Canonical's Mir display server

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Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:02 am

Apparently Ubuntu will be switching to a homegrown display server called Mir. Thoughts? They cite problems with both X and Wayland. Wayland developer responses appear to be that a) Canonical devs appear to not understand Wayland correctly b) None of the "problems" cited by Canonical were ever discussed with Wayland developers.

I am not sure where Ubuntu is trying to go with all this. They are attempting to reinvent a lot of things, but I am not sure if they have the requisite developer resources to do so in-house. They are already alienating a lot of the typical Linux dev folks (eg: Wayland developers, GNOME devs, KDE devs) so not sure they will get a lot of outside help either. They appear to be focusing a lot on mobile, but they are also not promising anything too exciting for end users that is not already serviced by existing options. By the time they finish their plumbing, the market leaders in the mobile OS space would have evolved as well.

Does this affect your decision of which distro to run on a desktop system? I for one am switching some of my machines to OpenSuse with KDE, though the more critical workstations will remain on Kubuntu 12.04 for now. On mobile side, I am mostly paying attention to Android, and amongst the underdogs BB10 is the only one I am liking (and currently use a Z10).

Do you think Canonical will succeed? Do you agree or disagree with their direction?
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:07 am

There's an awful lot of infrastructure built up around X that they are not going to be able to duplicate any time soon. This sounds like a recipe for a train wreck to me.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:15 am

They do seem to be biting off an awful lot to chew on recently. The only reason I think they might be able to pull it off is that despite all the time they're spending talking about projects like this 13.04 desktop looks like it's going to be very good... already more stable than 12.10 or even 12.04. Presumably this is the result of the automated test system they're using these days.

Anyway I suppose it's really all in the hands of AMD and Nvidia as I doubt they're going to do drivers for more than one Linux display server... 3.2.1. cue RMS going nuclear :lol:

What really does depress me is the number of times the word "beautiful" appears in the spec, this makes it sound like the marketing department has a hand in writing software specs which can't be a good thing :roll:
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:40 am

We'll have to wait and see how this pans out. Stuff gets re-invented all the time (Wayland, Gnome, LXDE, Lighttpd, etc.), and this could be worse or better.

This is about Canonical finding a display manager that work across all of their form factors. That way they have a consistent environment for applications to run on across all devices. Part of the promise of Ubuntu mobile is to run the same applications on everything, and they can't do that now while they are running Xorg and whatever is on the phones and tablets.

This doesn't affect my choice of distro. I normally run Fedora or Scientific Linux with some CrunchBang and Mint (Cinnamon) sprinkled in.

If this solves some technical deficiencies and creates a better Linux desktop experience, then I'm for it. Everyone bashes on X, but no one has really stepped up. Canonical has a vested interest in creating a nice Linux desktop experience while no other vendor does. Red Hat focuses on servers, and Xorg works great for that. RH does not focus on desktops or laptops, so they don't have a lot of incentive to push changes. GTK3 and Gnome are RH's babies, but they're low on the priority list.

just brew it! wrote:There's an awful lot of infrastructure built up around X that they are not going to be able to duplicate any time soon. This sounds like a recipe for a train wreck to me.


The rumors are they are going to fork the Android display manager.

They could also import Wayland's X11 layer, which would take care of current desktop applications.

cheesyking wrote:Presumably this is the result of the automated test system they're using these days.

What really does depress me is the number of times the word "beautiful" appears in the spec, this makes it sound like the marketing department has a hand in writing software specs which can't be a good thing


So they finally hired some people off of Red Hat's release team to show them how it's done? :D

Canonical has always been pretty flowery. It's their soft and cuddly nature that's helped them win people over.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:54 am

Flatland_Spider wrote:The rumors are they are going to fork the Android display manager.

Well, at least they're not starting from scratch then. Does the Android DM currently have any driver support for desktop GPUs?

Flatland_Spider wrote:They could also import Wayland's X11 layer, which would take care of current desktop applications.

I have not been following Wayland closely. How mature is their X11 emulation?
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:00 pm

I wonder also how Valve will react to this. AFAIK, they have been putting efforts to work with AMD and Nvidia to get their proprietary X drivers optimized. Well they also work with Intel, but my understanding is that Mir can reuse the existing Intel open-source drivers so Intel should not be an issue. Open-source radeon drivers also supposedly work with Mir.

