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08 January 2013, 12:25

Lead developer sees no Compiz future under Wayland

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Sam Spilsbury, lead developer of the Compiz window manager, has written a blog post declaring that he does not see much of a future in porting the project to the Wayland architecture. The developer says he is disillusioned with what he calls fragmentation in the open source community, referring to the many compositing engines available under the current X11 implementation. He thinks that porting Compiz to Wayland would be too much work with only little gain for end users. Spilsbury recently quit his job at Canonical, where he was responsible for maintaining Unity's underlying Compiz-based components, to concentrate on finishing his university studies.

Working at Canonical, Spilsbury says he experienced the toll of the fragmentation in the X11 space first hand. In his opinion, Wayland's reference compositor Weston is where developers should concentrate their efforts and implement new features. "Reimplementing an entire compositing engine and window manager just to get the functionality that people liked in compiz doesn’t make any sense", says Spilsbury. He adds that he "cannot, in good conscience, continue a project in such a direction that would add more fragmentation to the ecosystem, and potentially see new developers pitted against each other." For the developer, writing an abstraction layer that encompasses both X11 and Wayland and then transitioning Compiz over to the new architecture is not an option. He draws the conclusion that he does not want to port Compiz but that he will keep maintaining it for the time being.

Compiz was very popular on the Linux desktop before many desktop environments moved to writing their own compositing window managers. These days, GNOME uses Mutter, Cinnamon uses the Mutter fork Muffin, KDE uses KWin and Xfce has its own compositing window manager with xfwm4. The biggest user of Compiz is currently Canonical, which based its Unity desktop interface on the technology. It is not clear what the company's plans are in regard to porting Unity to Wayland, although Mark Shuttleworth has been an outspoken proponent of the Wayland project and the idea of using it by default in Ubuntu.


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