Announcing Wio: A clone of Plan 9's Rio for Wayland

Published 2019-05-01 on Drew DeVault's blog

For a few hours here and there over the past few months, I’ve been working on a side project: Wio. I’ll just let the (3 minute) screencast do the talking first:

Note: this video begins with several seconds of grey video. This is normal.

In short, Wio is a Wayland compositor based on wlroots which has a similar look and feel to Plan 9’s Rio desktop. It works by running each application in its own nested Wayland compositor, based on Cage - yet another wlroots-based Wayland compositor. I used Cage in last week’s RDP article, but here’s another cool use-case for it.

The behavior this allows for (each window taking over its parent’s window, rather than spawning a new window) has been something I wanted to demonstrate on Wayland for a very long time. This is a good demonstration of how Wayland’s fundamentally different and conservative design allows for some interesting use-cases which aren’t possible at all on X11.

I’ve also given Wio some nice features which are easy thanks to wlroots, but difficult on Plan 9 without kernel hacking. Namely, these are multihead support, HiDPI support, and support for the wlroots layer shell protocol. Several other wlroots protocols were invited to the party, useful for taking screenshots, redshift, and so on. Layer shell support is particularly cool, since programs like swaybg and waybar work on Wio.

In terms of Rio compatability, Wio has a ways to go. I would seriously appreciate help from users who are interested in improving Wio. Some notably missing features include:

  • Any kind of filesystem resembling Rio’s window management filesystem. In theory this ought to be do-able with FUSE, at least in part (/dev/text might be tough).
  • Running every application in its own namespace, for double the Plan 9
  • Hiding/showing windows (that menu entry is dead)
  • Joint improvements with Cage to bring greater support for Wayland features, like client-side window resize/move, fullscreen windows, etc
  • Damage tracking to avoid re-rendering everything on every frame, saving battery life and GPU time

If you’re interested in helping, please join the IRC channel and say hello: #wio on irc.freenode.net. For Wio’s source code and other information, visit the website at wio-project.org.

Have a comment on one of my posts? Start a discussion in my public inbox by sending an email to ~sircmpwn/public-inbox@lists.sr.ht [mailing list etiquette]


Articles from blogs I follow around the net

Updates in August 2019

This post gives an overview of the recent updates to the Writing an OS in Rust blog and the used libraries and tools. I was very busy with finishing my master's thesis, so I didn't have any to implement any notable changes myself. Thanks to contrib…

via Writing an OS in Rust September 9, 2019

Go 1.13 is released

Today the Go team is very happy to announce the release of Go 1.13. You can get it from the download page.

via The Go Programming Language Blog September 3, 2019

What is RISC?

This is an archive of a series of comp.arch USENET posts by John Mashey in the early to mid 90s, on the defnition of reduced instruction set computer (RISC). Contrary to popular belief, RISC isn't about the number of instructions! This is archived her…

via Dan Luu July 29, 2019

Generated by openring