Valve has also been advertizing Ubuntu as their officially supported Linux distro. Given Mir + proposed rolling release brings potential chaos in the Ubuntu world, I wonder what position Valve will take. If Valve does get behind Mir, and works with Canonical to get AMD, Nvidia and Intel to write and optimize drivers for Mir, then they might succeed.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:39 pm

codedivine wrote:I wonder also how Valve will react to this. AFAIK, they have been putting efforts to work with AMD and Nvidia to get their proprietary X drivers optimized. Well they also work with Intel, but my understanding is that Mir can reuse the existing Intel open-source drivers so Intel should not be an issue. Open-source radeon drivers also supposedly work with Mir.

The key difference between Intel and AMD is that the Open Source Radeon drivers are still behind the curve when it comes to supporting newer GPUs. If Mir is not compatible with the AMD binary driver then Ubuntu will likely be unable to properly take advantage of latest gen (and probably even one gen back) AMD GPUs.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:10 pm

Mir is great in theory, but it really just highlights Canonical's fracturing of the community and standards. Ubuntu and its derivatives are their own beast and then you have the rest of the Linux world. Yes, innovation is important but when it ultimately spits in the face of the people's work you've built your business upon you can't really get that pissy when it's ultimately shot down as being a standard when another option exists that applies to Linux as a whole and not just Canonical's interests.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:41 am

I still think Canonical has done more to raise awareness and adoption of Linux on the desktop than all the other distros combined; they've also managed to put together a pretty solid distro that walks the line between stable (but outdated) and new features. Yes, I find some of what they're doing annoying; but if they piss me off too much I will just jump ship for Debian (I run KDE anyway so Unity doesn't even factor in).
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:48 am

just brew it! wrote:I still think Canonical has done more to raise awareness and adoption of Linux Ubuntu on the desktop


Canonical does nothing but promote awareness to their own distribution and very little towards the Linux community as a whole. Even when they announce support for a previously existing project, they make it sound as if it was their own *cough* Apparmor *cough*.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:59 am

Deanjo wrote:Even when they announce support for a previously existing project, they make it sound as if it was their own *cough* Apparmor *cough*.

Yeah, Novell was doing such a great job of promoting AppArmor before Canonical decided to start using it...
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:05 pm

just brew it! wrote:I still think Canonical has done more to raise awareness and adoption of Linux on the desktop than all the other distros combined; they've also managed to put together a pretty solid distro that walks the line between stable (but outdated) and new features. Yes, I find some of what they're doing annoying; but if they piss me off too much I will just jump ship for Debian (I run KDE anyway so Unity doesn't even factor in).

While I sort of agree with this, I'm more in the camp that believes Canonical raises awareness for Ubuntu and their very different ways of rolling a Linux product versus the way others have been doing it for many years without as much promotion but done in a more sane way. They've absolutely made Linux more accessible and less daunting but at the expense of taking some of the great features of the Debian installer and completely ripping them out. I know sacrifices need to be made, but by using Ubuntu they make a lot of assumptions about the users using it. Need RAID for example? Nope -- you're using Ubuntu. That's way too advanced and there's no way you use it for anything serious. Just a hobbyist obviously.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:28 pm

jmcknight wrote:I know sacrifices need to be made, but by using Ubuntu they make a lot of assumptions about the users using it. Need RAID for example? Nope -- you're using Ubuntu.

Well, as of 12.04 you could still do RAID installs by using the "alternate" ISO. There were issues with RAID on UEFI, but I think those were from upstream, not introduced by Canonical. They do seem to have gotten rid of the "alternate" flavor since then, but you can still get there by using the "server" ISO.

While I agree the "one size fits all" approach is not ideal for power desktop users, exposing the RAID installation options only in the "server" flavor makes a certain amount of sense. If you're adept enough at Linux installation to figure out the MD/LVM setup process, you're not going to have any trouble manually installing GNOME/KDE/XFCE/etc. either. Heck, it's just one meta-package install to drag in the entire desktop environment of your choice.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:51 pm

just brew it! wrote:
Deanjo wrote:Even when they announce support for a previously existing project, they make it sound as if it was their own *cough* Apparmor *cough*.

Yeah, Novell was doing such a great job of promoting AppArmor before Canonical decided to start using it...

Novell did do a great job of promoting AppArmor (not to mention the excellent documentation that Ubuntu now enjoys on it). There are a ton of SuSE Enterprise heavy iron setups using it over SELinux because of this.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:10 pm

Deanjo wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Deanjo wrote:Even when they announce support for a previously existing project, they make it sound as if it was their own *cough* Apparmor *cough*.

