Ubuntu is going to be trying to switch over to using Wayland by default for the current Ubuntu 21.04 cycle to allow sufficient time for widespread testing and evaluation ahead of next year’s Ubuntu 22.04 LTS release.
Canonical engineer Sebastien Bacher announced today they will be trying again for Ubuntu 21.04 to enable Wayland by default, four years after they originally tried but reverted back to using GNOME on X.Org for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and since that point. Ubuntu with GNOME Shell on Wayland has been available as a non-default choice but the hope is now in 2021 they are ready to comfortably switch to Wayland.
I try to use Wayland wherever possible, since the performance gains and battery life improvements are just too good to ignore. There’s still two major blockers, though – first, NVIDIA support is problematic, at best, so my main computer will remain on X until NVIDIA gets its act together.
Second, my desktop environment of choice, Cinnamon, does not support Wayland and has no support coming in the pipeline, which is really disappointing. GNOME can be made usable with extensive use of extensions, and I’m seriously considering switching to it once the NVIDIA situation is sorted. My laptop already runs GNOME for this very reason.
Wayland can’t come fast enough. I can’t believe it’s 2021 and Linux still has problems like inability to V-sync on videos (leading to tearing artifacts). I mean, Windows 98 didn’t have such issues, I can remember DVD playback working on it without V-sync issues.
As an aside, the binary Nvidia driver replaces some X.org code with its own, so it doesn’t have these problems, As a result, it can stay on X.org for a while without the user experience being greatly impacted. It’s the open-source drivers from Intel and AMD which play by the book and use X.org as-is that have issues with V-Sync and increased CPU usage. Wayland should have been a thing in 2001, but better 20 years late than ever.