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Mir Discussion with Jono


Hey everyone,

So here’s the distilled conversation we had with Jono:

1. Canonical wants Mir to be used by more than just Ubuntu. More users
tends to mean more developers which means a better product. Jono didn't say
it directly, but I think it's obvious that their interest in us is mainly
about bringing more attention/support to Mir (which is reasonable/logical).

2. With Mir, they’re building a focused display server that prioritizes a
convergent cross-form-factor design. Jono referred to Mir as being "thin"
and states that because Mir needs to run on a phone it has very strict
performance requirements.

3. Canonical also has tools built around Mir that could enable us (and
others) to easily “flash” our builds onto mobile devices using an
Android/Mir base. This is probably the most unique/enticing part about
using Mir.

4. Jono wants to reach out to Ubuntu flavors and derivatives to see how Mir
affects them and how Ubuntu’s engineering team can help ease the transition
to Mir. For 14.04, we theoretically could run Pantheon on XMir which means
no meaningful change for us to be able to run with a Mir system compositor.

Obviously there are pros and cons. The biggest con is that it is highly
unlikely Canonical will put staff hours into make sure stuff like Gtk+ and
Clutter work on Mir. This work is essential to elementary as it stands and
blocks us from running natively on Mir. In the spirit of the above #3, Jono
has assured us that if we're interested in doing the work to make our
toolkit work with Mir that Canonical engineers would be available to answer
any questions we may have.

So we seemingly have these options moving forward:

1. Port everything to Qt (including Gala the rest of our shell, all our
apps, etc) and use Mir.

2. Port Clutter/Gtk+/etc to Mir.

3. Port everything to Wayland (significantly less work than the former two
options imo).

4. Do nothing and use either XMir or XWayland until those are deprecated at
which point we need to port to one or the other.

I think at this point, it's starting to look more and more like Wayland is
going to be the path of least resistance for us. I can't imagine we have
the development power to try and maintain Gtk+/Clutter/Mutter on Mir. But
it may turn out that sometime between now and 14.04 some group decides to
do this work and then we're back to a more difficult choice.

All in all, the conversation leaves us with more talking points and more
question than answers :p I think the only thing we know 100% (even if we do
have some other opinions) is that X is dying. We need to make an effort to
remove any x-specific code from our apps and our shell and to move away
from any libraries that we know won’t exist in a post-X world (like BAMF
and WNCK).

I’ve created a blueprint where we can track our progress in ditching X:

Please make sure to file bugs against projects you know contain bits that
rely on X and link them to this blueprint. The better we asses the
situation, the easier it'll be to make the transition.

Best Regards,

Daniel Foré


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