Yeah, Novell was doing such a great job of promoting AppArmor before Canonical decided to start using it...

Novell did do a great job of promoting AppArmor (not to mention the excellent documentation that Ubuntu now enjoys on it). There are a ton of SuSE Enterprise heavy iron setups using it over SELinux because of this.

Novell also laid off nearly the entire AppArmor team shortly after its debut in SLES. If Ubuntu hadn't picked it up, would ongoing development even be funded?
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:48 pm

On the subject of NIH, at least it's good news that Ubuntu will *finally* get in line with the majority of the rest of the Linux world, by adopthing systemd plumbing in response to debian's recent high-profile decision to do the same. About time, too.

Now Ubuntu are only going it alone with two (as opposed to three) key infra pieces in the form of bzr (used for launchpad) and Mir. More or less everyone else is using Git and X/Wayland in the respective parts of the stack, with Git even winning adoption across the OS boundaries thanks to GitHub.

Oh well, one can only hope that Ubuntu and Canonical one day awakens from their echo-chamber dream-state and truly realize that the world has changed right under their noses and that they will likely need to regain sure footing -- not to mention community support and mindshare -- if they don't want to buckle under the weight of their going-it-alone projects as they are increasingly being left to their own devices by head-shaking FLOSS developers (at least that's the vibe I'm catching).

I mean, if it turns out that people actually prefer Linux Mint and either Cinnamon, KDE or Mate for their traditional desktop/laptop needs (which will all run on X/Wayland), why do Unity and Mir exist in the first place? To compete with GNOME 3, which (being a little harsh) is only relevant as a toy desktop OS project to the GNOME developers themselves, which is to say that Unity competes within a niche of the already vanishingly small Desktop Linux niche? Or to somehow displace Android or Apple's iOS + OS X line of products? Yeah, as if *that* is gonna happen this side of the Apocalypse. One is THE dominant mobile platform worldwide with a massive R&D budget, while the other is much, much more well-funded and higher end in its execution, image and ecosystem.

So what if Mir means 'peace' or 'world'. Canonical certainly hasn't sowed nor reaped the former in the latter with its decisions re. its choice of display server tech and its CLAs. But good luck to them nonetheless. At least they encouraged Fedora (and the wider Linux desktop 'ecosystem' if you'll excuse my hyperbole) to sit up and grudgingly pay attention to the fact that there is such a thing as end users and that their needs, expectations and skillsets are different to those of sysadmins, developers and computer scientists.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:04 pm

Am I correct in stating that Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) will not use Mir?
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:20 pm

ermo wrote:Or to somehow displace Android or Apple's iOS + OS X line of products? Yeah, as if *that* is gonna happen this side of the Apocalypse.

Big things have small beginnings.

All joking aside, the folks at Canonical would have to have a bigger RDF than the former CEOs of RIM to believe they are on the same playing field as Google or Apple in the consumer space. That being said I think they are headed in the right direction. I look forward to running Trusty Tahr on my Nexus 7.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:21 pm

End User wrote:Am I correct in stating that Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) will not use Mir?

I *think* that is the current plan, but I am not sure.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:38 pm

just brew it! wrote:Novell also laid off nearly the entire AppArmor team shortly after its debut in SLES. If Ubuntu hadn't picked it up, would ongoing development even be funded?



More than likely it would have given that they still sponsor many many many other projects.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:02 pm

Another perfect example of Canonical's BS....


http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/1316

Technologies of choice evolve, and our platform evolves both to lead (today our focus is on the cloud and on mobile, and we are quite clearly leading GNU/Linux on both fronts)


LMFAO, ummmm wut? I'm sure google / redhat would quite disagree with you Mark.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:26 pm

I think Intel pulling support for Mir was a telling move. Sure, Mr. Shuttleworth would love to chalk it up to politics and nothing else. The fact remains that Mir is a Canonical interest and not a Linux interest. Why should a company like Intel be forced to dance to the tune of Canonical when any work they do for Mir doesn't benefit non-Ubuntu products? I could be wrong here, but outside of Ubuntu products I heard very little about really anyone else adopting Mir. Wayland on the other hand is meant to be much more neutral.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:01 pm

Deanjo wrote:Another perfect example of Canonical's BS....


http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/1316

Technologies of choice evolve, and our platform evolves both to lead (today our focus is on the cloud and on mobile, and we are quite clearly leading GNU/Linux on both fronts)


LMFAO, ummmm wut? I'm sure google / redhat would quite disagree with you Mark.

