I’ve recently moved to i3 from xmonad, because I was tired of not knowing how to config my WM, and I’ve never used the i3-gaps, so I wanted to see if it’s worth the hype.1 However, as you can probably see from me using aerc, sr.ht, and this Hugo theme, I follow Drew DeVault’s work. Moving to a new WM is a great chance to try Wayland and Sway.

A lot of software I use works natively on Wayland, what doesn’t usually has decent alternatives, and everything else can be fooled using XWayland. Some Wayland-specific programs are actually better than their X variants:

  • Waybar is a better statusbar than Polybar, because Polybar doesn’t support RTL text.
  • I like grim better than scrot, because copying the image to clipboard is way, way easier.
  • Sway has more settings and functionality built-in than i3, namely compositing2 and backgrounds.

Unfortunately, not everything is all sunshine and rainbows. Wayland is a perfectly usable system – its problem is that things don’t support Wayland:

  • Zoom, a (sadly) integral part of my life these days, refuses to work on Wayland unless under GNOME in Fedora.3
  • The cursor isn’t locked in Doom (2016), so I can only turn 130°. This was allegedly fixed years ago, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

This is the unfixable problem with Wayland: it’s fully featured and easy to support, but things don’t support it. I know that this is a classic chicken-and-egg paradox, and the way to make companies support Wayland is to use Wayland, but I’m not willing to make that sacrifice just yet. I’ve moved back to i3.

I will return to Wayland in 2022.


  1. P.S.: It is. It’s so worth it. Having a sleek and fast WM has never been so cliché. ↩︎

  2. The X11 meaning of compositing. Seriously guys, sit down and decide on a nomenclature. ↩︎

  3. This is a problem with screencasting in general, but Zoom explicitly throws an error. ↩︎

Permanent link to this article:
https://solfisher.com/blog/2021/03/10/i-tried-using-wayland/

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