GNOME Is Taking Steps Towards Dropping X11

Significant changes for the GNOME! Merge requests opened to end X.Org (X11) session support, moving to a Wayland-only environment.

The transition from X.Org to Wayland has been a topic of discussion and gradual implementation across the entire Linux ecosystem for years.

One of the most compelling reasons to embrace Wayland lies in its superior security model. Furthermore, it also brings to the table a streamlined and efficient display server protocol, which starkly contrasts the often-criticized complexity and overhead of X11.

In this regard, the developers of GNOME, one of the most popular desktop environments, have recently been abuzz with discussions surrounding a significant shift in its developmental trajectory.

Specifically, merge requests and developer conversations suggest a bold move: GNOME is potentially steering towards becoming a Wayland-only desktop environment, completely phasing out support for the X.Org (X11) session.

The GNOME developers are discussing removing X11 support in the desktop environment.
The GNOME developers are discussing removing X11 support in the desktop environment.

The main argument is that X11 has received less support in recent years. Moreover, in the last seven years, starting from 2016, GNOME defaults to the Wayland session.

On top of that, discontinuing X11 support in GNOME will lighten the desktop environment by several thousand lines of code that will be removed from it. All arguments sound perfectly logical.

So, while transitioning to a Wayland-only environment is laden with benefits, it has its challenges.

Legacy applications and systems that rely on X11 may face compatibility issues, and developers may need additional resources to ensure smooth operation in a Wayland-only GNOME. However, this is part of the price that has to be paid, so it has to happen sometime.

But given that the other popular desktop environment, KDE Plasma, will go Wayland by default in its sixth release, slated for February next year, we can conclude that the GNOME developers’ decision to stop supporting X11 in the desktop environment is entirely reasonable.

Finally, to recall, Fedora 40 KDE Spin also plans to remove the X11 support in the Plasma 6 desktop altogether and instead rely entirely on Wayland.

In other words, X11 will probably meet its final day in the upcoming year when the long-awaited major switchover to Wayland by default will eventually happen.

More information and the merge requests themselves can be viewed here.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

Think You're an Ubuntu Expert? Let's Find Out!

Put your knowledge to the test in our lightning-fast Ubuntu quiz!
Ten questions to challenge yourself to see if you're a Linux legend or just a penguin in the making.

1 / 10

Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means:

2 / 10

Who is the Ubuntu's founder?

3 / 10

What year was the first official Ubuntu release?

4 / 10

What does the Ubuntu logo symbolize?

5 / 10

What package format does Ubuntu use for installing software?

6 / 10

When are Ubuntu's LTS versions released?

7 / 10

What is Unity?

8 / 10

What are Ubuntu versions named after?

9 / 10

What's Ubuntu Core?

10 / 10

Which Ubuntu version is Snap introduced?

The average score is 68%


  1. For daily use, I prefer Wayland. But, if they do, I will stop developing my extension. I just haven’t found a way to reload my files without restarting X (ctrl-alt-backspace). In Wayland, that isn’t an option, you have to re-login every time. Years ago, I reported this issue, but Gnome developers just don’t care.

  2. Wayland – worse is incompatibility with older programs that will never be overwritten. Total instability of Nvidia drivers. Fortunately, I abandoned Gnome a long time ago. That leaves Xfce and KDE. After that, only Windows. There is no other way for me…..

  3. I wonder why in linux world everything has to be incomplete. Wayland is not ready yet, i had a lot of problems with it.

  4. What a glowing article about a display server that is in no way ready for prime time. I remember the early days of XFree86 and I have no desire to return to such instability. We also finally have Linux as a serious contender for playing video games thanks to Steam and Proton…GOOD LUCK getting that working reliably with Wayland, especially if you have an Nvidia card.

    I think it’s incredibly naive to assume that X11 will be “gone” within a year. I’d personally stick with X11 just because client-side decorations are such a mind-numbingly STUPID idea, yet another big minus for Wayland.

  5. I have dropped Gnome a decade ago. It seems that nothing has changed, they are still a bunch of bullies forcing things upon their users. A GNU licensed Microsoft.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *