Zorin and future X11 support

So with many other releases and/or desktops dropping support for X11 and moving to wayland exclusively, what is the position with Zorin with regard to continued native support for X11?

Sure wayland attempts to provide support for X11 apps running under wayland but its very flakey so it would be great to know if Zorin is committed to providing a native X11 DE for future releases.




When I recently installed Zorin OS 17 on a new machine, X was the default, not Wayland. Probably this was because that machine had Nvidia graphics. I am not a developer, so I don't know the technical advantages of Wayland. However, for me as an end-user, Wayland is just a system that cannot reliably display softwares I am using.

Gnome and Ubuntu probably want to replace X with Wayland, but Zorin OS is independent from these projects and can follow its own development policy. Until the Wayland issues are resolved, it is desirable that Zorin OS continue to support X.

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Not that independent. Zorin relies on GNOME or Xfce for the desktop environments. Finally, Zorin uses Ubuntu as the base. Sure they make some customization here and there to improve the Linux experience, but the heavy lifting comes from Ubuntu, GNOME, and Xfce. Wayland will be or is default with GNOME and Ubuntu. X11 will have a transition period and it is available now with Zorin. Eventually, developers need to adapt to Wayland for their respective applications. The good thing is Zorin uses Wayland or X11 as needed depending on your hardware and/or software.:+1:

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I think that will depend on Gnome and xfce in the Mainpoint. When Gnome would say ''With Gnome Version XX we kick off X11'' then it depends what the Distro Developer will make. When Ubuntu thinks that it is not the right Time they could implement it and the Zorin has it too. And when Ubuntu would say that they go with it the Zorin Crew could add X11.

The other Case would be that Ubuntu itself would say ''Okay, no more X11''. The the Zorin Crew could go this Way with them or add X11 support by themself. Or ... they change the Base.

But I think this is all in the Future and should not be a Problem in the next Time.

ZorinOS can choose the version of Gnome they want to use for future releases. For example, ZorinOS 18 may use Gnome 47 which it looks like will be the last version that will support X11. Beyond that, it'll be difficult to come up with a workaround to this but may give some time to fix some of the pending issues of Wayland. After all, the more people are using it the more pressing it'll be to fix them.

Another option could be to switch to another desktop environment like Cinnamon or Budgie, both already working on providing Wayland support in addition to X11.
I think this is unlikely but if there's something we've learned from the transition to Gnome 40+ with the recent release of ZorinOS 17, is that Gnome can make things difficult for developers as it stands. So a change to another DE may not be completely out of the question. Perhaps even Cosmic will be an option by the time ZorinOS 18 or 19 are released.

Thanks for all the comments.

As suspected it appears, due to forces beyond Zorin's control, that it is headed for a wayland only future.

I have lots of custom stuff that makes use of devilspie, wmctrl, xloadimage and many other X utils that dont work under wayland.

I have other FOSS software I have hacked/recompiled for my own purposes that run under X and wayland but do strange things under wayland.

Even simple stuff like "top" (which is cursor based) do annoying things. Start a shell under wayland, run top in a non-maximized window and then maximize it... top goes weird.

So as noted by others, I best start looking for/testing a DE (preferably hosted on Ubuntu) that seems to have a long term X future.

The issue I see is do FOSS DE devs have the bandwidth to support two distinct code trees.... thats why the bigger players like KDE, Gnome etc are leaving X behind.

We need a devuan like distro that is anti-wayland/pro-X to fight the madness.


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I wouldn't call it Madness. It is technical Development. Technology changes over the Years. You see it on the Hardware and on the Software. X11 is there and now comes a new Development. And sometimes in the Future Wayland will replaced by something different. Yes, it have his Problems; no doubt. But it is relativly new. So, you have to finde these Issues and then You will repair it. So is it with new Technologies.


X has been around since the late 80's after I started programming on Unix platforms in 1983, so you could say its old in the tooth.

But its stablity is actually a feature... you can code to it knowing the API wont change... it makes long term support much easier because your core API isnt changing.

And it supports client/server topologies that wayland doesnt and wont.


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Anyways, as an old, now retired, Unix dev yelling at the clouds wont change anything.

I know all my "stuff" runs fine under xfce so thats where I will move to when Zorin is wayland only... the 'x' in the DE name means X11 (based on Xfwm) and while they also have issued a wayland manifesto (releng:wayland_roadmap [Xfce Wiki]), I doubt they will move away from X to wayland only.


