apt-get install vncserver' and play around with it for a half a hour you wouldn't get that impression at all.

I've been frustrated at the NX stagmentation, never having seen aforementioned decent VNC performance outside of a LAN. Can you tell us your tricks for getting VNC to have good performance over a WAN? Hm that would make a great LUG meeting topic...

Why VNC and not RDP?

Posted Feb 20, 2013 7:33 UTC (Wed) by speedster1 (subscriber, #8143) [Link]

> VNC _can_ be very fast

One more try, because you left this tantalizing statement without any hints as how to achieve it. I'd like to see this "very fast" VNC over a DSL link, where up to now NX is the only remote technology I've seen that was not painfully slow. Hints on how you achieved souped-up VNC performance, pretty please?

Why VNC and not RDP?

Posted Feb 20, 2013 16:02 UTC (Wed) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

You might want to spend an evening playing with a few different implementations such as tight, real, tiger, etc. they all seem to have different compression techniques, some of which are very good.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 21:35 UTC (Wed) by lonely_bear (subscriber, #2726) [Link]

That situation leaves the X server itself with very little to do. Client applications draw everything locally, and the X server hands the drawing to the window manager to render it. The window manager hands back the rendered screen, and the X server "does what it's told" and puts it on the display.

I think this only apply to composite case, which I do not really found any useful case for my own daily usage. Without composite, the X server does handle quite a lots of things regarding windows drawing, and it is not nothing but a "terrible, terrible, terrible" inter-process communication (IPC) bus.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 13, 2013 23:29 UTC (Wed) by airlied (subscriber, #9104) [Link]

even in the non-composite case, the server isn't doing a huge amount.

Its just doing the window contents copy mostly.

Though I do feel Daniel is being a mis leading, even if apps are rendering offscreen, a lot of them are using X render to do that rendering, so the server is still involved.

(granted X render can be slower than sw).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:55 UTC (Thu) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

They'd be better off using Pixman locally than a mix of local rendering and Render. :)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 0:13 UTC (Thu) by rqosa (subscriber, #24136) [Link]

> the two rendering modes every application uses (SHM and DRI2), do not work over the network anyway

I thought that most toolkits are still using XRender…

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 15:30 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Yeah, quite. And the XRender case is crucial for getting scrolling of large text windows to work efficiently over the network (since you don't have to retransmit a giant buffer every time, just a bunch of glyph positions).

Apparently the only way this will work in Wayland is for every single toolkit to implement its own remoting protocol, probably all with regular compatibility breaks and all handling authentication differently and all with most of the same failures of the X protocol.

This is, apparently, progress. But we can remote the GIMP and stuff that mostly does graphical output of non-glyphs or never wants to scroll them really fast now!

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 16:55 UTC (Thu) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

It seems that for the scrolling window case that there are several techniques which could be employed that would be faster than the degenerate case of repainting the whole buffer every frame such as detecting the motion and only sending changed portions or since "every frame is perfect" you could just throttle the number of frame updates sent by a fast changing window while still being completely responsive and without corrupting the output. This is the same kind of special case as redirecting compressed video streams straight through and decoding on the display side, implementing compression and acceleration techniques that are already known.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 17:57 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Have you ever tried to do interactive scrolling on a window with throttled updates? I have (while debugging Emacs scrolling). It is intolerable, very like driving with a variable lag in the steering.

Scrolling text efficiently is not best solved as a problem in general video compression: we know a lot about the nature of a scrolling window and can come up with very much better examples. (Proof by example: core text X scrolling back in the day, or X scrolling with XRender objects now that glyph cache defragmentation is implemented. It moves so fast that all you can see is a blur. I would consider it a very serious regression if it only updated a few times a second! Perhaps this doesn't matter much for xterms but it certainly matters for text editors. And I spend my whole day in one of those.)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 18:33 UTC (Thu) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

What about capturing the PTY and redirecting it to a local terminal emulator? That should be the most performant, yes?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 17:56 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Hm, yeah, that would work. Feels like a disgusting kludge to have to start all connections locally and ssh out though, which is basically what you're suggesting. And if I want to start something graphical while I'm on the remote system, I'm SOL, which is a strict loss of functionality over today.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 19, 2013 23:38 UTC (Tue) by raven667 (subscriber, #5198) [Link]

