Ubuntu 24.10 is switching to Wayland by default for NVIDIA users

Ubuntu 24.10 is going to be shipping Wayland by default for NVIDIA users. This is a big change to the fact that NVIDIA has always had X11 on Ubuntu, and whereas Wayland would be on the AMD and Intel systems because of the fact that NVIDIA has been not the greatest steward of the community ever. So it’s interesting they’re making this decision. And the reason why we’ll get to in a second, but Ubuntu first switched to Wayland as its default display server in 2017 with 17.10. And it wasn’t ready. So they switched it back to X11. Now this makes sense because the next release after that was an LTS. So 17.10 was treated more like a testing ground to see if Wayland was ready for wide adoption. And it was was not. But then Ubuntu switched the default to Wayland again in 2021.

And for most people, that has been what they have been using ever since. However, that is not the case for NVIDIA users as support for NVIDIA on Wayland was, and still kind of is at this point, pretty bad. Over the past couple of years, though, NVIDIA has decided to stop being a nuisance here and actually support Linux in a reasonable way on Wayland. Now, NVIDIA used to want to make their own proprietary solution for Wayland support. And with this solution, all of the desktop environments would have to maintain two different sets of Wayland efforts, one for NVIDIA and one for everyone else. Those developers of various DEs banded together to going against NVIDIA on this and told them no, they won’t do that. And NVIDIA fought for a while, still insisting that their way is the best way and that it was happening. But eventually they gave in. The open source developers won the battle so that NVIDIA would have to use the same system that everyone else would use, which is fantastic because it actually shows that with enough might and resiliency you can even get NVIDIA to change their mind it’ll still take a while and it’ll suffer a little bit but you can.

We see that now. So fast forward to today, we have a bright future for NVIDIA users who are going to need to use Wayland eventually. We talked about explicit sync in TWIL 259 and how that’s going to make it much, much better. And also with this making its way across the ecosystem soon, that means that maybe Wayland will finally play nice with NVIDIA or vice versa. It’s really NVIDIA’s fault. Oliver Smith of Canonical took to their Discourse Forum and says that there are still a few known issues with this combination due to the heavy use of Ubuntu Desktop in AI and machine learning, and also VFX and other industries. They say that because of this, they have included that it was too early to make the switch in Ubuntu 24.04, which also makes sense since it’s an LTS. But interim releases are kind of like a testbed for Ubuntu. So Oliver says that this list has now shrunk to a number that makes us feel confident in enabling it in the upcoming interim release. And this will give them time to find and fix any issues that might exist prior to the next LTS, which is coming in 2026. And this is really good news because NVIDIA users have always had to deal with not being able to use Wayland and they would still have some screen tearing and that sort of stuff, the issues of X11.

But this is really cool because in the future, it’d be nice to have complete support with Wayland on regardless of your hardware. In addition to this a bunch of news, there’s also some more stuff related to the Snap Store. There’s a brand new version of the Snap Store website, which is certainly a welcome improvement to the previous iterations. And whether you like snaps or not, there’s no denying that they have a role in the ecosystem.

What do you think? Do you think this is too early for NVIDIA users? Is it about time? What are your thoughts, sound off in the comments section.

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