Announcing the release of sway 1.0

Published 2019-03-11 on Drew DeVault's blog

1,315 days after I started the sway project, it’s finally time for sway 1.0! I had no idea at the time how much work I was in for, or how many talented people would join and support the project with me. In order to complete this project, we have had to rewrite the entire Linux desktop nearly from scratch. Nearly 300 people worked together, together writing over 9,000 commits and almost 100,000 lines of code, to bring you this release.

Sway is an i3-compatible Wayland desktop for Linux and FreeBSD

1.0 is the first stable release of sway and represents a consistent, flexible, and powerful desktop environment for Linux and FreeBSD. We hope you’ll enjoy it! If the last sway release you used was 0.15 or earlier, you’re in for a shock. 0.15 was a buggy, frustrating desktop to use, but sway 1.0 has been completely overhauled and represents a much more capable desktop. It’s almost impossible to summarize all of the changes which makes 1.0 great. Sway 1.0 adds a huge variety of features which were sorely missed on 0.x, improves performance in every respect, offers a more faithful implementation of Wayland, and exists as a positive political force in the Wayland ecosystem pushing for standardization and cooperation among Wayland projects.

When planning the future of sway, we realized that the Wayland ecosystem was sorely in need of a stable & flexible common base library to encapsulate all of the difficult and complex facets of building a desktop. To this end, I decided we would build wlroots. It’s been a smashing success. This project has become very important to the Linux desktop ecosystem, and the benefits we reap from it have been shared with the community at large. Dozens of projects are using it today, and soon you’ll find it underneath most Linux desktops, on your phone, in your VR environment, and more. Its influence extends beyond its borders as well, as we develop and push for standards throughout Wayland.

Through this work we have also helped to build a broader ecosystem of tools built on interoperable standards which you may find useful in your new sway 1.0 desktop. Here are a few of my favorites - each of which is compatible with many Wayland compositors:

None of this would be possible without the support of sway’s and wlroots’ talented contributors. Hundreds of people worked together on this. I’d like to give special thanks to our core contributors: Brian Ashworth, Ian Fan, Ryan Dwyer, Scott Anderson, and Simon Ser. Thanks are also in order for those who have helped wlroots fit into the broader ecosystem - thanks to Purism for their help on wlroots, KDE & Canonical for their help on protocol standardization. I also owe thanks to all of the other projects which use wlroots, particularly including Way Cooler, Wayfire, and Waymonad, who all have made substantial contributions to wlroots in their pursit of the best Wayland desktop.

I’d also of course like to thank all of the users who have donated to support my work, which I now do full-time, which has had and I hope will continue to have a positive impact on the project and those around it. Please consider donating to support the future of sway & wlroots if you haven’t yet.

Though sway today is already stable and powerful, we’re not done yet. We plan to continue improving performance & stability, adding useful desktop features, taking advantage of better hardware, and bringing sway to more users. Here’s some of what we have planned for future releases:

  • Better Wayland-native tools for internationalized input methods like CJK
  • Better accessibility tools including improved screen reader support, high-contrast mode, a magnifying glass tool, and so on
  • Integration with xdg-portal & pipewire for interoperable screen capture
  • Improved touch screen support for use on the Librem 5 and on postmarketOS
  • Better support for drawing tablets and additional hardware
  • Sandboxing and security features

As with all sway features, we intend to have the best-in-class implementations of these features and set the bar as high as we can for everyone else. We’re looking forward to your continued support!

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