I was thinking about this and just did some very informal testing with the VNC implementation that comes with stock Mac OS X Screen Sharing and was able to remote a large terminal running "find /" to my laptop over wireless at home with very acceptable performance. There was at most 100ms of latency from hitting ctrl-c and having the output stop and the output was updating very quickly. Looking at my network stats it hit a peak of 2300 packets per second and 3MB/sec, the network latency between the devices is about 20ms. So what current implementation do seems to be OK at least as far as I'm concerned, at least with the latencies and bandwidth I have available at home 8-).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 18:00 UTC (Thu) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

> probably all with regular compatibility breaks

Awesome, how fun is arguing against strawmen? Definitely one of my favourite pastimes.

You should have a play around with scrolling using the remote Weston prototype: it's actually shockingly performant, even over latency and throughput-limited networks (e.g. a conference in Australia to a host in the UK).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 19:35 UTC (Thu) by drag (subscriber, #31333) [Link]

> And the XRender case is crucial for getting scrolling of large text windows to work efficiently over the network (since you don't have to retransmit a giant buffer every time, just a bunch of glyph positions).

Is this why Gnome-terminal is much better at displaying text over a network then Xterm is?

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 17:57 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

Well, they both use XRender. It is possible that the render extension is dropping back to a software fallback in the xterm case and not in the gnome-terminal case. perf (or other systemwide profiling tool) should tell you.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 8:13 UTC (Fri) by paulj (subscriber, #341) [Link]

This is a bit of a daft comment from you, an otherwise well-informed commentator here. You surely must be well aware that:

a) Linux has shared libraries

b) In X11 applications *ALSO* _each_ "implement" their own remoting facility

c) X11 applications do this by using toolkit libraries, which link to libraries implementing X11.

d) There are at least 2 different libraries which implement X11, that are widely used.

The Wayland remoting is highly unlikely to be much different. Applications will link to a plethora of toolkits which will link to a smaller number of remoting libraries, which may implement a potentially smaller number again of actual remoting protocols.

Just like how X11 is supported in applications today.

Bizarre answer

Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:32 UTC (Fri) by renox (subscriber, #23785) [Link]

Hum, the way I see it is your reply which is daft, nix is pointing out a particular use case (remote text rendering) where XRender may significantly outperform Wayland, and that this may become an issue, what's so daft about it?

As for me, I'll wait and see: on the paper XRender is much better for remote text rendering (an important use case), but X's implementation is so old and full of warts, that I think measurements are needed before implementing workaround on top of Wayland.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 18:06 UTC (Fri) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

True. I never really thought of it like that, but libX11 is indeed a library implementation of the client side of the X protocol. I think the key is that it does nothing else (well, actually it does, too much else, that's why XCB is slowly taking off).

I guess what I'm really hoping is that something like XCB turns up to permit toolkits to do exactly what XCB/Xlib currently permit, i.e. remoting without exchanging vast heaps of compressed bitmaps. The downside is that now the toolkits -- or someone -- have to write the server side as well, and that requires coordination between toolkits, which historically they have been bloody awful at (mostly due to Gtk's flaming NIH syndrome, as I understand it).

I suppose you could use X-on-Wayland and XCB/Xlib for that, but in that case I'm afraid I don't really see much benefit to Wayland at all, other than I suppose a really disruptive way to get code cleanliness (and it's not like you can ditch the X server if you're still running X-on-Wayland for a lot of your work). Perhaps that's because a lot of the important X apps I run, I run remotely, excepting konsoles and the occasional game, which as DRI2 users are talking directly to the graphics card *already* without any need for Wayland...

What applications do people use?

Posted Feb 14, 2013 3:02 UTC (Thu) by smoogen (subscriber, #97) [Link]

What I would like to hear is what applications people use remotely? And over what size network bandwidth?

When I tried openoffice, firefox, or matlab.. it was a lesson in frustration with odd crashes and weird drawing glitches. This was on 100 mbit switched networks and very bad on older 10 mbit networks.