I'm guessing Mark believes that Android, as shipped from Google, is not open so it is not included in his vision of what GNU/Linux is. Red Hat is not targeting their OS for use on mobile devices so Ubuntu is definitely in the lead there. As far as Linux on servers is concerned it appears that Ubuntu's main rivals are Debian and CentOS, not Red Hat.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:58 pm

End User wrote:
I'm guessing Mark believes that Android, as shipped from Google, is not open so it is not included in his vision of what GNU/Linux is. Red Hat is not targeting their OS for use on mobile devices so Ubuntu is definitely in the lead there. As far as Linux on servers is concerned it appears that Ubuntu's main rivals are Debian and CentOS, not Red Hat.

If that is what Mark believes then again he is completely ignorant as to what is happening under his own roof. Canonical's "efforts" into mobile are just as restrictive as Android (perhaps even more so with their contributor license agreement).

Redhat and SuSE are huge in cloud and eons ahead of anything Canonical has scrapped together (Debian hasn't done a lot either towards development in cloud services). CentOS is a carbon copy of Redhat, development is done by Redhat. Also Redhat and CentOS have come together now.

http://www.redhat.com/about/news/press- ... oin-forces
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:38 pm

A truly open mobile platform probably won't fly anyway, for political reasons. I'm guessing the mobile service providers won't allow it.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:24 pm

just brew it! wrote:A truly open mobile platform probably won't fly anyway, for political reasons. I'm guessing the mobile service providers won't allow it.

I agree with this 100% and for a single reason -- complete openness in this market gives little space for any one carrier to really dominate the market. This is a market where I feel that openness wouldn't really thrive and that's alright.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:01 am

Deanjo wrote:
End User wrote:
I'm guessing Mark believes that Android, as shipped from Google, is not open so it is not included in his vision of what GNU/Linux is. Red Hat is not targeting their OS for use on mobile devices so Ubuntu is definitely in the lead there. As far as Linux on servers is concerned it appears that Ubuntu's main rivals are Debian and CentOS, not Red Hat.

If that is what Mark believes then again he is completely ignorant as to what is happening under his own roof. Canonical's "efforts" into mobile are just as restrictive as Android (perhaps even more so with their contributor license agreement).

I'm not particularly familiar with Canonicals contributor license agreement but, on the surface, it appears to be reasonable:
Why does Canonical ask contributors to send in the agreement?

Canonical both uses and distributes software around the world to other organisations and users. We need to make sure we and our users are legally entitled to distribute software that includes your contributed code, in a way that will hold for all end-users, wherever in the world they might be.

Who owns the copyright?

The existing contribution owner continues to own their copyright. This is usually yourself, or your employer. Section 2.1(a) states the following:

“You retain ownership of the Copyright in Your Contribution and have the same rights to use or license the Contribution which You would have had without entering into the Agreement.”

Can I contribute the same code to other projects as well?

Yes. You retain the full rights to redistribute your own code as you wish. The agreement is not exclusive and you may contribute what you write to as many other projects or organisations as you wish to share it with.


Deanjo wrote:Redhat and SuSE are huge in cloud and eons ahead of anything Canonical has scrapped together.

I don't follow the cloud space (I focus on SMB). Do you have any stats on Linux cloud marketshare?
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:08 pm

Deanjo wrote:Another perfect example of Canonical's BS....
http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/1316
Technologies of choice evolve, and our platform evolves both to lead (today our focus is on the cloud and on mobile, and we are quite clearly leading GNU/Linux on both fronts)

LMFAO, ummmm wut? I'm sure google / redhat would quite disagree with you Mark.


Mark was referencing how a lot of new technology has targeted Ubuntu as it's platform of choice rather then RHEL and the clones. Devs have been favoring Ubuntu lately, for whatever reason, and the new "cloud" technologies aren't targeting Red Hat distros. There has been a marked shift away from Red Hat/CentOS to Ubuntu, and Red Hat is looking to rectify that. This was one of the reasons behind Red Hat hiring the CentOS devs.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:23 pm

End User wrote:Am I correct in stating that Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) will not use Mir?


Yes.
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Re: Canonical's Mir display server

Postposted on Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:08 pm

Despite politics and serious licensing issues, the biggest issue I have with something like Mir is that versus Wayland, it doesn't benefit Linux or the Open Source community -- it benefits Canonical and Ubuntu only. You'd think that if it was more of a political thing as Mark Shuttleworth would love people to believe, I think there would've been at least a few non-Ubuntu distros planning to adopt it but that wasn't the case at all.
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