I use Zorin OS Lite, which is defaulted to XFCE.

Everything that you said is well reasoned and sound. Yes, Wayland is the latest new thing... Kinda...
Wayland is actually kind of old.
It's just a slow learner.

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forgot about Zorin Lite!!!...will spin it up again and port my stuff.

Yeah... wayland is 15 years old... so its been a long gestation period.

But xfce may be doomed... as per a comment from someone who appears to be knowledgeable:

But in the long run XFCE depends on Gtk which has signaled it will drop X11 support in Gtk5. And already in Gtk4 X11 is being made a second class citizen and they're hard coding for the various Waylands. Adding support for a particular wayland just encourages them.

The solution many have mentioned is to fork gtk4 when it makes sense... but that needs a group to then continue its support... the fragmentation in the FOSS space is getting a bit crazy.

But I am meant to be retired!!!!!! :grinning:

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Xfce is going Wayland too. I think X11 will stick around for a lot longer than you might think. Zorin is already using Wayland with the option to switch to X11. The big concern by some developers with X11 is security. Fedora is going only Wayland already. KDE and GNOME are going Wayland only. Cinnamon is testing it out now for future implementation. But, all this will take at least a few years. Linux has been switching to Wayland for over a decade now but since Fedora made a commitment to it not long ago, it seems that Wayland will eventually be the standard by all.

A very diplomatic way of putting it :smiley:

That is what gets me about people pushing for Wayland: if it's so much simpler and easier to work with, how come that in all this time there are so many obvious flaws with it?
As I've stated before in other posts Wayland doesn't bother me too much, because my use case happens to be mostly covered. But I don't like that people are forcing the issue to their preferred outcome for the sake of it.

@BluckMutter But there is still plenty of time to find alternatives and solutions. Although it's likely that at some point it will become easier to port the configuration over to Wayland, than jumping through hoops to keep Xorg compatible with newer tech.

Yeah... if Zorin Pro (due to gnome) is forced down the wayland path in ~2-5 years then Zorin Lite (due to xfce) should be good for at least 10 years.

From what I can read gtk5 (wayland only) wont happen until ~2030 so it might be ~2035 before LTS xfce based distro's will be wayland only.

As I said above, as has happened with devuan and its anti-systemd stance maybe they will broaden the "hate" to include wayland or some others will fork a DE and keep it X11 only.

So lets let sleeping dogs lie and see where Zorin and others end up.



Here's Xfce's roadmap to Wayland:


I read on the web that NVIDIA is one of the main reasons that Wayland hasn't progressed as fast as it could because NVIDIA refused to use it period .... but it looks like in 2023 they started playing nice as it was beginning to look like more and more of Linux systems were going to turn to it ..... M$ was always NVIDIA's bread and butter .....

The article also mentioned that some people are still have problems with NVIDIA drivers on Wayland especially with the NVIDIA Optimus switchable graphics .... which may have been fixed by now .....

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This has been stated around the web a lot lately...
Why so sudden a concern?

In actuality, it is a bit of a Trojan Horse. As a claim, that is.
The security stance is that X11 allows access in Root Processed systems to the display, whereas Wayland only allows access to the display for that app which is accessing it.
As you can see:

  • That doesn't make any difference. If any app has access to the display, whether it is one at a time or all at once makes Zero Difference to whether or not the Display is accessed. The claim of an exploitable access point is equally valid either way, therefor Wayland must, by default, be as insecure as they claim X11 is. Having Wayland run the app in a container makes no difference to the display being accessed.
  • This claim is based on the idea that a Root processed application would have access: this means that the user must authorize that application. It must get past Linitan, Launchpad and the users Sudo Authorization, then gain access to display. Some perspective - almost every app you install must gain access to display... You want to see its GUI output, don't you? The only way to plug this hole is by running a headless server. Wayland does nothing to fix that and it cannot.
  • The above narrows this down to the security threat needing direct local (not remote) access to the computer. Unless your roommate is a hacker...
    These claims start looking like a whole lot of hot air.

Yes, but it has Time. Form the 80's to now is ... a lot of Time.

And there is another Point: Wayland is not perfect and needs more Improvements; that is right. But the Developers from the Software Programs must do there Part too to adjust her Programs to Wayland. Yes, that means work; no doubt. It is a two Side Thing.

Who can obligate them to do so? I do not believe that system software developers are the bosses of application developers.