What applications do people use?

Posted Feb 14, 2013 5:16 UTC (Thu) by draco (subscriber, #1792) [Link]

gnucash, revelation, liferea. Basically anything where syncing the datastore between systems is problematic or undesirable...(and network filesystems aren't available/practical) or needing to boot a laptop to be able to get at it isn't the best.

What applications do people use?

Posted Feb 14, 2013 10:09 UTC (Thu) by yaneti (subscriber, #641) [Link]

I X-over-ssh from home to my work computer over a low latency MAN and basically run the same things that I run while I'm at work.

The only thing that I have to actually use gvfs and run locally is the video player and the local chrome browser to watch youtube.

The home computer is much older and overall less capable than my work machine.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:14 UTC (Thu) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183) [Link]

> The root of the trouble, Stone said, was that—thanks to politics and an excessive commitment to maintaining backward compatibility even with ancient toolkits—no one was allowed to touch the core protocol or the X server core, even as the needs of the window system evolved and diverged.

This is a rather common problem, and Wayland seems to me to be a textbook solution to it - keep what works, drop the outdated bits and provide a transparent but optional compatibility layer. Presumably if that layer is slightly less efficient than the original it won't matter much, as improvements in hardware will compensate. I often wonder whether this model could be applied to the Linux kernel with its need to maintain ABI compatibility with all previous versions (which is pretty much useless for any application which has dependencies on anything in user space, notably shared libraries).

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:21 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

It's just not needed in Linux because it carefully kept it's ABI very narrow. Which means that implementations of old, obsolete and no-longer-useful interfaces comprises only tiny piece of kernel (most of these are transparently translated to new capabilities). Most programs still use open(2) and read(2) even today, you know!

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:27 UTC (Thu) by michaeljt (subscriber, #39183) [Link]

> Which means that implementations of old, obsolete and no-longer-useful interfaces comprises only tiny piece of kernel (most of these are transparently translated to new capabilities).

So in other words an in-kernel compatibility layer. (And indeed, I was just poking about in the fsnotify/inotify code last week after I and some users hit a bug in Ubuntu's kernel.)

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 9:54 UTC (Thu) by daniels (subscriber, #16193) [Link]

Actually, it wasn't 100% because of backwards compatibility; a lot of the problem was that only the X Consortium were allowed to modify the core server or specs, so XFree86 never touched it. And neither did the X Consortium, since they were pretty much dead.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 14, 2013 10:24 UTC (Thu) by ortalo (subscriber, #4654) [Link]

It's not only on LWN that comment threads inflate a lot on such topic as X remoting or related things. Personnally, I've seen it everywhere. I'd even say that here such long comments threads are sometimes worth reading; and that is exceptional.
It makes me think that there are some areas of computer science with an emotional dimension for users and developers alike: as soon as you speak of the display on screen, or the choice of a password... Kaboom! Be ready for spending the next few hours arguing and consolating...
I wonder if there is an option to prevent that.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 19, 2013 7:48 UTC (Tue) by fdrs (subscriber, #85858) [Link]

want to see a thread inflating.. try mentioning systemd or sysv ...
oooww, I sad it 8x ....

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 6:04 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

And since you mention, systemd is a very good place to "integrate" a mini-version of Wayland.

It could be the main "mouse" pointer engine and theming, and the main keyboard engine. It could interface KMS and basic multi display functions. It could be the main engine for a login DM (desktop manager) and theming, and it could be the main display engine for Grub and theming... and then those consoles could have really advanced functionality.

Then ALL those themes will be common to any desktop environment that a user might choose... meaning instead of a "fragmentation" force it would be an "agglutination" force.

Its a very good idea to have a different engine for the all boot process, than for the main desktop(debugging withstand)... it is already, but it could be much improved with more features, and it could interface also for something like Coreboot or UEFI (linux UEFI)... and be the workhorse of syslinux live CDs...

Nothing is wasted, everything where they should belong... everybody gets happy.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 15, 2013 12:54 UTC (Fri) by gb (subscriber, #58328) [Link]

Just want to share my experience about using Linux at work. For last 8 years, I, as a developer had a agreement with my employer that i am using Linux as a desktop. Before that, I used windows.

