Canonical’s Sebastien Bacher has announced that Ubuntu 21.04 will ship with the Wayland display server as the default, replacing X.Org. Bacher confirmed that NVIDIA users will still default to X.Org due to some on-going issues but the company hopes that these will be fully resolved by the time of the next Ubuntu LTS release in April 2022.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because Canonical actually set Wayland as the default in Ubuntu 17.10 almost four years ago but found that the software was not ready to be released in the then-upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS which would be used on production machines. Since then, other distributions have adopted Wayland and bugs have been worked out enough so that Canonical is ready to give it another shot.
Explaining the situation, Bacher said:
“In the Ubuntu 17.10 cycle we tried Wayland as the default session but we didn’t feel confident at the time it was ready yet for an LTS. Things improved since, some of the blockers we found back then got resolved (desktop sharing), and that’s where the upstream focus is going. We believe now is the right time to try again, it should give us enough time before the next LTS to get proper feedback and sort out issues.”
By shipping Wayland with Ubuntu 21.04, the company has a whole year and another Ubuntu release in October to find any major issues and get them fixed. This additional time, compared to when it was attempted before, should be long enough to ensure a stable Wayland release with Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.