use XFCE with Wayland

Most important question:

could we just swap out the XFCE window manager which isn’t wayland capable and replace it with a wayland capable window manager?

Sway is the only choice from this page packaged for Debian and are on the way to witching to wayland. Probably a lot sooner than xfce.



/cc @anontor @Algernon @madaidan

I thought Wayland integrated the window manager, tty display server and compositing all in one main application? Like in X you can have compositing as a separate entity or not at all, but in Wayland, it’s part of the whole thing.
In other words, I don’t think there is such a thing as a Wayland compositor-only package or a window-manager only, like there are for X ( examples for X like Compton, Compiz, for compositing and fluxbox, metacity, enlightenment for window managers among others).
Sway is an interesting project. I wonder how it would integrate with xfce, if it can? Would it require gtk3 and would it finally put an end to X’s famous problem of every window having access to every other one? I know that some de’s support both X and Wayland out of the box, though. xfce does not, but could it be made to?

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A challenger appears!
Too young, but interesting when we revisit this later.

TAIWINS is a Wayland compositor that acts as a tiling window manager and based on the Weston library (libweston). … TAIWINS as an alternative to Sway and other lightweight Wayland compositors


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If it turns out that XFCE with Wayland would not be possible, would something like Xpra or Xephyr be a candidate? I have gotten Xephyr to work in regular Debian 10 with just a couple commands. Xpra works as well, but there were some compositing and graphics issues. With Xephyr, it was possible to resize the window and embed it seamlessly. The Tor Browser worked in that new display window and there were not any cpu issues (like using a large percentage at once).
At least this would stop the danger of one X app spying on other one. It might be interesting to use it in addition to some of the isolation / sandbox projects being developed right now, like the sandbox-app-launcher for example.


Would Xpra or Xephyr mess up copy/paste? One couldn’t even copy a password from password manager and paste in Tor Browser? Any other usability issues?

Is Xpra or Xephyr worth the hack or worth porting to another desktop environment?

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Yeah, unfortunately the clipboard does not function between the active Xephyr instance and the native desktop environment. That’s the one thing that kind of spoils it as a pretty good workaround.
For Xephyr, it was a matter of two commands:
Xephyr -resizeable -screen (whateverXwhatever) :714 (or whatever display you want to specify, it doesn’t matter)
and second command (in separate terminal window) was:
DISPLAY=:714 /path/to/app
Then it worked. The clipboard is annoying, I’ll admit. I’ll research it.
When you start the Tor Browser, since it uses a specific window size depending on the size of your monitor, thats why I left the -resizeable option. This way, the Xephyr window starts a little bigger, then when Tor starts in the Xephyr window, just resize the outer xephyr display window with Tor’s window if the black stripe is bothersome.
To be fair, I am not sure if the benefits are necessarily worth the hassle of potentially losing clipboard and fiddling with displays, although it could probably be scripted.
Xpra I have had some resolution issues and bugs like the application window not forming all the way, dpi is wrong in the launched xpra window and others. Others use xpra with no issues so it could be the specific recipe of my machine’s drivers/graphics/egl.

EDIT: Some browsing led me to this:

There are a couple suggestions; I do not have any experience with them.

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How about using Xenocara as the display server? It’s being used by Hyperbola GNU/Linux, which means it’s possible to implement outside of OpenBSD.

Debian has been using rootless X for some time now. Do you know of any Wayland display servers that readily work with a window manager in Debian?

What’s wrong with sway? I’ve used it for months. It’s good enough.
Sway is also going to get security labels which allow users to configure GUI privileges for each app and default GUI privileges.

Sway is a good idea. I saw news recently that Sony is opting for it since it supports wayland among being high performing.

Sway is packaged in bullseye and is worth considering once we port.

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Did you manage to use sway with XFCE?

I haven’t used sway with any other window manager. I don’t know if it’s possible to mix XFCE with sway.

Seems unrelated then. The topic of this forum thread is:

use XFCE with Wayland

As for porting Whonix to use something other than XFCE, please open a new forum thread.

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