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29 May 2013, 10:15

Live Linux distribution shows off Wayland

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Rebecca Black OS screenshot
Zoom The Qt 5 browser runs as a native Wayland program under Weston; the KDE menu, on the other hand, is rendered via XWayland.

A Linux distribution that uses Wayland's reference compositor Weston as the default for handling its graphical user interface has been released by a developer who is only known by his screen name, "nerdopolis". Icons in the top menu bar allow users to start a terminal and Qt 5's demo browser, both of which run as native Wayland software components. Other icons start programs that are designed for X11 and use XWayland to run under the Wayland compositor; among these applications is KDE's Kicker start menu, which can be launched via the icon at the left side of the top bar.

The "Wayland Programs" category in this menu offers further programs that provide an impression of what's currently possible with Wayland. The programs are sorted according to the toolkits that they use: EFL (Enlightenment Foundation Libraries), GTK+, Qt, KDE libraries, SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer). The progress with porting these libraries to Wayland is what ultimately determines the available range of applications for the new Linux graphics system.

The 1.8 GB ISO image of the distribution is available to download from SourceForge. The live Linux is a 32-bit Kubuntu 13.04 derivative and can be transferred to a USB flash drive using Unetbootin. It includes version 1.0.5 of Wayland and Weston; therefore, it is not quite up-to-date as Wayland and Weston 1.1 have been available for more than a month. The distribution's open source graphics drivers are quite current and are designed to allow Weston to run on many different computers. Weston also works with the framebuffer drivers for the emulated graphics hardware in VirtualBox.

The distribution is called RebeccaBlackOS – apparently the developer is a Rebecca Black fan and took inspiration from Hannah Montana Linux and Justin Bieber Linux when choosing its name. In his release announcement, the developer points out that the distribution has various security problems; for example, a password is stored in an environment variable, which allows other applications to read it.



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