1. Linux desktop is excellent thing. You always know that's going on. It never does anything strange, applications are predictable, easy to install and maintain. Window managers like wmaker are much better than windows window managing approach. Practically, it very annoying process to configure let's say 4 windows on single desktop in windows. X11 is much more flexible: you may create windows larger than screen, put them off-screen, resize with keyboard, do not click on focus, do not do additional actions to put selection into buffer. So X11 easily beats windows in even basic window managing functions.

2. Through all 8 years, i used X11 remote functionality and rdp to access windows machines, daily. This is must have feature.
a. X11 is extremely easy to use, just set environment variable or use ssh -X. You have no need to fill strange graphical password boxes. All applications always work out of box.
b. X11 is very slow over high latency networks. It's fine to work over 100Mbit Ethernet, but even on wifi you see latency so full remote desktop is below usability point. Over 20ms link, it becomes problem even with single window.
c. Many important X11 applications are configured at SERVER. i.e. xterm running will read it's configuration from machine there it is displayed. Also, windows are decorated there they are actually displayed, and this makes such application look native.
d. Citrix ICA is something in itself. I saw many security issues with them, then suddenly you seem locally attached flash drive inside remote 'secure' environment. Somehow in all cases it is clear that application is running elsewhere and you looking to it through view port.

Remote apps vs. remote desktop

Posted Feb 16, 2013 2:28 UTC (Sat) by dskoll (subscriber, #1630) [Link]

Wow, lots of heat and light about remote apps vs remote desktop.

Maybe I'm odd, but I find I don't use either very much. Most of my remote work involves SSH and a shell prompt, so... meh.

And the dismissal of Linux as a desktop system is pure opinion. On the very rare occasions I have to use Windows, I curse it continually and my productivity plummets compared to working on Linux. I don't understand what is so fundamentally broken about the Linux desktop that we should all just give up and switch to Windows or Mac OS.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 1:51 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

"" That situation leaves the X server itself with very little to do. ""

Is that bad ??... sounds pretty good to me, its prone to be quite fast... matter of fact i think all that is not pertinent "driver" for the display functions should immediately get out...

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 1:55 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

"" terrible, terrible, terrible" inter-process communication (IPC) bus ""

Isn't X going to have D-bus ? ... that is a real IPC mechanism ?

If yes problem solved.

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 2:08 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

"" Unpleasant side effects result, such as being unable to use the volume keys when a screensaver is active, and being unable to trigger the screensaver when a menu is open on the screen. With Wayland, in contrast, the application tells the server that a frame is a pop-up and lets the compositor decide how to handle it. Yes, he said, it is possible that someone would write a bad compositor that would mishandle such a pop-up—but that is true today as well. Window managers are also complex today; the solution is to not run the bad ones. ""

??

In the world of FLAT LCDs today there is no need for "screensavers" because there isn't any need to save the screens... put the desktop environment displaying a full screen slide show...

But i understand, its a real pain if you have to leave in a hurry for some reason and the "lock" doesn't trigger and all the "colleagues" know that you have been searching porn in the Internet... instead of cleaning up and document some hard bit** piece of code... lol

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 2:10 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

and in the end nothing can save you from bad written software... not even Wayland...

LCA: The ways of Wayland

Posted Feb 21, 2013 2:15 UTC (Thu) by mmarq (guest, #2332) [Link]

"" Wayland also provides "proper object lifetimes," which eliminates X11's fatal-by-default and hard-to-work-around BadDevice errors. Finally, it side-steps the problem that can occur when a toolkit (such as GTK+ or Clutter) and an application support different versions of the XInput extension. In X, the server only gets one report from the application about which version is supported; whether that equals the toolkit or the application's version is random. In Wayland, each component registers and listens for events separately. ""

ummm... in the end also nothing can save you from bad written "device drivers".

Write better device drivers... target modern hardware... **get the vendors involved**... which was always a "no go" because interfaces changed a lot... and to improve that, they are going to change once more... good going!


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